I hope I’m not the only person in the world in love with Leslie Grossman. Ever since the WB days where teen dramas ruled pop culture, one of my favorites has always been POPULAR, an early Ryan Murphy offering. Whenever I tell people unfortunate to not have experienced it, I pretty say it was the better version of GLEE. Grossman played the part of pretty rich girl Mary Cherry, a self-obsessive beauty queen who modeled her life after everything Gwyneth Paltrow. It really surprises me it’s taken this long for her to show up in AMERICAN HORROR STORY, but the wait was well worth it.
Grossman as Meadow adds some much-needed humor to the show (especially after the grim nature of last season’s ROANOKE) as one half of the oddball couple that lives across the street from Ivy and Ally. Billy Eichner is the perfect counterpart as her openly gay husband, Harrison, who take social justice warriors to the next level.
We last left off with Ally shooting one of their employees, Pedro, by accident thinking he was an intruder but standing your ground isn’t exactly the best phrase a white person wants to be associated with. This leads to protests at their restaurant and news reports referring to Ally as the lesbian George Zimmerman. While she’s definitely not a racist, she displays plenty of examples of ignorance, completely unaware of how her actions affect others. Her insanity is driving everyone against her and I don’t blame them. She still spent the majority of the episode crying, but luckily we have Meadow and Harrison to give us some comic relief.
After the shooting, they show up at her door wearing sombreros and throwing Taco Bell coupons at her in a bid to remind her of her white privilege. To no one’s surprise, they seem to be in cahoots with Detective Samuels (Colton Haynes) in driving ally crazy. They also know Kai, who gets them to confess dirty secrets, like Harrison’s first homosexual experience with his sister’s boyfriend. Speaking of Kai, he sees an opportunity with Ally and praises her actions, vowing to keep her safe in the streets due to her bravery.
My biggest concern with this season is how awful Ally and Ivy are as parents. They are repeatedly leaving their son out of their sight during dangerous situations and even invite Winter back into their home, despite her being the worst babysitter who ever lived. Winter even lets a stranger into the house who ends up being the answer to a false Craigslist ad asking for a horny gentleman to satisfy horny lesbians. It’s clear already that everyone is in on this, so I hope this story arc ends in the next couple episodes. The social satire is pretty funny at times, but the bad choices some of these characters make create a frustrating viewing experience.
I want to see more of the bad guys here, as Ally proves to be the least interesting character on the show. Who is behind this “cult” the subtitle refers to, and what’s the overall endgame when it comes to driving Ally crazy? The opening was a cringe-worthy sequence, as a couple find themselves victims of a home invasion by clowns who lock them up in caskets and leave them to die. What makes it even more fucked up is the wife had just defeated her fear of coffins (Daddy used to lock her up in cupboards) in therapy with Ally’s therapist and then she heads home, only to die the worst way she can imagine. Now that was unsettling, and could stand to be a little uncomfortable even if it means watching a guinea pig get microwaved.