Instead of calling this episode open house, perhaps they should have named it record breaking fail as quickly as possible. From a social justice perspective, all seven episodes of American Horror Story
are deeply problematic
for various reasons; however, Open House
, takes it to a brand new level.
In yet another flashback, American Horror Story takes the viewer back to 1994. Constance and Larry are seated together, and we learn that protective services have plans to remove Constance's son Beauregard from the home, and charge her quite rightfully with child cruelty. Rather than face the consequences of her actions, Constance has Larry kill the child. For the record, this is yet another example of ableism on the part of American Horror story. It seems as though this show is incapable of having a disabled character not only survive, but be treated with basic human dignity. Even though Larry is more than aware that what he is doing is wrong, he pushes aside any guilt, because he loves Constance.
At the obstetrician's office, Vivien is clearly anxious and actually asks the doctor if she saw any hooves. This of course stems from being told that she was carrying Satan's spawn in an earlier episode. When Ben looks at her strangely, the obstetrician tells him that what Vivien is asking is quite normal, and that every woman worries that she is carrying "a little devil". To that I can only add, really? It turns out that Vivien is having twins, and my guess is that one child belongs to Ben, and one belongs to the ghost that she had sex with.
Back at the house, Marcy is giving Joe Escandarian a tour of the house in the hopes that he will buy it. She tells him that the house was "meticulously restored by a couple of the previous homos, homeowners". Not to be outdone, Joe says, "f@gs have such a great eye for detail don't they?" You would think that would be enough homophobia, but Marcy finishes with, "queer eye." This conversation did not need to happen. It did not advance the plot in anyway, and I fail to see how having a house restored by two gay men adds value. I am sick and tired of the homophobia on this show. It feels like something they throw in because they think it's edgy, thus ignoring the fact that it is downright oppressive. I am further disturbed by the fact that the character which Marcy is referring to, is played by Zachery Quinto, and this is the first time that Quinto has played a gay man. I worry that this will be a sign of the roles that will be relegated to GLBT people when they come out.
When they enter the kitchen, Moira is there waiting with refreshments that she has made. Of course, being a man, Joe Escandarian only sees the young Moira and he is instantly attracted to her. When Escandarian says that he plans on digging up the gazebo and building a pool, Moira asks him how deep he is going to make it, because she apparently likes it deep. Vivien and Marcy are clearly confused, because to them he is flirting with a very old woman. When Vivien interrupts to ask if he would like a tour of the house, he says, "actually I just have one more question. What's wrong with this place? This land alone is worth more than twice what you are selling for." Marcy tries to deflect by claiming that Vivien is just an interested seller, but Vivien sets Joe straight, and lets him know a bit about the history of the house. It seems that though she was tricked into buying, Vivien is unwilling to do that to someone else.
After Joe leaves, Terry shows up claiming to want to see the house. Marcy tries to deny him by telling him that the open house is over, but he says that the flyer says from 4-6PM. Marcy then counters by telling Larry that it is by appointment only. Licking his fingers Larry says, "I see, it's because of my affliction isn't it. You know sometimes I wonder, if I knew how much I was going to be shunned, if I would have run back onto that burning school bus to save those children." I feel that Marcy is well aware who Larry is, because she quickly pulls a gun out of her bag and tells Larry to "put down the stemware". When Vivien asks her what she is doing, Marcy responds saying, "A woman in my line can't be too careful, they're a lot of minority men in this city who would like nothing more than to ravage me on this counter top." I don't know about you, but at this point I was looking for a brick wall to bang my head against. Of course men of colour are rapists touring the city for precious White female flesh. I know that some will feel that Marcy's behaviour is excusable, because the writers have gone out of their way to ensure that we know that she is vile, but that is not a good enough reason to justify the continual inclusion of isms. Nasty people can be very bigoted, and unless someone directly confronts them, it's a sign of their acceptance.
Vivien says nothing about Marcy's racism, but tells her to put the gun down, because she does not like them. Larry steps up saying, "yes Marcy, I hope that you are permitted for that, as I will be mentioning it in my lawsuit. What you're doing is in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act." With that, Marcy puts her gun away and they go on the tour. There is a part of me that was happy to see a disabled character speak up for themselves; however, after all of the abelism on this show. it just feels like it was a convenient tool for him to get his way.
That night, Vivien goes to bed with a woman's best friend, aka her vibrator, and she begins to fantasize. At first she thinks about Luke the security guard, and then switches to Ben. Finally, she ends up fantasizing about a man wearing black leather. This of course is the ghost that she slept with when she thought he was Ben. This image frightens her, and she jumps up out of bed clearly disturbed.
In the bathroom, Violet is cutting herself once again, and Tate stops her saying, "stop mutilating yourself." When she accuses him of doing the same, he tells her that he does not do it anymore. Tate asks Violet to promise that she will never cut herself again, and she agrees. Vivien tellsTate that her parents planned a family dinner, but Tate is distracted and asks if she believes in ghosts - a ghost asking whether someone believes in ghosts. Is that supposed to make the viewers mind shift and consider Tate to be deep?
At the dinner table, Violet is not eating and so Ben finally plays dad and suggests that Violet talk about her feelings. It only took the man 6 episodes to stop thinking about his own problems long enough to remember that he has a daughter. Violet being Violet responds, "Like who I'm going to live with after you get divorced? Is there a third option because both of you make me kind of want to kill myself. Is that what you guys are afraid of? Why else would you actually want to deal with a problem?" Ben answers, "you never leave your room, you barely eat, these are text book signs of depression. We're very concerned Vi." Finally, finally, Ben is acting like the therapist that he is' however, one conversation is not going to reach Violet after long months of neglect. Violet tells them, "Look, you guys dragged me all the way out here to save our family, then you decide to break up. You buy a house that I actually like, then you tell me that you're selling it out without even asking me what I want. So fine, I'm not going to off myself and you can go back to your policy of benign neglect."