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?