Good job, Ryan Murphy.
The mega-producer enticed us back into his gory, gimmicky fold with Season 12 of FX’s anthology series, “Delicate,” starring none other than Kim Kardashian, just when we thought we’d broken free from “American Horror Story,” which has been virtually unwatchable for nearly a decade.
In the most recent episode, which revolves on a young woman (Emma Roberts) who might be carrying Satan’s offspring, the “PAW: Patrol” actress and reality TV personality plays a crucial role. However, this terrible new season, which debuts stillborn with an overused parody of “Rosemary’s Baby,” cannot be saved even by Kardashian’s marginally inspired casting.
Anna Victoria Alcott, a Hollywood superstar who is having difficulty becoming pregnant, is accompanied by her husband (Matt Czuchry) to yet another reproductive visit shortly after the season premiere of the show takes up. Of course, things are obviously awry from the start because Anna awakens from her egg retrieval in excruciating pain. “Nothing worth waiting for is ever easy,” a disinterested nurse assures her.) Then there’s the unsettling doctor, the enigmatic prescriptions, and the ominous woman who might or might not be Anna’s stalker.
Or, to put it another way, nothing that hasn’t already been done in dozens of other horror films (or, for that matter, “Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part One,” which gave us an irreparable scar from its gruesome birth scene). Roberts and Czuchry’s one-note performances are made worse by the bland screenplay, which doesn’t help that they have all the sparks of a campfire in the monsoon.
When Kardashian is present, the first episode occasionally picks up. The entrepreneur of shapewear has long been derided by her detractors as shallow and vacuous. She plays Siobhan, Anna’s worried publicist, skillfully doubling down on her Valley girl attitude in this scene. She builds word salad out of Waldorf while scathingly dissing everyone from Hilary Swank to the “Everything Everywhere All at Once” filmmakers. (In her dual roles as Anna’s confidante and walking exposition, Siobhan remarks, “You have a peculiar penchant for turning dreams into nightmares.”)
When Anna receives a coveted late-night booking on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” the vicious one-liners continue, and Siobhan is compelled to console her rapidly disintegrating client. “Oh, honey, stop crying. Andy cannot tolerate a swollen face from you.)
There are certainly some cheesy jokes about Tom Sandoval and other “Bravolebrities.” Moreover, it’s possible that Kardashian’s acting abilities are more People’s Choice than Emmy-worthy. She is, however, the only “American Horror Story” graduate to far to live up to the season’s high-camp promise, joining Jessica Lange and Lady Gaga.
And for that, we congratulate Kim and tell her she’s doing wonderful.
Kim Kardashian’s role as a publicist in the newest season of American Horror Story turns out to be quite appropriate.
American Horror Story has had a very horrible (or possibly a very good) week, depending on if you believe that any press is good press. FX’s popular anthology series, which debuted its twelfth episode, AHS: Delicate, on September 20, was already under fire for allegedly breaching the WGA picket line in a rush to finish filming over the summer. This week, the program was linked to yet another controversy. Although Angelica Ross, a Season 9 cast member, accused Emma Roberts of transphobic behavior on set and criticized series creator Ryan Murphy for making false promises to her about including her in the casting of an all-Black AHS, before ghosting and allegedly costing her other career opportunities, fans’ excitement for Roberts’ return in a lead role was dashed.
The incident puts AHS: Delicate in a delicate position, even if Roberts and Ross have since apparently taken steps to put an end to their spat—Ross claims that Roberts phoned her to apologize. However, American Horror Story hasn’t just had a poor week; it’s had a bad several years. Since its eighth season, American Horror Story: Apocalypse, the anthology has failed to produce a single season that is consistently worth watching. With Murphy stepping down to allow Halley Feiffer to take over as showrunner, all of that was scheduled to be put aside for AHS: Delicate. Season 12 of the program centers on Roberts’ character, an actress named Anne Victoria Alcott, who has a difficult time getting pregnant.
Fans were most certainly thrilled with Kim Kardashian’s stunt casting in a crucial part, though. The marketing for Season 12 was largely focused on Kim Kardashian, who plays Hollywood mega-publicist Siobhan Corbyn (much to my joy and that of all Irish people worldwide, I’m sure). And for good reason—Kardashian is by easily AHS: Delicate’s best character. Nothing will prepare you, either, for her series’ startlingly obscene opening line: “Tell [them] to suck my clit!”
Even though Roberts is returning to the franchise and will be joined by both new and old guest stars like Cara Delevingne and Zachary Quinto (who appear in later episodes), it’s Kardashian who, based on Tuesday night’s premiere, will make this season truly entertaining to watch. It might be difficult to take her affected line readings and recognizable face seriously, but that’s exactly what AHS needs—a season that has given up on attempting to be anything other than fantastic, campy fun.
What else would you expect to see at the beginning of Season 12 except a passage from Genesis. “I will multiply your suffering and your conception; in suffering you shall bear children,” he stated to the woman. Since Kardashian and Roberts are squabbling tooth and nail to determine who can chew more scenery, the season really doesn’t require this quote, which is thrown into the opening scene to give it an air of both self-awareness and sagacity. However, those scenes don’t occur until the episode’s midpoint; first, we have to witness Roberts’ It Girl actress character, Anna, fend off an intruder from her house after waking up with their arm around her (apparently pregnant) stomach.
It’s a very eerie scene to begin with, but it’s the only genuine scare in the premiere. Nevertheless, there are still a ton of jump scares in store, including an Andy Cohen sighting in a phony Watch What Happens Live episode where Anna advertises her most recent movie while yelling at Tom Sandoval. When Kardashian is on the call sheet, AHS just does not need these kinds of tricks to be relevant.
Anna is determined to have a child with her lover Dexter (Matt Czuchry), and she’s willing to balance visits to a specialized reproductive clinic with her busy schedule of late-night talk shows and upscale gallery openings. Anna is only willing to confess that this enigmatic clinic—her last resort after numerous unsuccessful IVF cycles—is to Siobhan, someone she met in an IVF support group years before. This allows Kardashian to say a ton of hilarious things like, “Meeting you at that IVF support group was the only god-forsaken thing I got out of that process,” and “Any word from Doctor Baby Maker?” These exchanges, however, pale in comparison to Kardashian’s opening remarks when her character is first introduced to us in the middle of the episode.
Here is the background to that: Siobhan is on the phone battling for one of her clients when Anna enters her office for a meeting and cuts her off. Say, “Tell The Daniels to suck my clit!” In reference to the Academy Award-winning directors of this year’s Best Picture winner, Everything Everywhere All At Once, Siobhan screams into the phone. She won’t be skipping a day of work to participate in a filthy commercial shoot. It’s the kind of line that justifies the years spent trying and failing to finish American Horror Story’s many seasons because when this show gets it right, it gets it so very right.
Kardashian not only delivers this phrase with the confidence of someone who most certainly overheard her own mother say it during business calls over the years, but she also achieves the ideal harmony between silliness and sincerity. One of the most well-known and media-savvy women in the world is the best candidate to portray a powerful publicist. However, just because the part of Siobhan seems to be made for her doesn’t mean that Kardashian struck all the proper rhythms and intonations to turn this into a genuine performance rather than a stilted showcase from a lady who looks like a deer in headlights. But Kardashian has gone a long way from her days of making cameos on 90210 and Drop Dead Diva; in this role, she possesses true star quality and a level of assurance that is absent from any of her cameos in scripted television or movies. In AHS: Delicate, she even comes out as more natural than she did in a significant portion of The Kardashians.
Delicate would be another season of AHS that lost its way due to its pretentious aims, so it’s a good thing Kim Kardashian is in this season to bring oomph and absurdity. Roberts stumbles through the premiere, appearing to be a little perplexed as to why she was invited to return without having the chance to fully embrace her trademark snark. While accepted that this is only the first episode and that Roberts has already shown herself to be a darn strong horror actress, her Anna has the potential to score some terrifying moments. Her baby-obsessed ingenue isn’t working right now, though.
AHS: Delicate is making its first ever attempt at an adaptation. The season’s delayed start may be due to the fact that it is based on Danielle Valentine’s novel Delicate Condition: Similar to how a novel builds to the main plot, this narrative is doing the same. But aside from the extremely captivating Kardashian and a possibly promising Roberts, there isn’t much to keep viewers interested until then. Even the series’ generally dependable visuals—which include doctors in red scrubs and futuristic medical facilities—seem like cheap imitations of April’s Dead Ringers short series. Delicate clearly aspires to be Rosemary’s Baby for the era of contemporary fertility advancements, but it has yet to produce anything innovative from that pretension.
Still, there is some optimism. After this premiere, AHS: Delicate didn’t instantly become a must-watch show, but at least it is making better use of its surprise star to make social criticism. After her home invasion, Anna tells Siobhan that she wants to call the police, but Siobhan says they won’t take her seriously. They believe that if a woman is in the spotlight, she is actively seeking harassment, according to Siobhan. It is ill. We specifically watch this season of AHS for that kind of not-so-subtle meta wink. Just let’s hope that Kardashian’s persona survives long enough to provide us with an infinite stream of these ideal soundbites.