Dennis Cozzalio and I are going to recap American Horror Story's first season at our respective blogs. Each Monday, one of us will will start the discussion and we'll go back-and-forth on our respective blogs. I am posting Dennis's second post on "Halloween, Part 1" here, but you can also follow along with our conversation at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. Read on for some more of Dennis's thoughts on the fourth episode of season one.
Whew. When they called it Labor Day they weren’t kidding. Oh, wait. The holiday is intended to be a break from work, a tribute to those who work their asses off all year. Yet unless I actively contrive to take some time off, it inevitably turns out to be a ludicrously busy weekend for me, work-wise and otherwise. On top of that, a family wedding-- a far happier priority, by the way—is taking precedence over everything else. So there’s not going to be a huge window of time to respond to your thoughts on “Halloween, Part 1,” but I’ll do my best.
Of course I’m disappointed that you didn’t care much for the episode. But in reading your post, and seeing the episode again for what now must be the fourth or fifth time, I was struck by how much of your reaction—specifically in regard to the general tone of (some of) the dialogue and how overwritten it tends to be at times, in this episode and in the series in general—I agreed with. I’d have to go back and look to be sure, but if I didn’t explicitly complain about it to you in one of the “Pilot” posts, this has been a sticking point for me from the beginning and at the risk of being slightly off-topic (or at least off-episode) I’ll bitch about it now in the hope of illuminating the current episode as well.
In interviews Ryan Murphy is understandably proud of his cast and likes to promote their talent and agility with the material, and I’ve heard him crow about how the vicious argument scene between Ben and Vivien that immediately precedes their passionate screw (the one we don’t see, which itself precedes the deeply disturbing screw Vivien has with the Rubber Man, which we do see) has been used in acting classes and how it wouldn’t be as effective without the element of emotional vitality that Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton bring to it.