American Horror Story has seen several ups and downs over the years, and seems to be rebranding with an all new season, Delicate. The new season has received a lot of press before its debut on Thursday, September 20th. The inclusion of Kim Kardashian as a lead character helped people remember the show after a chain of disastrous few seasons and decline in popularity. Along with Kardashian, Emma Roberts returned to the franchise and Cara Delavigne was introduced into the AHS-verse. The first episode of the season was met with mixed reviews, with a new chain of controversy surrounding Roberts' transphobic past and creator, Ryan Murphy's, treatment of cast.
Source: Daily Mail
Before the season premiere, controversies began piling originally with the creator, Ryan Murphy's, production of "Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story." The Netflix series was controversial for glamorizing the actions of the serial killer, as fans viewed it. Murphy defended the series and didn't take responsibility for the reactions of fans as well as those of the families of Dahmer's victims.
Months later, amidst the Writer's Guild (WGA) media strikes, Murphy threatened to sue the leaders of the strike because it was effecting production of his shows. The WGA named Murphy as one of the producers being picketed for "blackballing" actors and writers, and Murphy spoke up against it. This continued to shift the public's perception of Murphy and his productions as videos like the one titled "The Ryan Murphy Horror Story: Glee's Problematic Showrunner" began to emerge.
Angelica Ross who starred in Murphy's Pose and American Horror Story: 1984, alleged that Murphy "ghosted" her after offering a black female-led season of AHS. Ross took to X to post a screenshot of an email from Murphy from July 2020, revealing that he asked her for suggestions for a casting, with her leading it. Ross also revealed her follow-up emails which she says were never answered.
Along with the Murphy allegations, Ross also brought negative press to AHS's new season by accusing Roberts of transphobia during filming for 1984. Ross alleged on X that while doing an impression of her, Roberts "dropped her voice down several octaves." This, mixed with previous controversies surrounding Roberts, including domestic abuse in relation to AHS costar Evan Peters, left a bad taste in fans' mouths about Roberts' inclusion in Delicate. Although Roberts hasn't addressed the controversies publicly, Ross took to X to reveal that the actress apologized to her over the phone.
Ahead of the new season, Kim Kardashian was announced as a cast member. This decision, which came as a surprise for a lot of fans, was likely a calculated one looking at the history of the show. For season 5 of the show, Hotel, Lady Gaga was added to the cast once Jessica Lange left. Now, with a build-up of controversies and a few forgettable seasons, Kardashian was exactly what the show needed for a spice up.
The new season follows Roberts' character, Anna Victoria Alcott, a Hollywood actress going through the IVF process after pregnancy issues. Kardashian plays Siobhan Corbyn, the actress's publicist/best friend, while Delavigne is a mysterious woman haunting Anna. The viewer is also introduced to Anna's husband, Dexter (played by Matt Czuchry), and his friends. The cast also included MJ Rodriguez, Denis O'Hare, Leslie Grossman and Billie Lourd. After one IVF procedure, Anna seems be turning into a spider, with webs coming out her head, and haunted by both Delavigne and another older woman who is posting hateful things about her online. The episode ends with Anna getting a warning through blood on a mirror.
Following the airing of the episode, some fans expressed their confusion about the episode's premise as well as the plot for the season. One watcher took to X to write, "ahs is so confusing sometimes I swear something will be a hallucination or like a fake scene BUT ITLL BE REAL like IM CONFUSED." Meanwhile, other fans were excited and called it "the best AHS season in a while," writing that the charm from earlier seasons is back, from the storyline to the gore and actors.
Fans also credited Kardashian for the new season being better than the last few. The character is a business mogul and a fashion icon, similar to Kardashian herself, which might be the reason she's acing the acting gig. Siobhan's one-liners have also resonated with fans, with her opening line being, "Then tell the Daniels to suck my cl*t." The character's style also was fit for Kardashian's big return to acting, which helped her became a fan-favorite.
Source: Gold Derby
Alas, fans are confused about the drama surrounding the show, and it seems to be overshadowing the action premiere episode. The ratings might be plummeting because of the controversies, but the show earned its best rankings on Rotten Tomatoes since 2019. The show's cult following is still waving their flags in support of the new season, especially through the addition of Kardashian, while other watchers complain about the discrepancies.