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American Punk Rock Story: Conspiracy Music 

Tuesday, Dec 9 2014
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Okay people, I've solved it. I've figured out the link between all the seasons of American Horror Story despite FX's refusal to divulge it.

Some people — mere fools — will tell you that each season is based on one of the rings of the Inferno from Dante's Divine Comedy.

Please, how pedestrian.

The first season of AHS, called "Murder House," was about infidelity. The second, "Asylum," was about perceptions of reality and sanity. The third, "Coven," was about oppression. This season, "Freak Show," is about The Other, or discrimination. Dante's Divine Comedy has the same themes of sin, lust, pride, violence, and apostasy splattered throughout the epic poem.

Also in Dante's Inferno, our hero is put through the nine levels of hell, each worse than the one before it, and all are the result of some horrible sin. Think red-hot pokers up the ass, having your head reattached backwards, or being forced to watch Peter Pan Live! for all of eternity. AHS certainly has its share of really hard-to-watch gnarliness. I hope I never have to see someone bend a hanger and put it inside themselves to self-abort on TV ever again.

But comparing it to something as obvious as this is too easy. Only the shrewd mind of a Professional Bay Area Television Critic could really catch what is going on. I suppose I am the Alan Turing of my time, able to break even the most difficult of cryptics. All seasons are indeed related, and here's how: They are all based on Ramones songs.

Let's start with "Murder House," the first season. A couple who have just lost a baby move into a big creepy old place and then horrible things start happening due to the large number of violent deaths that have taken place there. There are ghosts and everyone is screwing everyone else, too. The Ramones song, "I Don't Want To Go Down In The Basement," says it all in this case; something evil is 'round every corner. Same with "You Should Never Have Opened That Door" ("Mama, where's your little daughter / She's here, right here on the altar / You should never have opened that door / Now you're never gonna see her no more / You don't know what I can do with this ax / Chop off your head, so you better relax").

Things really get rolling in season two, "Asylum," though. This season takes place in a mental hospital for the criminally insane. "Teenage Lobotomy," indeed, if you strike the teen part. Sister Jude gets zapped ("Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment") and goes loco; Jude becomes "Judy." That's right kids, "Judy is a Punk." Zachary Quinto the psychologist attempts his brand of therapy but since he's actually the psycho serial killer Bloody Face, this really is "Psycho Therapy," folks.

But wait! There's more. Season Three, "Coven," delves into racism and witchcraft. "The KKK Took My Baby Away" underwrites the season's devilish underbelly of the prejudiced South in a story that takes place in New Orleans. Its drama revolves around a strange boarding school run by witches ("Rock and Roll High School"). Spells and magick abound, and the Ramones' salute to the Cuban mixture of voodoo and Catholicism known as Santaria ("Havana Affair") permeates.

Finally, the current season, "Freak Show," is the penultimate salute to everyone's favorite punk band. The Ramones made it known how much they loved the 1932 Tod Browning film Freaks, even going so far as to embrace "Gabba Gabba Hey" as their mantra and to put dialogue from the movie ("Gabba gabba we accept you, one of us! One of us!") into the beginning of their song "Pinhead." This season features not one but two "pinhead" characters. The Ramones loved freaks and outsiders and sang about them all the time, including "Cretin Hop." But American Horror Story Season Four also explores the sick relationship between a boy and his mother (Dandy and his mother Gloria), as exemplified in "Mama's Boy," "We're a Happy Family," and "Now I Wanna Be A Good Boy."

Too bad she never "Beat on the Brat."

About The Author

Katy St. Clair


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