American Horror Story Season 4 Episode 2 “Massacres and Matinees”: My Unsolicited Review

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American Horror Story is definitely trying to rev up the creepiness and frightening factor this season and, so far though I still have no idea where the story is going, I do think they’re succeeding.

This week’s episode managed to continue from last week’s without any major new developments. After Jimmy’s murder of the police officer, more cops showed up at the freak show, looking for evidence.

Twisty the clown is continuing his almost random string of murders. Although, I suppose it may not be that random, considering his latest victim was a toy store owner, and he subsequently brought one of the toys for his hostage “son.” One of the biggest developments with his story is that he seems to have gotten a new and overly enthusiastic companion in the form of Dandy Mott, who was earlier turned away by Jimmy when Dandy expressed his interest in being a part of the freak show. Dandy, up til this point, has been showcased as nothing more than a bored, spoiled immature man-child. But, now, we are beginning to see a far more sinister side to him. It began when the Motts’ housekeeper/cook, Nora (Patti Labelle), pointed out to Mrs Motts that the fur and teeth from the animals that Dandy had been torturing and dismembering may bring unwanted attention from neighbours, who may think that he has something to do with the recent murders. However, despite Mrs Motts crying that Dandy is simply bored, his later alliance with Twisty the clown proves completely otherwise. When she is finally able to dislodge a sturdy piece of wood from their cage, Twisty’s captured “wife” almost guaranteed their freedom with a not-so-solid-but-good-enough blow to his head. She and the little boy both flee, but their escape is hindered when Dandy shows up and brings them right back to Twisty. I know that it’s illogical to hate a fictional character, but the harm that I would have done to this guy had he been real!

The freak show saw an addition of two new members: Desiree Dupree (Angela Bassett), a three-breasted hermaphrodite, and her husband, Dell Toledo (Michael Chiklis), a man of uncanny strength. Being a freak must be a hereditary attribute, because we soon learn that Dell is actually the errant father of Jimmy, chased away when he once tried to kill Jimmy as an infant for being a loud freak of nature. It’s like the Twilight Zone version of the X-Men. Despite being a newbie, and an employee of Elsa, Dell soon asserts himself as the head of the freak show carnival, implementing rules and policies independently of Elsa. He’s also got a wicked temper, as evidenced when he beat Jimmy to a pulp for trying to get the other freaks out in public. A plan later devised by Jimmy and Elsa to plant the badge of the police officer whom Jimmy murdered in Dell’s caravan so that the police may find it and take the brute away fails miserably when Dell witnesses Jimmy going into his trailer, and puts the badge in Meep’s room instead. I mean, come on! For someone who’s supposedly spent his entire life hiding his freakish lobster hands so that others won’t see it, Jimmy is really an idiot if he doesn’t know that the cardinal rule of sneaking into anywhere is to that you first look around to ensure that no one sees you. UGH!

Meep’s detainment in prison leads to the rest of the inmates ganging up on and consequently killing him. His lifeless body is then returned to the camp and dumped at Jimmy’s feet. From this moment, we can tell that an indelible line has been drawn and an impending war is inevitable.

Show me the GIFs, dammit!

Anti Marriage Equality Arguments Are Getting Increasingly Moronic

Greg Abott

Texas’s marriage laws are rationally related to the State’s interest in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births. By channeling procreative heterosexual intercourse into marriage, Texas’s marriage laws reduce unplanned out-of-wedlock births and the costs that those births impose on society,” the brief read. “Recognizing same-sex marriage does not advance this interest because same-sex unions do not result in pregnancy. At the very least, one could rationally believe that opposite-sex marriages will do more to advance the State’s interest in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births than same-sex marriages will.

This is a direct quote from TX Attorney General, Greg Abbott. I mean, I understand that homophobes are, by their very nature, stupid… but it has to physically hurt to be that level of idiotic. And I’m not even being mean because he  believes differently than I do… I’m just pointing out how insanely moronic this “argument” is.

Let’s get this gay straight. This man, who is supposedly university educated (in law, no less) is arguing that same-sex marriages will increase the number of children born out of wedlock (supposedly to heterosexual parents). Unless same-sex couples have suddenly been gifted with the magical ability to impregnate single women during their marriage ceremony, I don’t see how that’s even remotely possibly. After all, the union of gay couples have nothing whatsoever to do with the sexual proclivities of straight couples so I don’t see how legalising same-sex marriages will suddenly make non-married straight couples go out and have kids.

Even if he were arguing that these out-of-marriage births would be the result of gay couples going out and having kids, wouldn’t it therefore make more sense to ensure that these parents were allowed the freedom to marry, in order to ensure that these kids were in such a household? But oh no, because he goes on to state:

Same-sex marriage may very well produce other societal benefits – such as increasing household wealth or providing a stable environment for children raised by same-sex couples – but that does not establish that Texas’s marriage laws lack a rational relation to the State’s interests in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births and encouraging the creation of new offspring.

The contradiction in this simple statement is baffling! This man actually acknowledges the benefits that children would receive from same-sex couples, but argues that restricting marriage equality would reduce unplanned pregnancies and still create new offspring.

Again, let’s dissect this. Does he not realise that gay couples are fundamentally (and biologically) unable to produce unplanned pregnancies? Seriously, this is a university-educated man. Now, in the instances that heterosexual unmarried couples produce unplanned (possibly unwanted) children, same-sex couples may be the very solution to providing these kids with loving homes. Although he, himself, states that same-sex couples would, indeed, provide stable environments for these children, he is arguing that these same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry because these children need married couples to raise them (?????) The actual hell?!

At this point, I’m actually embarrassed for him. See, this is what happens when you try to apply logic to a completely irrational argument. More and more anti-gay individuals are realising that their “my religion says so” argument is not a good enough defence. With this realisation, they’re forced to come up with logical points to support their arguments. The problem is… there are no logical points. Short of screaming that “the Bible says so”, there’s no other argument against marriage equality that can be taken even remotely seriously. As a result, we’re forced to deal with garbage like what Abbott is trying to get us to subscribe to.

On a related note, awesome job to the US Supreme Court for granting marriage freedom in so many states. As we speak, Alaska is seeking a stay from the Supreme Court, but considering the fact that the Supreme Court so far has flat out refused this exact same request multiple times before, the likelihood of them granting it now is close to zero, and Alaskan politicians know this. Which means that they’re only being vindictive, and preventing same-sex couples the ability to wed for as long as they can legally achieve it. It’s both revolting and pitiful.

Still, though, the tide is turning, and equality throughout the entire country is just around the corner!

Our Words Carry More Weight Than We Realize

Terry Crews Men's Fitness Cover

This post combines two of our favourite things here at Elitosphere: beautiful men and positivity, and I absolutely love it. Terry Crews graces Men’s Fitness November issue for obvious reasons… the man is built like Zeus on steroids. Even so, he has consistently shown throughout his career that he is an amazingly lovable goofball who hardly ever takes himself too seriously, and I’ve always loved that about him. For his Men’s Fitness piece, Terry Crews is interviewed by his Brooklyn Nine Nine co-star, Andy Samberg. I don’t know if it’s because the interview was done by a great comedian like Samberg, if it’s because it was done by someone who actually knows Terry Crews personally, or if it’s because it was done by someone who had no need to write with journalistic flair, but this piece is one of the best (if not the best) that I’ve read from this publication.

This post, however, isn’t so much about the entire interview. I’d like to focus more on one specific aspect of it. The very first question which was put to Terry was what did he consider to be the characteristics of a good man, and his response was:

“Well, there was a guy named Lee Williams who was my assistant football coach in the seventh grade, and he basically told me I could do anything. No one had ever told me that. Ever. Even the head coach was, like, “Terry Crews, you ain’t gonna do nothing.” That was his way of motivating us: negative energy. Ninety percent of the guys went on to do nothing. He really didn’t realize that people were listening.

Well, Coach Lee was like, “Terry, you can do it. There’s no way you should not be playing in college on a Division I scholarship. Period.” That was such a shock to me. I took that one conversation all the way up to the NFL.”

Honestly, how amazing is that? Our culture now seems to be rapidly evolving into one where people go out of their way to say the meanest things possible to others, usually hidden behind internet anonymity. Very many people think that it’s just “trolls” doing it because they’re bored, and maybe sometimes it is. I, however, think that more often than naught, it’s a bit deeper than that. I think it has to do with the fact that some people are just looking for attention… in the most pitiful sense. Witty, sarcastic, clever and funny comments often get lots of upvotes and favourable comments under. I think that very many people crave this sort of validation, as silly as it may seem to some of us. Unfortunately, they aren’t able to do witty or clever, so they think that being mean or snarky is the same thing, so they criticize and insult in the hopes that others will agree and flock to their comments with praise.

Whether this is the case, or whether they’re trolling, or sincerely being mean, it’s a whole lot of negativity and hatred that just isn’t necessary. We spend less than half a minute typing up the most disgusting comment that we can think of, and move on to the rest of our day. But have we ever stopped to consider how long this one comment may affect the person that it is directed to if they were to read it?

And if it does hurt this person so deeply, would the comment have been worth it? Would it make us feel better about ourselves knowing that our words were able to put someone down so horribly? This shouldn’t even be limited to the internet. Even in person, we sometimes treat others so badly for the mere reason that we can.

Words, however, are powerful, and they have powerful consequences and effects. Shouldn’t we try to use them to uplift and motivate others as much as possible? It doesn’t pay to be negative… it never has, and it never will. It takes so little effort on our part to be kind to others, but as Terry Crews shows, it just may be a huge deal to them.

Terry Crews Men's Fitness 1

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Kingdom Season 1 Episode 1 “Set Yourself On Fire”: My Unsolicited Review

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Warning: Last GIF quite NSFW

After weeks of endless promotion and alleged “gay-baiting”, Nick Jonas was at least successful in inciting enough curiosity in me to give the pilot of his new show, Kingdom, a look. Now, short of knowing that Nick Jonas starred in this show and that it was mostly about MMA, I really had no idea what Kingdom was about – and, really, the mere fact that MMA was the feature story was already strike one, two and three against it. So, admittedly, I went into the show without much of an open mind. This opinion was cemented even further when, before the opening credits even came up, Alvey (Frank Grillo) single-handedly put two gun-wielding thugs down over a fight that started over a car moving off (??). I kid you not, this was just so cliché and predictable that I rolled my eyes and went, “Naturally.” However, about 10 minutes after the opening credits, I came to a realisation that actually surprised me – I was invested in the story. And the reason was, I had no choice but to admit another 10 minutes in, that the show was actually good… really good. So much so that right now I’m incredibly disappointed that it isn’t being played by a bigger network like HBO or Showtime, for the mere fact that I’m worried it won’t get the ratings that it deserves, though, to be fair, some 20 million people are subscribed to DirecTV.

Kingdom

Kingdom, originally named Navy St, is mostly about the Kulina family, headed by former MMA champion patriarch, Alvey Kulina. Though Alvey is no longer in his prime, so to speak, he spends the majority of his time at his gym, Navy St, where he trains up-and-coming and would-be mixed martial artists. This is one of the aspects that I enjoy about the show – too often we find characters of this type wallowing in the knowledge that their glory days are over, while Alvey is actually expending his energy into creating a new him: primarily with his younger son, Nate (Nick Jonas). Due to the fact that the Kulinas are currently experiencing a bit of financial trouble, Nate seems to be the key to their salvation, as his skill and discipline show all the makings of a future MMA champion. Even more seems to be expected of him since his older brother, Jay (Jonathan Tucker) used to be just as talented (if not more so) but threw it all away for a life of drugs, partying and no responsibility except that of taking care of Nate which, to his credit, he clearly takes as seriously as he seems capable of taking anything. He also harbours a whole lot of resentment for his father, accusing him of now adopting a superior, zen-like state of mind when he was just as much of a drug-taking douchebag as he accuses Jay of being, even pushing Jay and Nate’s mother to become the junkie that she currently is. We later see the mother who is not only a junkie, but a street prostitute. Needless to say, the Kulinas have quite a bit on their plate. However, for our viewing pleasure, a little bit more drama needed to be included. Enter Ryan Wheeler. Ryan Wheeler (Matt Lauria) is introduced to us just as he is released from a 4-year prison sentence. Though soft-spoken, almost to the point of introverted, people aren’t sent to jail for being meek… so we already know that there is a darker story at play here. Still, one of the first places that Ryan goes is the gym, where it becomes immediately clear that his is very well acquainted with Alvey, and we learn that he used to be one of Alvey’s very own fighters before he betrayed Alvey and went to fight for someone else. However, Alvey shows amazing strength of character when he forgives and then treats Ryan as if nothing at all had ever happened between them, even accepting Ryan’s offer to help around the gym. Alvey’s wife, Lisa (Kiele Sanchez), however, is not as forgiving and she treats Ryan with nothing but scorn. We later learn that she and Ryan used to be engaged… but ended it while he was in prison. Between Lisa and Alvey’s tension, and Alvey and Jay’s feud, Kingdom is rife with familial discord. However, everyone mostly puts this behind them (temporary, at least) to focus on Nate’s upcoming fight… an important match between him and an already established MMA champion. Most of the episode really leads up to this match and, in a very suspenseful and well-choreographed scene, Nate wins the match, effectively prompting investors to take an interest in the Kulinas and their flailing gym. This show, so far, is so well written and amazingly acted that I already cannot wait for what comes next. Everyone on the show does a remarkable job, including Nick Jonas who perhaps has the fewest acting credits to his name, but does an impressive a job as every other member of the cast. Even the opening scene with the predictable fight had eventual bearings on the show, as the men on whom Alvey so effortlessly laid a beat down, retaliated by ganging up on Nate and ending the show on a cliffhanger with them evidently beating him to the ground. I say “evidently” because it is assumed that it was done to Nate, though his face remained hidden beneath a hoodie the entire time. If Kingdom continues in the same fashion that it is now, I have no doubt that I’m going to thoroughly enjoy every minute of this newfound treasure of a show.

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American Horror Story: Freak Show Episode 1 “Monster’s Among Us”: My Unsolicited Review

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It took so long before I was actually able to get around posting this that I wondered if I should even bother. In the end, I decided for it, but I’m definitely going to make a better effort to post these earlier from next week.

It feels like we’ve been waiting ages for the return of American Horror Story, but our wait is finally and thankfully over. The Ryan Murphy-produced hit FX show returned for its fourth season, entitled Freak Show, and the show was indeed rife with freakiness.

Freak Show revolves mainly around a 1950’s carnival which specialises in “freaks”, human oddities and abnormalities from around the world. Lacklustre interest in the show, coupled with mounting appreciation for television has made ticket sales for the freak attraction dwindle to near-nothingness, though its ringleader, Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) has far from given up hope for its next big break and ultimate revival. Her wish seems to have been granted by her discovery of conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tattler (Sarah Paulson), who join the show after being wanted by law enforcement for the murder of their mother, who’d kept them hidden all their life for fear of them being ridiculed, hurt or killed. Though the twins share the same body, their minds and personalities could not be more different. While Bette is beyond thrilled at the opportunity to finally be free from her life of obscurity, Dot only reluctantly joins Elsa’s circus because she understands that she is left with no alternative.

The pilot episode was mostly an introduction of the characters and future plot, but already we can see that this season promises to bring the terror and suspense in a way that we haven’t seen since season one’s, Murder House. The complete mystery surrounding some half-faceless murderous clown invokes a creepiness that the past few seasons of AHS has failed to delay. I mean, clowns already are super creepy, but this one ups the ante by several mortifying degrees. Initially, I thought that he was one of the members of the freak show, but it soon became clear that he wasn’t, and so his story is still very much unclear. What we do know is that he’s murdered several people mercilessly, except for a young woman and a small boy. Now, I’m no psychologist or anything, but allow me to interject some two-cent psychology theory here: we’ve got a hideous, mutilated person who clearly has no qualms about killing someone in cold blood, yet decides to spare the lives of a beautiful young woman and child, holding them hostage. I’m already putting it out there that this murderous clown is just misunderstood and looking for love, although he knows that no one will love him with his appearance, so he resorts to kidnapping his ideal wife and son in an attempt to recreate a farce of the family that he’d either always wanted or once had and then lost. If that’s the case, I just might barf all over Ryan Murphy’s legacy, but I admit that I am incredibly intrigued to learn of the circumstances which led to the way he now looks.

Another factor which makes me happy is the fact that most of our beloved characters have returned for this season (woot for Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters and Frances Conroy). Next episode’s promo also promises Dennis O’Hare and Emma Roberts (in the most atrocious and WTF-inducing brown wig since Anna Camp’s Sarah Newlin character from last season’s True Blood). I’m really hoping that we at least get a few recurring cameos from Lily Rabe and Taissa Farmiga, but so far there’s been no indication of this.

My one preoccupation for this season of AHS is the fact that, although the central storyline seems promising in terms of horror, there seem to be very many divergent plots which, at best may prove to be incongruent, and at worse may be a huge mess, which is exactly what happened in last season’s, Coven. There were very many plot lines which started out incredibly exciting, only to see them go nowhere, really. It was almost as if there was one particular story line set written for Coven, and then halfway through, the writers decided to change course, and many things just fell by the wayside. For instance, we were initially shown Zoe to be this up and coming new witch, and her epic defeat of the voodoo-animated zombies on Halloween prompted a “whoever she is, she’s powerful” kind of vibe from Marie Laveau, only to have this storyline all but snuffed. There was also great promise in Patti Lupone’s character, after we learned that she’d murdered her husband, only to pretty much have her disappear inconsequentially. In Freak Show, there seem to be very many plot lines that may soon compete for centre stage: the central story of the freak show finally gaining an audience, Elsa’s rivalry with the twins (which we saw from next week’s preview), Jimmy’s (Evan Peters) desire to leave the carnival, the murder of a police officer and the ensuing legal battle, the rebellion of the freaks against all those who persecute them, the clown, Frances Conroy’s impending clash with the freak show, Emma Roberts and Dennis O’Hare’s involvement with and lies to the freaks, and the realisation that Elsa is also a “freak” (which she really isn’t, as it only appears that she lost her legs, probably from the war). Mind you – these are only those that I’ve noticed from the first episode, so…

Here’s hoping, though, that this season lives up to the very high expectations that the fans are (perhaps unfairly) plying onto it.

Show me the GIF’s, dammit!

Daniel Radcliffe’s Wisdom Is Overshadowed Only By His Sexiness In Essential Homme Magazine

Daniel Radcliffe Essential Homme Cover

Happy Post #4

I’ve always thought that Daniel Radcliffe was better looking in photographs than in moving images. Don’t get me wrong – given half the chance, I totally would any day of the week. But, still-life photographs always tend to accentuate the angles of his face a lot more favourably than can be seen on screen. As such, photographs of Mr Radcliffe have always elicited a very unnatural growl from me, but very few as much as these pictures from his Essential Homme spread. I know I’m a bit late with this one, but hot damn toast and jam! I just could not not bring attention to these.

Daniel Radcliffe’s smouldering sexiness aside (but not too far aside) the article itself is really good read. It isn’t very long, but it continues to showcase just how wise this guy’s thinking is. This is what he had to say on breaking free from the Harry Potter character:

All of the projects I get involved in begin with a fascination with the story. I can’t work within the mindset of ‘Will this script get me further away from Harry Potter?’ or ‘Will this play make people see me differently?’ because I don’t have any control over any of that. All I can do is make the kind of films that I would want to see as an audience member.

So very well said! While I completely understand the frustration that some actors must feel when they’ve been typecast, especially as a result of a huge blockbuster franchise, I think some of them go out of their way to prove that they’re more than just this one role. Some have shown actual aggression in these instances. The thing is though, people will always identify entertainers with specific roles, if these roles are iconic or wildly popular. In Daniel Radcliffe’s instance, he brought the role of Harry Potter to life when he was kid, and the series ended with him as an adult… literally his entire adolescent life was spent playing the role of Harry Potter. It would next to impossible for people to completely detach him from this role, and it would be moronic of him to expect otherwise.

That said, I do think that he has been doing an amazing job choosing roles outside of the sphere of Hogwarts, and they have been incredibly varied and well-acted.

Ok, enough words. Check out some more pics from the spread, and get Essential Homme.

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More pics after the jump

Daniel Franzese Spoofs Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

Happy Post #3

Remember Daniel Franzese, whose Damien character from Mean Girls is as iconic today as it was during its release, and who came out as gay earlier this year? Well, he’s back on our radar with this hilarious parody of Sam Smith’s mega-hit, “Stay With Me”, entitled “Please Go Home”. And when I say “hilarious”, I mean it! I legit laughed my way throughout this video.

The video stars Daniel Franzese and Adrian Anchondo, with Anchondo playing the over-clingy one night stand who is blithely unaware that he has overstayed his welcome, while Franzese plays the homeowner who is more than over having his trick present in his apartment. It also features the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

I’d like to point out a comment that someone made on Facebook, criticising the video as further perpetuation of the stereotype that all gay men are only interested in hookups and not “real connections”. The reason I mention this is to highlight the response beneath it, which was:

“Does everything we do have to be ambassadorial? I mean, it’s a joke song. Lighten up!”

All the cheesecake to this responder! Wonderfully said! While I do think that it’s great for LGBT individuals to show as positive an image of the community as possible, we have to understand that everyone is different, and not every LGBT person is great… or even good. Just like not every straight person is good.

If someone makes a joke about one specific couple engaging in a one night stand, why does that suddenly and automatically have to reflect the entire LGBT population? Can’t this couple just have their one-time hook up without all of us looking promiscuous? It’s crazy when you realise that straight people do it all the time without it reflecting badly on every straight person in the world. Let’s just realise that not everything that an individual gay person does reflects on every other LGBT person… let’s stop looking for reasons to be mad, and just be happy!

This is where you enter my head… I apologize

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