Why Does America Love American Horror Story?

Zoey Becker, Online Opinion Editor

Every Wednesday night at 10 p.m., I and 6.1 million other viewers tune in to FX to watch “American Horror Story”. “American Horror Story”, now in its fourth season, is wildly popular for being extremely graphic and scary. The show is unique in many ways. One of the things that makes it different than others is that every season is different from the others, as opposed to having the same characters, plot and theme carry over. The first season was about a “murder house”, while the second one focused on an asylum for the criminally insane in the 1960s. The third one followed a coven of witches, and the fourth season centers around a carnival freak show in the 1950s.

But what is it about this 60-minute horror show that attracts so many viewers? I think the reason why it is so popular is because it is so different from everything else that is on TV right now. It’s scary, it’s graphic, it can get pretty disturbing, but it’s unique. Being unique and different is something that is very desirable in the television business. Every show must compete for ratings, time slots and viewers. “American Horror Story” doesn’t really have any competition because there aren’t any other popular horror shows for comparison.

However, this feat probably wasn’t easy to accomplish. Think about it: How do you present a show that’s full of gore, freaks, crazy people and grizzly murders to an audience and expect them to eagerly tune in week after week? It’s pretty impressive that the creators of the show managed to do this. Somehow, with complicated characters that have complex backstories and shocking plot twists every episode, the show has managed to capture America’s hearts. Teens and adults alike eagerly await next Wednesday, and binge-watch the first two seasons on Netflix when the show is on hiatus.For some weird reason, America likes horror. Maybe we like it because it’s so different from real life, or  maybe because it’s simply interesting to watch crazy clowns and explore haunted houses.

I like the show because in my opinion, it’s so much more interesting to watch than sitcoms about families where all of the conflicts are resolved by the end of the episode, or a hospital drama that is extremely unrealistic. “American Horror Story” isn’t aiming to be realistic- it doesn’t want to relate to the viewer in any way except the fear of what’s coming next, which is a refreshing change. When shows try to be realistic, they often end up trying way too hard, and then it ends up being extremely unrealistic. While the audience has been able to relate to some of the characters on “American Horror Story” do end up being relatable, I don’t think that anyone expects to immediately relate to a two-headed girl or a bearded lady. That’s why it’s so surprising to the audience when a character ends up being different then you had thought it would be, and just one of the reasons why we all love American Horror Story.

“American Horror Story” isn’t all horror. That’s why it blows up the ratings and gets millions of viewers. While many of its these viewers are attracted to the gore and twisted storylines of the show, many other viewers are attracted to the complex characters and surprising plot twists. This 60 minute horror show that’s expected to be a simple blood bath is extremely engaging, and shows how American TV viewers don’t always want to be related to.