Saturday, October 19, 2013

Casablanca, Hamlet and AHS: Coven, Episode 2

Photo: Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange, at  Go to this link to read the interesting interview with Ryan Murphy, referenced below.

What follows is an example of what you can find on my new blog about American Horror Story: Coven.

A little late with this entry.  Not good for a blog about a tv show.  Who wouldn't want to read about a show two days after it aired?  Finally had time to see the DVRed show.  Had to watch the Sox in the ALCS, of course, on Wednesday.  Horrible game, too.  Oh, well.  Had I world enough, and time. 

Here are some quick thoughts about this episode:

--It begins with Lily Rabe's character Misty Day (great character name, BTW) killing two gator poachers.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  Very realistic-looking second alligator pulling the guy into the water.  I'm guessing a radio-controlled gator, or thing in a real gator's mouth.  I'll have to wait for the DVD, I guess.

--Almost the entire episode was shot with ocean wave-like camera movements.  Distracting, after awhile.  This has always been a very director-focused show, and there's always been that attention to directorial style, but this one almost made me seasick.  Well, that's an exaggeration, but it was bothersome enough for me to comment on.

--Anyone catch the commercials for Stephen King's Dr. Sleep, followed by the third movie version of his Carrie?  I guess he knows which show his fans are watching--besides the terrible Under the Dome, that is.

--I hope I look as good at her age as Jessica Lange does now.

--Ditto for Angela Bassett.

--Emma Roberts is arguably prettier at her age than her famous aunt, Julia Roberts, was--but here's to hoping that she turns out more like her aunt than she does her addict father, Eric Roberts.  Time will tell.

--This episode was titled "Boy Parts," but it could've been called "Franken-boyfriend."

--Part of the spell, towards the end, to reanimate Kyle had the phrase "this mortal coil."  Which came first in this show's universe: That spell, or Shakespeare's Hamlet, where that phrase originated?  Well, I can tell you that Hamlet first said his famous "To Be or Not to Be" soliloquy in 1600-1601, if that means anything.

--I enjoy seeing the many homages in this show's history to other famous movies and shows of the same genre.  But I have newfound respect for it if it's going to pay homage Hamlet, as well.  Unless it sees Hamlet as another example of its genre, which Shakespeare's play may very well be.  Ghosts, incest, brother murdering brother, insinuated incest between mother and son, insanity, spying and intrigue, a possible devil in disguise (notice the devil's appearance yet again in this series, during this episode), and four murders / deaths in about thirty seconds at the end?  Yup--Hamlet sounds quite a bit like American Horror Story to me.

--Listening to the dialogue between Jessica Lange and Angela Bassett in the hair salon was a little disconcerting.  I wonder what the actresses thought about having to say all that hocus-pocus stuff.

--Then again, Jessica Lange has said worse dialogue in a movie.  I'm very vividly remembering her pounding on King Kong's fist in 1976 and, after calling him a "male chauvinist ape," screaming two words that didn't sound at all like the movie-makers were intending.  See it here on YouTube.

--If you saw the clip, you'd have to agree--Now that's some bad dialogue.

--Rabe's Misty Day character is amusing.  Not only does she look great for someone burned at the stake, but she thinks Stevie Nicks is a prophet.

--I wonder how much, if anything, Stevie Nicks got paid for allowing them to use her name like that.  And the music, too.

--Whoa, just found out the answers at, here.  Interesting interview with the series co-creator, Ryan Murphy.

--I have to listen to the lyrics to that song now, just to know what the hell Misty Day was talking about.

--Lots of witches doing unwise things, all of which violated Frankenstein's Law: Don't play God.

--Overall, a very entertaining episode, especially Lange's character acclimating Kathy Bates's character about cellphones, and the danger of crossing the street without first looking for cars.  They walked down the center of the street like Bogie and Claude Rains at the end of Casablanca.  Except I don't think it's the beginning of a beautiful friendship for the ladies.  If you don't know the reference--and shame on you if you don't--you can watch the famous clip here.  (And notice the "usual suspects" line, as well.)

See you next week.

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