Parents Television Council Calls AHS: Hotel "The Most Vile" Show Ever

Parents Television Council Calls AHS: Hotel "The Most Vile" Show Ever

It appears that Ryan Murphy & Co. have once again fueled the outrage machine with this season's Hotel.

We live in an age of television that is constantly pushing the boundaries of "good taste," or at least, what certain factions among us would consider to be good taste. Last night's episode of The Walking Dead featured no less than a dozen depictions of brutality, from stabbings to gun violence to multiple bisections by axe. Game of Thrones regularly deals with themes of incest, rape, mass murder, and incestuous rape proceeded by mass murder. Even the latest incarnation of The Muppets has been protested by certain activist groups for being "perverted."

Enter FX's American Horror Story, a show that kicked off its first season by having Dylan McDermott crysterbate into a boot and dialed up the shock meter to 11 from there on out. Four season's later, series creator Ryan Murphy has seemingly outdone himself once again, already having featured a blood-soaked foursome and a spiked sex toy rape scene in the first two episodes of American Horror Story: Hotel.

As you might expect, those two scenes I just mentioned have upset some people. Chief among the outraged masses is, unsurprisingly, the Parents Television Council, an activist group led by President Tim Winter who recently took AHS to task in an email sent to subscribers.

"This is the most vile and shocking content I've ever seen on TV. Ever," wrote Winter.

"Most Americans have no idea this is primetime fare on advertiser-supported basic cable. And everyone is paying for it as part of their program bundle. In spite of this, the program features graphic decapitations in the family hour ... all sponsored by McDonalds."

The hilarity of that last line aside, I find it hard to believe that there are large groups of people out there who would tune into the fifth season of a show known solely for its shock value (and bizarre musical numbers) without first understanding what they were getting into. I guess the irony of Winter's letter, as is usually the case when a group condemns a show/movie/band for being outrageous, is that it will only draw more eyes to the beast they are trying to destroy.

Winters also made sure to single out Scream Queens -- another show created by Murphy which currently airs on VH1 -- for its "discussions of necrophilia," but what say you? Where exactly should the line be drawn when it comes to what airs on basic cable, or does this all fall back on the age-old "If you don't like it, don't watch it" argument?

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Alright, so let's hear it from the parents of The Escapist - when you finally have kids, do you start caring about tv content and worry about what your kid(s) might see?

My immediate circle of friends and family that have kids seem more worried about youtube ads than tv, like horror movie/game trailers playing before a minecraft or pewdipoo vid.

Most vile show ever? Somebody's never seen Entourage.

What if I like vile and graphic imagery? This is exactly what I want my money going towards.

Don't let the South Park guys see this! They'll see it as a challenge!

Oh dear maker, don't let them see Made in Chelsea, if this is their lowest benchmark; it may break them. Why do all these christian (i'm guessing is the case here) groups name themselves "Mothers of...", "Fathers with...", "Moms for...", "Love-Ball-Nannies embrace..." as if they are appointing themselves carers of all us fumbling sinners? Or sinning fumblers?

These guys get offended by farts. Move along, nothing to see here.

Because I'm cynical: someone connected with AHS Hotel tipped them off to get them enraged so that AHS would then get a viewer boost...

09philj:
Most vile show ever? Somebody's never seen Entourage.

QFT! God that show is fuckin' awful. I want to punch everyone involved in it.

I've not seen a single episode of this show, but I really doubt that it's worse than some of the stuff that is freely available on the internet. If you don't want your kids to see something on the TV, there's the parental control. Get over it.

anyone else see the title of this article and think 'wow i must check that show out now"

funny part is they probably just increased the amount of viewers dramatically with the rant

I know councils are often dry but "Parents Television Council" must take the piss, just the sound of that group makes me feel like I have been in a 6 hour power point presentation, presented by the winner of this years most monotone sounding man!

It just sounds like a group designed to be offended, bunch of busy bodies trying to set the world to rights, one barely envelope pushing moment at a time. The same kind of "better off dead" space occupier that writes letters of complaint to tv stations, instead of just changing the fucking channel!

Me and a couple of million other don't write to MTV and ask "what the fuck happen to the music!?", we accept it and move on.

AHS hasn't been good since season 2, way too camp and self-indulgent.

09philj:
Most vile show ever? Somebody's never seen Entourage.

...Or Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo, or Jersey Shore, or Big Brother, or America's Got Talent, or American Idol, or The X Factor, or Kitchen Nightmares, or Hell's Kitchen, or To Catch A Predator, or Toddlers & Tiaras, or My Super Sweet 16, or COPS, or the sight of a fat, drunk man ejaculating blood into a storm drain at four of the clock on a Sunday morning, or most of the rhino shite that gets broadcast with goofy voiceovers on National Geographic.

All in all, though, I'm surprised it wasn't something gay.

Oh for...

Guys.

We talk all the time about how parents should know and control their kids' entertainment consumption.

That's what these guys are doing. Telling subscribed parents basic information on what's in a given show without parents having to watch it themselves.

This is exactly what we want to see. Quit endlessly mocking it.

I just find it funny that some of the same people who laugh at self-aggradizing, always offended bullshit merchants like the PTC and tell them that "if they don't like it, don't watch it" will nevertheless whirl around on their heels and defend to their dying breath someone with the exact same message except replace "children" with "women" and consider telling people that "if you don't like it, don't play it" tantamount to ignoring a crime and supporting systematic abuse against women.

Is there any American organisation with the word "Parent" or "Family" in the title who aren't whinging prudes?

LysanderNemoinis:
I just find it funny that some of the same people who laugh at self-aggradizing, always offended bullshit merchants like the PTC and tell them that "if they don't like it, don't watch it" will nevertheless whirl around on their heels and defend to their dying breath someone with the exact same message except replace "children" with "women" and consider telling people that "if you don't like it, don't play it" tantamount to ignoring a crime and supporting systematic abuse against women.

Oh, are the PTC complaining about lazy and stereotypical representations of children in American Horror Story which is alienating potential child fans of the show? I must have misread.

I mean it's terribly written and scripted, but vile? Ehhhhhhhhhhh, I feel like these guys don't get out much.

"American Horror Story: Hotel" is basically okay for what it's setting out to do. I've seen the first two episodes, or perhaps more accurately one and 3/4ths of them since my recording misfired and the latter part of the second episode got snipped (I'm guessing about a quarter of it, it might be more or less). This year AHS seems to be going for shock horror, and to be fair it's not doing badly though they aren't yet a competition for writers like Edward Lee and Bryan Smith. The monster anal-rape scene was perhaps their most shocking bit, and the vampire foursome was pretty typical for the genera and didn't go beyond what I've seen on cable before, it just combined a few elements. That said this season is a bit slower to develop than previous years with the rather simplistic plotlines so far overpowered by one shocking event
after another. Overall it's one of their better seasons when you understand the horror sub-genera they are going for, if they had done this a decade ago it might even have gotten me, but I've built up a bit of resistance to shock horror like a lot of fans. :)

This isn't a show for kids, it has it's viewer warnings at the beginning and along with every commercial break, what the "Parent's Television Council" thinks should thus be irrelevant. That said one of the problems with horror is when it works, it offends people, and in the mass market the offended can do a lot to destroy niche performances like this. Companies like Mcdonalds for example can be panicky animals, and with the PTC writing letters to sponsors like them you have to be concerned they might pull out, or at the very least exert their muscle (the network needs the money, these shows exist to attract sponsors) to make the programming change. I suspect that AHS: Hotel will survive but future seasons will probably be forced to chill it out, and when AHS doesn't push the envelope it's going to die out since that's sort of what it does. At the end of the day the network isn't actually "absolutely fearless" (I think that's ironically their tag line) they won't go out of their way to find replacement sponsors or stick with a show that has trouble attracting them, as sad as it is things like the PTC are the boogieman networks are afraid of.

I'll also say that the kids are just an excuse, in reality what I think happened is this show "got" some people and succeeded at being horror by taking them out of their comfort zone. Nobody wants to admit that the show scared them, and "think of the children" is a great way of engaging in deflection, nobody bothers to ever ask how the children are even relevant to a show with this many well posted warnings.

Oh and let's not forget Lady Gaga's involvement with this entire thing, that could be part of the "problem" as well. I'm sure she got people to tune in that otherwise wouldn't be watching a horror show, and just aren't the type for this kind of program otherwise. Between her and that dude from White Collar (who women love, despite him being gay IRL, his name eludes me) I'd be surprised if they aren't pulling down more than their usual viewership. That said I do kind of miss Zachary Quito being part of this little troupe, Jessica Lange did some great stuff, but I get the impression she wound up being as arrogant IRL as some of the characters she played.

Dearie me, before I was one the fence wither my 6 year old should watch "American Horror Story: Hotel", but this just won't do. Perhaps a movie would be best instead? "Silence of the Lambs"...? Well, lambs are cute.

In truth, this show looks radical and edgy and I'd be willing to give it a shot.

I actually watched the first episode of this season; first episode I ever watched, actually. I thought it was terrible. It wasn't scary, the gore was highly fetishized (as in, it was made for someone to get off to), and it was really boring.

I can see where the outrage is coming from, but also I think more people should be outraged that this crap is what passes for horror. And before anyone accuses me of being a lightweight: I love horror from campy to frightening to that weird stuff that comes out of Japan. It's such a shame: I was really looking forward to watching the show.

K12:

LysanderNemoinis:
I just find it funny that some of the same people who laugh at self-aggradizing, always offended bullshit merchants like the PTC and tell them that "if they don't like it, don't watch it" will nevertheless whirl around on their heels and defend to their dying breath someone with the exact same message except replace "children" with "women" and consider telling people that "if you don't like it, don't play it" tantamount to ignoring a crime and supporting systematic abuse against women.

Oh, are the PTC complaining about lazy and stereotypical representations of children in American Horror Story which is alienating potential child fans of the show? I must have misread.

They're not complaining about representations, but what they are doing is whining about something they don't like because in their eyes it's offensive, and I think that in both cases, those who have a problem with it should just not watch. And if somone is the type of person who is emotionally and psychlogically damanged by watching TV and playing video games (or thinks others will), then I feel sorry for them because it must suck not to be able to enjoy anything if everything hurts their precious feelings. Adults are adults, and children are smarter than we give them credit for. If a person's mind is going to be forever changed because of something they see or play then they're not mature enough to be watching or playing it anyway. Now if they're old enough that they should be able to handle it but are still too weak to do so, then someone needs to tell them to grow up. If someone is too stupid to think for themselves and use a little common sense, then they should just stick to coloring books. But I'm sure they'd find that sexist or harmful to children or whatever-is-vogue-at-the-moment-phobic.

lacktheknack:
Oh for...

Guys.

We talk all the time about how parents should know and control their kids' entertainment consumption.

That's what these guys are doing. Telling subscribed parents basic information on what's in a given show without parents having to watch it themselves.

This is exactly what we want to see. Quit endlessly mocking it.

Not quite.

The PTC has some plus points for it in the form of advocating for a la carte cable and generally having at least a small to moderate degree of encouraging parents to be responsible for what their children watch, but their end desire is ultimately for censorship.

Just pretty much look at these three pages and you'll start to get a picture of what they actually want done. In the end it is just wanting to be lazy parents, or an advocate for an overhaul of what is allowed on television, or some combination of the two, depending on personal opinion.

Not even getting into their opinion on video games, which they've actually very recently removed from their site either out of disuse or to try and focus their efforts. Makes me want to do some digging...

EDIT:Found it. Damn, I forgot Leland Yee actually supported one of those bills, amazing from a guy who was selling guns and RPGs to triads.

lacktheknack:
Oh for...

Guys.

We talk all the time about how parents should know and control their kids' entertainment consumption.

That's what these guys are doing. Telling subscribed parents basic information on what's in a given show without parents having to watch it themselves.

This is exactly what we want to see. Quit endlessly mocking it.

A good thing too, otherwise people would have no idea a show called American Horror Story is not appropriate for children. Also, am I really expected to believe that this group is just here to inform parents, and not a group of busybodies who push for greater government censorship?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parents_Television_Council
Now, I'm well aware that Wikipedia isn't the most reliable source, but it's pretty clear, if even a tiny portion is in any way true, that this isn't just some innocent group that wishes to inform the public. Following sources suggests they're exactly what they appear; a bunch of people who wish to censor, sex, violence, drugs, and profanity. Not to mention, the ever shady term "family values".

They've more than earned their mockery.

The way I see it, every reasonable precaution should be taken to make certain that the only people who end up watching content like AHS are people who want to watch that type of content. The problem, in the case of something like this, is trying to figure out where the line is between 'reasonable precautions' and 'outright censorship'.

For AHS, it's a 10 PM time slot, FX is a channel that is generally geared towards adult audiences, and there are warnings before the show and at each commercial break. I... honestly can't think of any more reasonable precautions that could be taken, it seems to me that it's very easily avoidable for anyone who isn't interested in it. It's not like they're slipping it in at 11 AM between Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer.

I personally find the show to be vile and disgusting... so I don't watch it. But I can't find a good reason why I'm supposed to care whether or not somebody else wants to watch it, that's up to them. I'm sure I have hobbies and likes that other people dislike too. Such is life.

(Captcha Error? Escapist, have you shopped at Best Buy recently? 'None of the above' was the correct answer.)

JaredJones:
...
the program features graphic decapitations in the family hour ... all sponsored by McDonalds."
...

They do realize clowns are nightmare fuel since Tim Curry's It and The Simpsons' Lisa first Word?
They do realize mcDonald basically poison their very children with far too much calories and junk food?
They do realize graphic decapication is basically what happens to cows between the field and the burger?

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/comicsandcosplay/comics/critical-miss/9091-The-GameChurch

Silentpony:
Don't let the South Park guys see this! They'll see it as a challenge!

On second thought, get them on the phone, now. I wanna see how far they can take this.

LysanderNemoinis:

K12:

LysanderNemoinis:
I just find it funny that some of the same people who laugh at self-aggradizing, always offended bullshit merchants like the PTC and tell them that "if they don't like it, don't watch it" will nevertheless whirl around on their heels and defend to their dying breath someone with the exact same message except replace "children" with "women" and consider telling people that "if you don't like it, don't play it" tantamount to ignoring a crime and supporting systematic abuse against women.

Oh, are the PTC complaining about lazy and stereotypical representations of children in American Horror Story which is alienating potential child fans of the show? I must have misread.

They're not complaining about representations, but what they are doing is whining about something they don't like because in their eyes it's offensive, and I think that in both cases, those who have a problem with it should just not watch. And if somone is the type of person who is emotionally and psychlogically damanged by watching TV and playing video games (or thinks others will), then I feel sorry for them because it must suck not to be able to enjoy anything if everything hurts their precious feelings. Adults are adults, and children are smarter than we give them credit for. If a person's mind is going to be forever changed because of something they see or play then they're not mature enough to be watching or playing it anyway. Now if they're old enough that they should be able to handle it but are still too weak to do so, then someone needs to tell them to grow up. If someone is too stupid to think for themselves and use a little common sense, then they should just stick to coloring books. But I'm sure they'd find that sexist or harmful to children or whatever-is-vogue-at-the-moment-phobic.

Yeah how can you argument be right when another argument can be wrong? Oh what a mystery. We should all just stop trying.

Sarcasm aside. There's a difference betwen complaining about a medium you enjoy because lots of great works withing in keep using the same off-putting and lazy shortcuts and another thing to complain that a particular show is inappropriate for a group of people that shouldn't be watching it in the first place.

There are probably feminist critiques of games that are just tantamount to whinging that not everything is to one individual's tasre (I don't seek these kind of things out as much as some people seem to) but lots of them aren't and it's worth addressing arguments on their own merits rather than go the "you're just like Jack Thompson/ PTC/ Hitler" route which is just dismissive and doesn't help anyone.

Normally I just lurk here, but I had to create an account for this.

In this new season, a man gets raped by a dildo that has grooves and spikes (a drildo if you will.)
He did not ask, it was not implied, he went into the room by himself, expecting privacy, to get high.

It is violent. We hear hear him scream, we hear him beg.
Another character who is watching, even says "The more you scream, the more he likes it.".

I was speechless, and could not comprehend that they actually showed this when it happened.

Later on, we see this guy dead, HE WAS RAPED TO DEATH..

This was played on cable tv.

I enjoy American Horror Story. It has allways been dark, with sexual overtones. But if I had a kid, and they saw this, I'd be pissed.
(We've all been kids, and probably snuck out of bed to watch "forbidden shows")

If this was a woman being raped to death, I bet the response wouldnt be "lol, these PTC people need to chill."

K12:
Is there any American organisation with the word "Parent" or "Family" in the title who aren't whinging prudes?

I believe the "Family Organization of Parents Who Care but Aren't Whiny Bitches" association fits that niche. But seeing as they aren't offended by (or don;t complain about) everything it's hard to know they exist.

 

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