Analysis Of ' Rubber Men And Flashbacks ' Essay

1758 Words Sep 27th, 2016 8 Pages
Suma Thati
Media Studies 10: Intro to Media Studies
Fall 2016

Rubber Men and Flashbacks: Narrative Complexity in American Horror Story: Murder House

In the third episode of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s anthology drama American Horror Story: Murder House (henceforth AHS: Murder House), Violet Harmon, the daughter of Ben and Vivien Harmon (the owners of the titular house) begins a relationship with Tate Langdon. It is only in the sixth episode that she finds out that Tate is not in fact alive: he was shot and killed in 1994 by police following his murder of 15 students at his high school. Up until then, and even afterwards, Violet and Tate co-exist harmoniously. The audience almost forgets that Tate is a ghost. This blurred boundary between reality and the supernatural is one of many indications to narrative complexity in the show. Jason Mittell conceptualised narrative complexity in Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling. The past 20 years have seen a shift in conventional television storytelling that has redefined “the boundary between episodic and serial forms (Mittell 53).” American Horror Story is a prime example of such a program. As Phillip Maciak writes, it “came out and left it all on the floor, often literally (Maciak).” This paper will focus on narrative complexity as conceptualised by Mittell in the first season, Murder House. It will use the show as a case study to examine horror on the small screen. American Horror Story: Murder…

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