Sunday, May 10, 2015


Throughout the semester I have been talking about the television show American Horror Story: Asylum. The many blog postings discussed various topics in regards to the show such as character, narrative, genre, setting, plot, and more. All of these accumulate together to ask an intriguing question: Is American Horror Story: Asylum a successful television show? The difficult part with this question is determining what you define “successful” to be in regards to the television show.

One way to determine if American Horror Story: Asylum is successful by seeing if the show accomplished what it set out to do and did it well. The main point in the entire series of American Horror Story is to have that element of horror throughout the program while placing it different situations. In the case of Asylum, horror was seen by various characters and their actions, mutated people, and sci-fi elements such as aliens. These elements not only brought horror, but excitement to the show. American Horror Story: Asylum also set out to tell a good story that would get viewers hooked. The story for this season of the program was unique and different, making people wanting to watch every week. From these points, it can be said that American Horror Story: Asylum was successful since it accomplished what it set to do.

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A second way to determine if a television show is successful is whether the program provided entertainment or information to the audience. In the case of American Horror Story: Asylum, the show provided countless entertainment week after week. Each week there was something new that would surprise or shock the audience. This started with the pilot episode of the show where the audience gets introduced to the many characters of the program. The writers of American Horror Story: Asylum let the viewers get to know them just enough in this episode to want to know more. We want learn each of the characters secrets or pasts that are unknown. This made the viewers become attached to the program, therefore coming back each week to find out more. 

The audience was entertained by the information they received from each episode in American Horror Story: Asylum. If the viewer came back each week, they would get more information about the characters and the story line. They would be able to gather enough information to draw their own ideas and conclusions about characters and what they think would be happening to them in future episode. As I watched this program, I was constantly entertained with the various plot-twists in the program. The unexpected can sometimes go horribly for a television program, while others such as Asylum, it turns out to make the show even better. I was able to create my own ideas and theories about the characters. I always made sure to watch the next episode because I wanted to see whether my ideas were correct. American Horror Story: Asylum provided entertainment in a unique way that makes it stick out successfully among other television shows. 

A third way to determine whether a television show is successful is if the program is well written, engaging, respects its audience, and allows for audience involvement and identification. It is pretty evident from my previous blog posts for American Horror Story: Asylum that this program is very well written. From watching the program, the viewer can tell how much effort goes into the development and writing of the script for the show. The writers wanted to make sure they were using the correct language of the time period. What makes this show engaging is through this writing and how the actors execute it to the viewers. The actors in Asylum are able to draw you in and keep your attention the entire episode. Many of the episodes left the viewers with a cliffhanger, causing them to come back the following week to see what will happen next. The strong writing in this television series demonstrates why this program is so successful.

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American Horror Story: Asylum is also very aware of its intended audience and works the show around them. They are respectful to the age demographic the show is geared towards (adults). The show knows this age demographic will involve and engage themselves in the program. As I mentioned earlier, Asylum allows for viewers to generate their own ideas and conclusions about what will happen in the story line. This gets the audience not only involved with the show, but they are able to identify with possibly one or more characters. They feel as if they are in the asylum themselves, digging themselves deeper into the story. When a television program is able to do this, it shows how successful the show truly is. 

A final way to determine if a television show is successful is being able to see that show is professionally produced in such as way that the audience accepts what they see and hear. From watching American Horror Story: Asylum, viewers are able to see easily how much time and effort went into the production of the show. The program stayed true to the time period the show was set (1960s) and this could be seen in the scenery and sets. You could also tell how the program paid close attention to details. They made sure the houses of the various characters matched that of the characters personalities. Production made sure the colors and lights of the program matched the mood of each scene. They wanted to ensure that mostly everything in American Horror Story: Asylum appeared realistic to the audience. The creators did not want the show to appear sloppy. This would not keep and engaged and active audience. Having a professional and organized production such as in American Horror Story: Asylum, makes for a successful television program.

These are a few of the ways in which the term “successful” can be defined in regards to a television show. For American Horror Story: Asylum, these various definitions apply to the program. From the first episode in the season, the viewer is able to be absorbed into the American Horror Story realm due to its accomplishments. The program is entertaining and informative, keeping the audience attentive. The well written script and story line keeps the audience engaged and involved with the show. They are able to identify and relate to the various characters within the program, making the viewers come to watch week after week. Lastly, the production of Asylum is professional in that it attracts the eyes of the audience, making the show more appealing. Due to these various reasons it can be said that American Horror Story: Asylum is a successful television program.  

Works Cited

"Welcome to Briarcliff." American Horror Story Wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2015.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


In order to attract and keep viewers of television programs, creators need to find ways to get the audience involved in the show. This can be done multiple ways such as viewers creating ideas, identifying values, and more. This blog post will talk about the various way audiences get involved with American Horror Story: Asylum. 

Ideas are first presented to the audience by the writers and creators of the show. These ideas are shown in the story line through character’s words and actions. As the season progresses, the ideas are developed more as the audience learns more. The ideas do not really adjust to the people in that these ideas are already set and developed early on. This causes the audience to have to adjust to the ideas of the show and form their own opinions of the ideas presented to them.  

Values within the concept of good vs. evil can be seen throughout the program. An example of these values can be seen in episode 2 called “Tricks and Treats.” An adolescent boy is brought to Briarcliff in hopes of figuring out what is wrong with him. It turns out that a demon is inside him so an
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exorcism is performed. The demon in the boy brings out bad things that Sister Jude has done in the past. This causes her to break down and go after the demon. Sister Jude values the Church, but values her deepest secrets more that no one knows about. Values such as honesty and fairness are also put to the test in this episode. Lana receives electroshock treatment just so she does not remember what happens in the asylum. The show questions fairness and right vs. wrong in how the patients are treated at the asylum. What is right for Sister Jude to give electroshock therapy to Lana? What is right for Lana to see Kit and Grace get punished by Sister Jude? The values are communicated through the character’s actions and words in each episode. Lana values fairness so she speaks up about her poor treatment in the asylum. Dr. Thredson in this episode speaks out to Sister Jude about his concern of treatment methods at Briarcliff. Even if the character is alone, how they act their values or the values of the program will show. 
Shared substances that are present in “Tricks and Treats” are beliefs and values that are seen through the characters Lana Winters and Dr. Thredson. They both believe at this point of show that treatment at the asylum is not morally right. Another substance that may lead the audience to identify with the program is common enemies between characters. They might see the enemies in the show (in this episode that is Sister Jude) have similar personalities as someone they know. The audience might also share the substance of understanding what is morally right and wrong. This lesson is present in every episode of the show so it likely that these lessons will lead the audience to a shared common substance about the program. 
American Horror Story: Asylum questions the idea or morality itself within the program. As I stated  before, there are many questions in regards to what is morally right and wrong at Briarcliff. These moral lessons are developed in each episode as the audience learns more about the treatment of patients in Briarcliff. The audience can also see the development through the characters in how they act. We see in this episode that Lana knows what they are doing at the asylum is morally wrong and she is not afraid to speak up and say something about it. As the show continues, we see Lana continue to stand up for herself and the treatment of others at Briarcliff. The concept of telos is not evident in the program. You do not see in any of the characters having a life of moral excellence, even those who are part of the Church (Monsignor, Sister Jude, and Sister Mary). Each character has something in their life that obstructs from having a morally excellent life.   
Emotions in Asylum play a large role in how the story is told. Emotional appeals such as sadness, anger, confusion, and joyfulness are all conveyed in the program. These emotional appeals are presented by the characters within the show. They express how they are feeling to the viewers. This helps to make the character more relatable therefore showing the emotional appeal of the program.
Many of the characters in American Horror Story: Asylum have qualities of strength and courage that create positive identification for audience members. The audience is able to see these qualities in characters such as Lana Winters and Kit Walker. They both show strength by surviving at Briarcliff and dealing with poor treatment. They both have courage in that they stick up for what they know is right and what is best for them. From the beginning of the show, Kit has the courage to say he did not kill his wife and is not Bloody Face. Another quality that many of the characters have that is likely to create positive identification for the audience is that of honesty. Sometimes the truth does hurt, but in the long-run many of the characters know that being honest with themselves and others is the best thing they can do.  
At the beginning of the show American Horror Story: Asylum, it is Sister Jude who has the power and domination over other characters in the program. Even though she is in a lower position than Monsignor, she basically runs the asylum. She has the power of the workers and patients at Briarcliff. If a patient does not listen to her or do what she says, they then get punished by her. This reign of power starts to diminish as the show progresses and the Devil inside Sister Mary gets stronger. Eventually, Sister Mary takes all the power in Briarcliff and makes things even worse. Sister Jude ends up being a patient and finally sees how poorly they treat her and other patients in the asylum. She tries to speak up about it but has no power over Sister Mary. From both these characters you can see how the power of evil can play a large role in how a person acts and behaves. Sister Jude was evil in how little she cared about the patients and Sister Mary had the presence of evil inside her until she was killed.   
The ideology in this program advocates a set of norms for all to follow. The ideology is that those who are perceived “normal” have positions of power over those who may have “problems.” This ideology that assigns these roles to people and advocates a set of norms is set more towards the time period in which the show is set (1960s). However we can still see this ideology in today’s society in how people are treated differently if they are not considered “normal” to the other person.    
Hegemony is not seen within American Horror Story: Asylum. The subordinates in this show, such as Kit Walker and Lana Winters, go against what is accepted and deemed as natural in the social system. They do not give the power to dominant in this show. It could be said that the dominant group in this program is actually the patients or those who are not seen as “normal” by the rest of society. It might seem like they do not have power at the beginning of the program, but by the end of the show, it is them who have all the power and are a part of the social system.  
The subordinates have reversed the power structure causing them to have power and the dominants to become weak. In the show, the dominants such as Sister Mary, Dr. Arden, and Dr. Thredson all have power over the subordinates early on in the program. As the show moves forward, the audience sees how roles are starting to reverse in that the subordinates have more power than the dominants think. By the end of American Horror Story: Asylum, almost all of the original dominants are dead. The subordinates take control and the power, making the dominant ones to become weak.  
 In American Horror Story: Asylum, gender is represented in various ways. The dominant characters are both male and female in the show. However, females are tended to be looked down upon from certain characters. For examples, Dr. Arden thinks very low of Shelley because of how she acts. Though Sister Jude has power in the asylum, she still is looked down by men in the asylum just because she is female. The program does represent the women patients, such as Lana Winters and
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Grace, as strong and independent, but still have to face hurdles against men. The only representation of race in Asylum is that of Kit Walker being married to an African American woman. The show is set in the 1960s so this was not accepted of the time. Due to this, Kit was bullied by others and blamed for killing his wife. Ethnicity does not play a role in how the character’s are represented in the show. The program represents age through people of various ages in the show. For example, Sister Jude and Dr. Arden are older than Sister Mary and Kit Walker. Most of the people represented are in the young adult range. People are represented in the category of occupation through religious leaders, doctors, and a journalist. They represent a wide range of occupations to show types of jobs at the time the show is set. However, the higher occupations such as doctors are held by men showing the gap between genders. People’s physical capabilities in this program are not shown as much as mental capabilities since the show is set in an asylum. Asylum shows different types of people with different mental disabilities. These mental disabilities may or may not deal with their physical capabilities. These patients are shown that they need assistance from others since they are unable to do them on their own. 
People with power and leadership are represented the most in the program. The show represents various people with different lifestyles. In the show, it could be said that Kit Walker and Lana Winters are represented as “the other” because of how they live their lives. Kit is in an interracial marriage and Lana is in a relationship with another female. In the 1960s this was not accepted so they are seen as outcasts to what is deemed “normal” by society. These characters show how people treat others when they are not “us” and are different (O’Donnell, 155). I think that Asylum focuses on the representation of “the other” more so than other television shows. The program shows a large group of “others,” which are the patients. The patients are in the asylum because something is “wrong” with them and it takes people outside this group to try and help them. The patients are also stereotyped to be crazy just because they are in the asylum. Characters such as Kit, Lana, and Grace really do not have mental issues, but are stuck in asylum because someone stereotyped them as crazy. 
The attributed intention of American Horror Story: Asylum is to scare the audience through horror elements while making the show seem realistic. Many horror TV shows or movies are not very realistic in nature such as vampires and werewolf’s. Much of this show is based on human beings and the horrors they have to deal with in the asylum. The audience is more likely to get scared or frightened by something that happens with humans because it feels more real. This attributed intention is more to persuade the audience than inform them. The writers goal is to get the audience to be scared and make them think in each episode. This takes some persuasion to get the audience to feel and think how the creators of the show want them to. 
 American Horror Story: Asylum is set in the 1960s so the audience is able to identify some intertextuality within the episodes. I do not think identification of intertextuality heighten the pleasure derived from the show. I think the audience gets enough enjoyment from the show through moments of fear and horror presented in each episode. As a viewer of the show myself, any intertextuality I have identified within the show has not heightened my enjoyment of American Horror Story: Asylum.
Evidence and reasoning are slightly used to support conclusions in American Horror Story: Asylum. Throughout this season, we see evidence of why people act a certain way or why something happens to them. All this evidence and reasoning is used to understand the ending of Asylum. Viewers are asked in ways to participate in the co-creation of reasoning. They create their own reasonings as to why something happened to a character and whether it was acceptable or not. Toying with these reasoning influence how the viewer will understand the ending of American Horror Story: Asylum. These conclusions show just one of the many ways that viewers of American Horror Story: Asylum get involved in the show and what keeps them watching season after season. 
Works Cited

O'Donnell, Victoria. Television Criticism. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2013. Print.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


How believable a television show is to an audience greatly depends on how the program looks. The programs looks contribute not only to the realness of the program, but also to the emotions that are conveyed (O’Donnell, 190). These looks are made up from “the sets, the casting of characters, costumes, makeup, dialogue, physical movement, music, and sound effects. The look of a program is accomplished by camera work, lightning, editing, and direction” (190). By looking at these codes we can see what aspect of reality the show is trying to represent.  

One of the major looks of a program is the indoor and outdoor sets and the use of color. The events located in an indoor studio are dressed to look like an asylum of the early 1960s. It looks old and dirty and inside is not well lit. Another events in an indoor sets are homes dressed to look of the time period. Events that take place outdoors are that of a suburban area since most takes place in Massachusetts. 

The Hollywood Reporter wrote an article speaking about the various sets for American Horror
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Story: Asylum.
It talks about what the designers of the show did to make the asylum look realistic and even more importantly, creepy.  

The colors are subdued to make the set look old and creepy. The color of the outfits of which the characters wear are subdued as well. Most wear a shade of blue while others wear black (such as Sister Jude). These color help create the mood of the show. The audience can feel anxious, tense, or nervous of what will happen because of these colors. They do not give off a cheery-type feeling, but rather a creepy/suspenseful-type feeling.

Most of the scenes that were outdoors were actually filmed outside to make it authentic and real. They use the sights and sounds of what they are feeling to provide the realism factor the audience sees during the show. 

The outdoor scene in some cases symbolize freedom because the patients are all locked inside the asylum. When some of the characters, such as Lana Winters and Kit Walker, are able to get out of the asylum, the outside world symbolizes their freedom. Outside they are not seen and treated as a patient, but rather they are treated as a human being. 

The creators of American Horror Story knew what they were doing when it comes to casting the right actors for the various roles in the show. Each of the actors bring their character to life in making they seem like real people. They put on the persona of the character through physical attributes (such as clothing and hair) and personal attributes (such as the characters mannerisms). When I watched the show, I always forgot that these characters were just characters and not actual people. 

The main characters of the show such as Sister Jude and Dr. Thredson have depth more so then minor characteristics. Throughout the season, the audience learn more about these characters and their personalities. Some of this is shown in repetitive characteristics such as Kit being a leader and standing up for himself and others. This helps to reinforce the character’s personality and for the audience to understand why a character acts a certain way in a situation. The show digs deep to show the dark side of some of the characters and expose their weakness. 

The costumes that the characters wear match the time period of when the show is set as well as where they are located during the show. For example, when the audience first meets Lana Winters, we see her wearing typical clothing of the early the 1960s. From her clothing, the audience is able to recognize the time of which the show is set and that she is of working class. The costumes in the asylum are all similar for the patients. Women wear dresses and men wear pants and a shirt that are blue. They all match to show cohesion of the patients. It also helps to make the asylum appear more realistic to the viewer.

The actors express their feelings through facial expressions during intense moments. Most often, the audience is able to tell how a character is feeling by the subtexts of facial expressions and physical movements. How they look at another character or how they move around another character are some ways in which the audience is able to tell how a character is feeling at that moment. The sound does help in reinforcing the subtext. The sound assists in portraying the feelings and mood of the character in a certain situation. For example, dramatic sounds will be used to further show a character’s feeling of fear or shock.   

The theme of American Horror Story: Asylum can make it difficult for the dialogue at times to sound realistic. They talk about supernatural things such as aliens, which does not make the dialogue seem real. Most dialogue that occurred in the asylum sounded realistic because the characters appeared real to the audience. The show often leaves out important information in the dialogue. They present this information in a different way. They do this to keep the viewer engaged and interested in what will happen to characters within the program.  

Music is an important aspect to American Horror Story: Asylum. Music in the program helps to move storyline in each episode as well as assist in showing characters emotions at the time. The music used in the show also helps to draw in the audience, especially when it comes to scary moments in the show. The music builds anticipation, making the audience nervous as they are waiting to see what happens next.

Most often, the shots used in this program are close-ups and medium shots. These help to connect the audience with characters in the show. With close-ups, the audience is able to truly see how a characters is feeling or reacting to a certain situation. It helps make the character seem real to the audience. Movement of the camera depends on each scene. If it is a “calm” scene between two characters, the movement of the camera is slower or at a normal pace. When something crazy happens, the movement is chaotic, in that angles are constantly changing or the movement of the camera is very fast. They do this to get the audience to feel a certain way in that moment of the show. They want the audience to feel panic just as the character just like the character in the show. The camera work helps bring realism to American Horror Story: Asylum. 

American Horror Story: Asylum also has characteristics that makes the show post-modern. Part of post-modernism for television includes the enjoyment derived from “mixing up the conventions of various genres and programs” (169). American Horror Story: Asylum is a hybrid drama that has various situations that you would have not seen in modern television shows. This show involves relationships that are becoming more common today such as an interracial married couple. The show also has a sci-fi theme about aliens which typically would not be seen in a modern television show. American Horror Story: Asylum stands out among other television shows of the past and today, making it pretty evident of why it is a post-modern show. 

American Horror Story: Asylum also stands out through its signature looks. The signature look of American Horror Story can mostly been seen through the opening credits. Since each season of the show is different, the signature look will somewhat change. What stays the same from season to season is the signature looks of creepiness and horror. In Asylum, these elements can be seen between the characters themselves and the appearance of Briarcliff. They provide the creepy signature look that American Horror Story strives for every new season. 

The producers of the programs are able to get the viewer to believe what they see is really there by making the show be as realistic as possible. They make the asylum and the patients inside of it appear as if it would be something a viewer would see in their own lives. They also get the viewer to believe what they see is really there through the camera work. By bringing the character and the viewer closer (through the use of close-up shots), the viewer will feel as if they are part of the conversation. They will feel like they are in the asylum as well, trying to find a way out. This reality aspect is what the producers are trying to represent through American Horror Story: Asylum. This and other representation codes contribute to the believability of American Horror Story: Asylum.  

Works Cited
O'Donnell, Victoria. Television Criticism. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2013. Print. 
Whitlock, Cathy. "Inside the Spooky 'American Horror Story: Asylum' Set (Photos & Video)." The Hollywood Reporter. N.p., 5 Dec. 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


People are attracted to certain television programs if they are able to find commonalities from the show to our society. We want to see how the show relates to the realities of our society.  

Since American Horror Story: Asylum is different from most television programs out today, it can be a little more difficult to see the show as realistic. If anything, the characters in the program portray the realness of Asylum. The program reflects realness through the characters emotions and actions. Characters such as Lana Winters and Kit Walker act like people we would encounter in our daily lives. Lana wants to do more with her job as a journalist and Kit does what he needs to provide for his family. How the actors portray these characters make them seem real or the audience sees them as someone they know. Some of the events that occur in the asylum appear realistic such as the treatment of the patients. They portray the treatment of the patients in a way that it feels like the audience is in the asylum with them and can feel how they are being treated poorly.   

Values represented can help the audience to relate to a show. A variety of societal and cultural values are represented in American Horror Story: Asylum. Most of these values are reflective of the time of which the show is set (1960s). Some of the societal values that are represented is that woman are supposed to be “clean” and not expose themselves and that men have the “power” in regards to jobs and making decisions. More of the counterculture values are represented in the show such as females taking leadership roles and standing up against the previous cultural values placed for women in America.

American Horror Story: Asylum also challenges mainstream societal and cultural values. The nature of the program goes against typical drama television programs. Asylum seeks to show viewers what the societal and cultural values are in the 1960s, but then they show how characters go against these values such as Lana Winters and Sister Jude. 

Contextual and social issues are both clearly referenced and embedded in the plot of the show. Social issues such as prejudice against interracial marriage and gay couples are shown clearly in early episodes. Lana Winters actually ends up in Briarcliff due to Sister Jude not being accepting of her sexual preference. Other issues such as the treatment of the patient are embedded in the plot. The audience sees throughout the season how the patients are taken advantage of just because they are diagnosed with a mental illness. The workers see and treat them as “the other” and do not belong with the rest of society. 

Ordinary personal issues that are recognizable in Asylum are relationship issues. This can be recognized with almost every character in the show. For example, Kit is married to Alma but is brought to the asylum when he is accused of being Bloody Face. While at Briarcliff, he meets Grace, another patient, and the two have a romance. The audience can see later in the season that Kit lives a
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polygamy lifestyle with Grace and Alma. Issues arise between the two women and it is Kit that has to help them get along with one another. Another ordinary personal issues that the audience can see is the characters issues in making personal decisions. This can be seen with Lana Winters in deciding to keep the baby even though she was raped and her decision to write a book about what happened to her at Briarcliff even though she made up some of the material. 

Since the characters in the program are relatable in some way, the viewers are able to recognize their own fallibility in the characters. The mistakes, lessons, and the expectation that characters learn throughout the season of Asylum, are ones that viewers can relate to. They recognize the fallibility of the characters and therefore reflect the fallibility in their own lives. An example of this is that Lana Winters has certain expectations when it comes to writing and revealing the secrets about Briarcliff. She learns that there is fallibility in her expectations which leads her to becoming a patient at the asylum. Viewers can relate to this in that they might have set expectations for something to happen a certain way. When this expectation is not met, the viewers recognize their own fallibility in the expectations they have set.  

Trends and fads, intertextuality, and intention play a role in showing how a program relates to the realities of our society. The main evidence of trends seen in American Horror Story: Asylum are through the clothing the characters wear and characters homes. The viewers see images of the characters’ houses, which are decorated to match the trends of the 1960s. These images are also seen through the characters clothing in which they match the fashion trends of the 1960s. These trends can be relatable to the viewer today in that society has gone through these types of trends for years. The clothing that the characters wear might follow a certain fashion trend that we see today. The trends detected in the program make the show appear realistic to the audience.  

There are few intertextual reference to other media and/or real events and people. The show is set (for the most part) in the 1960s, but there are little references made. Some of the intertextual references are references to WWII in the episodes “I am Anne Frank” and an older film being played during the episode “Nor’easter.” 

The attributed intention of American Horror Story: Asylum is to scare the audience through horror elements while making the show seem realistic. Many horror TV shows or movies are not very realistic in nature such as vampires and werewolf’s. Much of this show is based on human beings and the horrors they have to deal with in the asylum. The audience is more likely to get scared or frightened by something that happens to humans because it feels more real. This attributed intention is more to persuade the audience than informing them. The writers goal is to get the audience to be scared and make them think in each episode. This takes some persuasion to get the audience to feel and think how the creators of the show want them to. 

It is evident that a television program relates to the realities of our society through the expected reactions of the audience. In regards to American Horror Story: Asylum, the expected reaction from the audience is to be surprised each week with what happens to the characters in each episode. Another possible expected reaction from the audience is to leave them somewhat confused in what is going on with the program. While I watched this show, I was often left confused, but wanting to know more. These reactions get the audience to keep coming back week-after-week! These factors do not just show how is relatable to the realities of our society, but how an audience can get immersed in the program. 

Works Cited

"The Counterculture of the 1960s." The Counterculture of the 1960s. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2015.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Every show on television is designed to appeal to a certain group of viewers. Shows such as Jessie and Girl Meets World are meant to appeal to children viewers whereas dramas like Scandal and American Horror Story: Asylum appeal to an adult demographic.
The target audience of FX Networks on which American Horror Story: Asylum aires, is the adult age group of 18-49. FX is one of the Top 5 among audiences 18-49 in prime time as compared to other cable networks. The desired median age for the network is 37 which is younger than most other adult cable networks ("Ad Age Custom Programs").
American Horror Story: Asylum aired on Wednesdays at 10:00 pm on the FX network. This time can tell about the intended audience of the show. Since most of the content in Asylum is mature, they air the show later at night so children will not be awake to watch the show. The intended audience is to be young adults and older that would be watching the show.
As said earlier, the demographic group that appeals to American Horror Story: Asylum is in the young adult to adult age. Ratings from the program show that Asylum is watched in the demographic group from 18 to 34 or 18 to 49 age groups. This is fitting in that American Horror Story is aimed to “hail” this age group due to the context of the program.
American Horror Story: Asylum “hails” viewers of adult age who enjoy horror themes in a television show. American Horror Story: Asylum is not a show for everyone. For example, my roommates are not “hailed” to this program because they are easily frightened and do not  like the theme of this program. Due to the nature of the show, I do not feel that there is an expected social position of the audience in order from them to be a subject of the program. Asylum shows a variety of social positions through the characters. If the audience member is able to relate to that social position of that character, it “hails” them as a viewer and therefore they become a subject of the program.
The characters in American Horror Story: Asylum portray a range of different ages, relationships, and classes. The predominant age group of the characters in the show are young adults. Characters such as Sister Mary, Lana Winters, Grace, Shelley, and Kit Walker fall into this age group. Though we do not know their age specifically (since it is not mentioned throughout the season), their appearance and mannerisms. It is somewhat difficult to tell whether Sister Jude and Dr. Arden fall in the middle-aged senior age group. The audience learns about their pasts during the season and know that they were younger during the 1940s. This, however, still does not tell the audience what is their exact age. Many of the characters in the show are single or were members of a family but were taken away from that family to be put into the asylum. Kit and Lana were taken away from others to be put into the asylum. The audience learns that Grace was part of a family, but she was put into the asylum because she apparently murdered them. The program shows that most of the character’s lives outside of Briarcliff are of the middle-class lifestyle. Both Kit and Lana lived in comfortable homes and had decent jobs. Dr. Arden and Dr. Thredson could be considered upper-class in how their homes are fancier and they have more expensive tastes.
American Horror Story also shows different types of domestic relationships in each of its seasons.In Asylum, the domestic relationships of the characters are nontraditional for the time period the show is set. The two main relationships shown throughout the season is Kit Walker and his relationship with his wife Alma and Lana Winters and her relationship with her girlfriend Wendy. Kit and Alma’s
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relationship is nontraditional in that they are an interracial couple. This was not accepted or allowed during the 1960s so often others would “pick” on them. Their relationship becomes even more complex later in the season when Kit proposes to Grace. Once Kit and Grace are out of the asylum, they go back to Kit’s home to meet Alma. There they live the polygamy lifestyle together (which is not accepted by others as well). The other nontraditional relationship in the season is Lana Winters with her girlfriend Wendy. Once again, this type of relationship was not accepted and looked down upon during the 1960s. They keep their relationship a secret from everyone so they can avoid being mistreated from others. We only see a glimpse of their relationship since Wendy betrays Lana when Sister Jude convinces Wendy to sign the paperwork for Lana to be admitted into the asylum. The audience is able to see that this betrayal hurts Lana but she still worries about Wendy and her well-being.

Product placement sticks out to me whenever I am watching a television program. Often the product is placed in a way that does not seem natural or disrupts the flow of the program. Fortunately, American Horror Story: Asylum does not have product placement throughout the season. If the program did have product placement, it would take away some of the creepiness and the authenticity of the show.
Since I am watching this season of American Horror Story on Netflix, there are no commercials shown. When I watched this season when it aired, I remember most of the commercials being aimed at the target audience or adults ranging from 18 to 49 years old. Types of commercials shown were about other programs on the network, beauty products, or a fast-food chain. These commercials did not specify to certain interests or hobbies due or type of lifestyle due to the large age demographic. An 18 year old might relate to a certain commercial differently than someone in their 30s. This can be beneficial to the network since they are able to have a variety of commercials that aim at different ages.

The creators of television programs and the networks on which they air work together to design a way for the shows to appeal to a certain demographic. For American Horror Story: Asylum, the demographic of the program is that of the adult ages 18 to 49. This demographic is “hailed” as viewers to watch the show due to the subject of the program. The characters in Asylum provide a variety of age groups, social statues, and domestic relationships. The commercials that aired while American Horror Story: Asylum was on television were also aimed towards the demographic of the show. Each of these aspects are used to together to appeal to the adult age and get them to want to watch the program.  

Works Cited
"Ad Age Custom Programs." FX. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2015. 
"American Horror Story." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2015.

Friday, March 27, 2015


Every television show has a certain structure in how the narrative is presented to the audience. Many programs begin an episode with previously on to remind the audience of what happened in previous episodes and create curiosity of what will happen next. However, American Horror Story: Asylum does not have a collage of scenes from former episodes. The show goes right into the lead-in or opening scene of the show. In the episode this blog post focuses on (Episode 3: Noreaster), the opening is a continuation from a previous episode.

The lead-in to the episode helps set tone and scene for the rest of the episode. The show opens in present day with Bloody Face over injured Leo. Bloody Face then proceeds to stab him multiple times and the wife, Teresa begins to scream. Bloody Face then turns his attention to her and tries to get into the cell in which the door is closed. He eventually gets in and proceeds to hurt her as well. The husband somehow gets some strength to attack Bloody Face and he stabs him in the chest. They both get up to try and get out of the abandoned asylum. Teresa calls 911 when she sees Bloody Face and he shoots and kills both of them. Bloody Face takes off his mask to reveal a teenager under the mask. The other Bloody Face reveals himself and he too is a teenager. This teenager thinks nothing of them being shot while the other guy says that this has gone too far. At end of this scene, the true Bloody Face appears and walks towards the teenagers. This lead-in entices and confuses the viewer. It makes the viewer want to figure out what just happened at the beginning and how this scene in the present relates to past. The lead-in is exciting and dramatic, making the viewer to want to stay and watch the rest of the episode.  

The end of this scene brings the audience to the opening credits. The music in the opening credits create an eerie vibe. The opening credits show small snapshots of different parts of Briarcliff asylum. Some of these images are the patients while others are objects in the asylum. The actors who play the characters are introduced in the opening credits. When they show the actors name, it makes a scratch type noise and has the actors name in an orange tint and a black screen behind it. They title of American Horror Story: Asylum is shown at the end of the opening credits with the sound of a closing gate. The titles are unique to the American Horror Story series. They are made to appear creepy. They are placed so the viewer knows what show they are watching and the actors involved. To watch the opening credits of American Horror Story: Asylum watch this video:


The lead-in and the opening credits evoke an eerie/creepy mood for the viewers. The lead-in provides the curiosity and fear of what will happen in this episode. The opening credits are creepy in-themselves and likely provide the horror mood that viewers are looking for from this show. These moods helps in getting the audience to want to continue to watch what will happen next.

This mood is also seen in the various scenes throughout the episode and how they build on one another. The scenes within this episode build on one another by introducing what the problem or issues are for various characters at the beginning of the show. In this episode, it takes some time to show each characters involvement in the plot, but it helps the viewer to be able to understand what will happen later in the episode. After the show introduces these problems, the viewer sees throughout the episode how each scene involving that character deals with the issue at hand. For example, at the beginning of the episode we see how Sister Judes past is getting to be a serious problem. We see how flustered and angered she gets over receiving the newspaper in the mail. This scene is the starting point to how other scenes will build on her storyline. The viewer sees this when Sister Mary gives her the red lipstick and when she receives the mysterious phone call. The individual scenes come together to show the various storylines of each character interact with each other. An example of this is how Shelley takes one for the team and distracts the worker so Kit, Grace, and Lana can get out of Briarcliff. This ends up causing trouble for her in that she gets caught by Dr. Arden in the hallway and loses her ability to walk. In this episode, there are also no distinct connectives between the scenes, but rather individual scenes that may not relate to the previous scene (at the moment). An example of this is the scene with Dr. Arden examining Kit Walker in his lab and the following scene shows Sister Mary going into a patients cell who is praying the rosary.  

Another aspect of the structure of a narrative is whether the episode has a beginning, middle, and an end. The beginning of Asylum shows the teenagers who are pretending to be Bloody Face. After the opening credits, it shows the beginning of what happens in the asylum. The opening shows Sister Jude receiving the mail and how the newspaper in the mail is from when she had hit the young girl when she was drunk driving. She will have these constant reminders of this incident throughout the episode. The beginning also shows how Grace and Kit are planning to try and escape the asylum once again due to the Noreaster that will be hitting Briarcliff. There is not a clear and distant middle of the show since so much is going on within the episode. Time wise, the middle of the episode is when Sister Jude receives a call on the phone in her office. She answers it and she hears the voice of the girl that she ran over. This causes Sister Jude to panic and break down. The end of the episode shows how Grace, Kit, and Lana were unsuccessful in getting out of the asylum due to the creatures in the woods. The last scene in this episode shows Shelley waking up on Dr. Ardens examination table. Dr. Arden explains how everyone thinks she has escaped the asylum and due to that he has amputated her legs from the knees down so she can no longer walk. 
Placement of commercials can be a major part in the organization of the program and how it is presented. Since I am watching this season of American Horror Story: Asylum on Netflix's, there are no commercial breaks. However, the scenes right before the commercials start typically end with music and they black out the screen. They cut off the scene pretty fast before the commercials. They do this to keep the viewers enticed to want to continue watching and see what happens next. The scene right after the commercials either continues from the scene before the commercials or is a completely new scene. They normally have some sort of sounds to go with the opening of the scenes. The sound will depend on how dramatic the scene is supposed to be. If they want the viewers to feel calm, they will open the scene slowly and with lighter music/sounds. If they want the viewers to be on their toes, they will open the scene fast and have faster and higher pitched sounds/music. The music and sounds used in Asylum help give the scenes continuity. They use familiar sounds throughout the episode that evoke some sort of mood/feelings for the viewer. These sounds help keep the scene consistent even though what is happening in the scenes might be very different.  

The structure of the ending of the narrative for American Horror Story: Asylum often leaves the audience wanting more and little closure. When this episode comes to an end, there is not closure and the plot is left open until the next episode. The episode shows some closure for Grace, Kit, and Lana in that they were unsuccessful in getting out of the asylum. Besides them, the rest of the plot is left open and questions are left unanswered until next time. Once the episode ends, the preview for the next episode in the show is shown after some commercials. They do this so the viewers will have to watch the commercials in order to see what will happen next. After the preview, the program rolls the closing credits. The closing credits just show those involved in the production of the show such as co-stars, producers, directors, editors, and more. It is just the text on the screen and music playing in the background. The music is a little more upbeat than the opening credit music. Most often these credits are not readable since the network starts the next program and puts the credits in the corner of the screen.

Each of these elements play a part in the structure of the narrative. Reminders of previous episodes and lead-ins can help grab the attention of the viewers. The lead-in and opening credits of American Horror Story: Asylum evoke the creepy mood that the program wants the audience to feel. The scenes within this episode build on one another and creates tension and intensity for the audience. This helps to keep the mood of the show when the audience has to go through commercial breaks. This episode ends with little closure, making the audience curious to what the previews will show for the next episode. 

Works Cited

FairlyHorror. "American Horror Story : Asylum - Opening." YouTube. YouTube, 12 Oct. 2012. Web. 26 Mar. 2015.