• Worst Cable TV Show of the Week: American Horror Story on FX

    by  • October 13, 2015 • Advertiser Accountability, Cable Choice, Sex, Violence, Worst Cable Show of the Week • 20 Comments

    For nearly unbelievable levels of ultra-graphic sex and gore, the October 7th season premiere of FX’s American Horror Story is the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.

    “Since debuting in 2011, no show has more aggressively dared its audience to turn away lest they witness unspeakable acts of human debasement, sexual perversion, and gratuitous violence.” – TV critic Jordan Crucchiola, FX’s American Horror Story (Wired, October 8, 2015)

    Since the earliest days of his program Nip/Tuck, the Parents Television Council has warned viewers about the programming created by Ryan Murphy and shown on the FX basic cable network. But with each successive year, Murphy’s programming has grown ever more explicit…until today, when Nip/Tuck’s scenes of bestiality and incestuous necrophilia seem downright tame compared to the fare offered up on Murphy’s current program, American Horror Story.

    In recent years, television has been innundated with graphic murder and gore, on programs from Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, and the earlier iterations of American Horror Story to Hannibal and The Following. Such programming has made a fetish of sociopathic behavior. And while Ryan Murphy may defend his show’s content by claiming that a man being anally raped with a drill bit is a “metaphor” for drug addiction, in fact it appears that the program indulges in sexualized violence simply for the perverse thrills of doing so. For the better part of a century, Hollywood proved capable of dealing with issues like addiction without such horrific content. And after all, in 2007, Murphy said, ““Television is a thing where some doors have to be pushed open and, once those doors are pushed open, other people will follow.” Is it any wonder that broadcast TV is now also showing graphic gore, from Murphy’s own program Scream Queens, to murder on Empire, to decapitation on the Batman program Gotham?

    “We recoil in horror at the real-life slaughter carried out on a regular basis in this country, or the atrocities that ISIS publicizes through social media, yet giddily embrace fictional portrayals of inhumanity shown on TV (many of which are celebrated by critics).” — Cultural commentator Rob Frydlewicz (ZeitGAYst.com, October 10, 2015)

    It is easy to criticize American Horror Story in a vacuum. Here are some actual content examples from last Wednesday’s premiere episode:  

    A naked man emerges from a bath tub. The Countess snorts cocaine, then she and Donovan lead the couple back to the hotel room. The couple lies naked in bed with Donovan when the Countess enters. She is partially nude, with pasties covering her nipples. She sticks her finger into the man’s mouth. We see Donovan mounts the woman and has sex with her, as the Countess mounts the man. The couples engage in a four-some, swapping partners and having sex with one another. When both the Countess and Donovan are on top of their respective partners, the produce knives and slash the couples’ jugulars. Blood fountains out of the the couple’s throats and gushes across their bodies and spurts over the bed. The Countess and Donovan drink the blood, the Countess burying her face in the man’s spouting throat wound. Sated from their sex and blood feast, the Countess and Donovan and recline in bed amid the corpses.


    Detectives arrive at the scene of a crime. Inside the hotel room, a naked man and woman are on the bed in a coital position. A huge spear impales the woman’s torso. Her hands have been nailed to the headboard. The still-living man’s eyes and tongue are found in the ashtray next to them. His empty eye sockets and blood-filled mouth are shown in close-up. The detectives determine that the man’s genitalia has been glued to the woman’s.

    Detective Lowe: “He’s saying, “Get me out of her.’ He’s still inside of her. You’re going to find male potency drugs in his system. Probably a lot. You won’t be able to detach them here, so you’re gonna have to take him with the corpse.”


    Detective Lowe looks through a series of crime scene photos. A naked man’s bloody corpse is shown lying face down with multiple bloody stab wounds all over his body. The corpse also has a portion of the skull caved in due to a severe blunt force trauma. One of the photos is a close-up of the corpse’s blood-covered rear. Lowe listens to an audio recording of the coroner’s report.

    Audio Recording: “There are traces of what appears to be gold paint chips in the rectal cavity, as well as in what is left of the cranium. So it may be assumed that whatever the murder weapon was, it was used in the sexual assault.”


    A faceless man wearing a large metal strap-on sex toy emerges from the shadows. The man grabs Gabriel, flips him on his stomach, pulls down his pants and repeatedly rapes him anally. Sally kneels by Gabriel’s head and watches.

    Sally: “The more you scream the more he likes it. Tell me you love me, and I’ll make it stop.”

    Gabriel sobs and screams in agony, and tells Sally he loves her.  Sally watches as the faceless creature rapes Gabriel to death.


    Scarlett walks into room where the corpses of two men hang from wires by their arms, their stomachs slice open and their entrails hanging out.


    It is one thing to read descriptions of these scenes. Disturbing though those descriptions may be, it is something else again to actually watch them. To see the programming that FX is making available on basic cable and the internet is to feel that the latter days of the Roman Empire have returned. That such scenes are considered “entertainment” – and more, that they are lauded by most so-called “critics” – boggles belief. Only two decades ago, almost  no one could have imagined that such an unbelievably sickening combination of graphic violence and pornographic sex would ever be committed to film…let alone that every cable and satellite subscriber in America would be forced to pay for it.   

    But that is what has happened. It is beyond time that FX be moved to a premium tier, like HBO, or at least offered on an a la carte basis…just as it is beyond time that FX stop promoting murderous orgies as “entertainment” that everyone is forced to fund.  

    For its nausea-inducing combination of sex and gore, FX’s American Horror Story is the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.

    American Horror Story has, almost since its inception, cleverly found a way to immunize itself against criticism. If you actually take issue with some of the things that American Horror Story says, well then, you’re being a humorless square, someone who just refuses to see [creator Ryan] Murphy’s campy, queeny gay sensibility for the arch, transgressive genius it is…But American Horror Story is garbage, something we need to bag up and throw away, or flush and forget.” – TV critic Richard Lawson (Vanity Fair, October 8, 2015)


    Subway sponsored this program. To contact them with your concerns, click here.



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    20 Responses to Worst Cable TV Show of the Week: American Horror Story on FX

    1. Dulce
      March 24, 2016 at 8:43 am

      If you don’t like what they’re showing, why don’t you turn your television off? Or better yet, avoid it! Don’t understand why you would watch something that you know for a fact that you will not like and upset you. If you’re worried about your children watching the show, you can block the channel since you know, we have modern technology! American Horror Story comes out really late at night on Wednesdays so your kids shouldn’t even be up. They should be in bed since school is the next day.

      • Mike
        March 22, 2017 at 5:16 am

        Of course someone like you would say that. You people will be so happy to have hardcore porn broadcast on basic cable. Not true? Stop accepting the pushing of the envelope. Show you have decency. No ifs, ands, or buts. There are plenty of other alternatives to get a fix for those who want adult content. Family content, on the other hand, is scarce in this day and age. It is as if we don’t care about the family or the kids anymore. I certainly hope that is not the case. A lot of work needs to be done to PROVE it isn’t…a lot of work.

    2. Ted
      October 26, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      I thought this was a bad joke when I first heard about it. This garbage actually airs on prime time TV and is labeled suitable for 14 years old, let alone suitable to watch at all? We really need to pray for the people who come up with this stuff and the actors who portray it because they’ve obviously got some serious problems in their lives and God’s the only one who can help them.

      • lea
        February 2, 2016 at 3:26 pm

        I love american horror story you font want your kids to watch dont let them watch it theirs this thing and i dont know if any of you heard of it but its called a remote and it changes channels

    3. deb
      October 18, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      One thing not mentioned is that this isn’t a show where unknown actors are using highly sensationalized & controversial subject matter to draw attention to their acting abilities, but instead it’s well known and award winning actors in these roles. Have they come to a point in their careers that they have lost their cashe and become has-beens to the point that they’ve spat on their achievements sinking so low as to accept any piece of trash that will put them in the public eye? No wonder our society is in such sad & depraved state, their teacher is these type shows.

    4. Mike
      October 18, 2015 at 7:38 am

      There is nothing right about this show. Not 1.

    5. Julie Ferrara
      October 18, 2015 at 4:36 am

      We need to boycott any corporation that has advertising in this immoral filthy show. The minds if our youth are so impressionable that we can only imagine that they will act out some or all if

    6. Mike Barry
      October 16, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      Everyone involved from the writer to the actors/actresses and anyone who viewed and enjoyed this filth are all sick and twisted and need help. And people are surprised when they turn on the news and see that someone has done something similar. From the movie Network (1976)
      Howard Beale: You’re beginning to believe the illusions we’re spinning here, you’re beginning to believe that the tube is reality and your own lives are unreal. You do. Why, whatever the tube tells you: you dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even think like the tube. This is mass madness, you maniacs. In God’s name, you people are the real thing, WE are the illusion.

    7. Monica
      October 16, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Please stop this violence and sexual content.

    8. Jackie Nordwig
      October 16, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      Sickened after reading. Speechless and nauseated and sad.

    9. October 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      Absolutely the worst and foul sexual actions I have ever heard of in a TV program. Anyone who sponsors such fifth needs to be boycotted.

    10. Paul Guyer
      October 16, 2015 at 11:51 am

      What is REALLY nausea-inducing about this is that the show was interrupted with commercials even though people were PAYING for the channel. This is why cable is a joke and anyone who hasn’t given up on it yet deserves whatever they get.

    11. Deb Keegan
      October 16, 2015 at 11:28 am

      American Horror Story is beyond vile and disgusting. This show should not be available on TV at all.

    12. john conover
      October 16, 2015 at 11:21 am

      the American horror story is garbage and should be taken out and trashed and never seen again.

    13. val
      October 16, 2015 at 7:24 am

      This is horrific and vile and debasing our society. I don’t watch tv , the commercials alone are enough. Isn’t there enough real horror going on in the world. I know that the people that make these movies are soulless and vile so it is not going to help by telling them their show is horrible. They like it that way but I am writing to the sponsors , any business that would sponsor this will not get a cent of my money . I am forwarding this to everyone on my email list as well.

    14. Marge
      October 16, 2015 at 6:53 am

      depravity on the highest scale- unbelievable that this is allowed!!!! STOP supporting this sewage!

      • moax429
        October 16, 2015 at 6:47 pm

        As I said before – thank the Lord I cut the cord!

    15. Joyce Raby
      October 16, 2015 at 6:11 am

      I believe that this show represents the worst of society, and that it should not be shown on public television channels. In our community we are trying to keep children from getting involved in sexual activities and drug activities. This type of show encourages them to get involved in the wrong areas of life. This type of show affects their thinking patterns, and stimulates their minds to want to try drugs and illegal sex. Bad, bad TV show for children.

    16. L.R.
      October 16, 2015 at 6:10 am

      The Left is always calling for censorship of Christianity, and the “separation of church & state” (another misnomer) and now we see why. This is the devil himself in action, on the attack against our own children with our own money! Enough! This is NOT free speech. This is harassment and domestic abuse of the highest degree against our children, and it’s time to put an end to it! It IS time for censorship, and people should be calling their representatives and demanding it.

    17. Joe Paravala
      October 16, 2015 at 5:10 am

      What kind .of sick mind thinks this stuff up . There can be no good reason for airing this trash. please spend your advertising dollars in a more positive way.The news channels give us more than enough gore and violence.

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