This is part of a weekly series called “Pop Opinions” where The Lantern offers its take on the week’s pop culture news.
“American Horror Story” too scary?
Pop-culture powerhouse “American Horror Story” is slated to make its return to the small screen at 10 p.m. on Wednesday.
America’s favorite televised gore-fest returns with its fourth season, subtitled “Freak Show,” and features many of its beloved cast members from seasons past.
While season three of the horror series replaced some of the chilling terror of the first two seasons with a more twisted and campy humor, executive producer Ryan Murphy claims that “Freak Show” will return to the anthology’s terrifyingly taboo roots.
Murphy even went as far as to say that “Freak Show” might be too scary, a statement which untrained and unpaid Internet critics quickly labeled as clever marketing.
While I do think it was clever, I don’t think Murphy would have said it if it weren’t true. People just like to scrutinize anything that happens to be popular.
Critics have further pointed out that the show is exploiting its cast members, such as Jyoti Amge, the world’s smallest woman, and Mat Fraser, who was born with malformed arms because of his mother’s thalidomide use during pregnancy. Pundits claim the show is relying on cheap shock value instead of true artistic genius. It is currently unclear how these statements are being justified, as producers chose to delay the release of sample episodes to critics. Virtually no one outside of the cast and crew has actually seen enough of the show to form an objective opinion. The “Freak Show” theme is a solid idea, and sure, there is going to be an element of shock value, but there is also no reason to believe that the producers will be relying on that over genuine storytelling.
The jury is still out on whether “Freak Show” will live up to its self-generated hype. If the past is any indication of “American Horror Story”’s success, season four will soar atop the ratings, dominate everybody’s Twitter feed and receive 20+ Emmy nominations in spite of speculations.
Michael Phelps gets second DUI
In other news, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has decided to begin a six-week in-patient program following a DUI charge last Tuesday. If this sounds familiar, that’s probably because it is. Phelps has found himself in DUI trouble in the past, and his Olympic image has been marred by rumors (and proof) of recreational drug use.
The Olympian hopes that his time away will give him the help he needs to better understand himself. Phelps recognized that this isn’t his first slip-up and has released a sincere, multi-tweet apology for his actions, stating over multiple days:
“I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility.”
“I know these words may not mean much right now but I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down.”
“The past few days have been extremely difficult.”
“I recognize that this is not my first lapse in judgment, and I am extremely disappointed with myself.”
These statements come just five years after he was photographed smoking marijuana, and just two after Phelps commented “I’ll make a million mistakes in my life, but as long as I never make the same mistake again, then I’ve been able to learn and grow.”
Learning and growth take time, however, Phelps has made these claims before, becoming living proof that two DUIs might not be enough. However, I have faith that the beloved Olympian is six weeks in rehab and one bust away from a true revelation.
The silver lining
On a lighter note, Mother Earth is less than nine months away from greeting her most perfect and beautiful inhabitant, as power couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have announced that they are, in fact, expecting.