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American Horror Stories - The Naughty List - Review

This latest episode of American Horror Stories was their best one yet. This episode is exactly what I was expecting — everything I wanted — out of American Horror Stories. The opening for “The Naughty List” was wonderful. 


It was the first episode that really felt like a spinoff and not just a poor replication of American Horror Story despite it still having the exact same theme. 

The story, the drama, the gore! Even the unabashed name-dropping made this episode better. It was a little dumb, a lot chaotic, and it had a cast of characters whose actors might’ve embodied them a little too well. 

So let’s meet our cast: Kevin McHale (Glee) as Barry, Nico Greetham (The Prom) as Zinn, Dyllon Burnside (Pose) as James, and Charles Melton (Riverdale) as Wyatt. Usually, when a cast is entirely men, especially in the horror genre, I tend to lean away from it, but something about this group just works

These four run a YouTube channel that consists of pranks, party videos, and more, very similar to popular YouTubers right now, especially group ones. The episode starts with the Bro House (ugh) filming a man committing suicide by jumping off of “suicide bridge.” 

They upload it at a huge house party that soon after empties. The only person who verbally thinks it’s a bad idea is Barry, however, he still records, presumably edits, and uploads it anyway. 

Their next idea is a video of the Bros being “homeysexual” — when men are overly affectionate towards their friends — to gain the attention and attraction of their female fan base in an attempt to win back the public. 

Then, finally, what leads to their ultimate demise is when the group heads to the mall during Christmastime. There, they interrupt a Mall Santa gig, sexually harass a female employee, and announce to a group of children that Santa Claus isn’t real. Very classy. 

The writers of this episode were clearly trying to sensationalize these men, the men of YouTube, the men of many scandals, but in turn, actually hit the nail right on the head. 

The episode is quite reminiscent of many YouTube scandals without directly saying so. Logan Paul’s suicide forest video. James Charles' many apologies, where he's been called out for supposedly fake crying, and so on and so forth. 

However, the men of the Bro House would come to a much different end than that of many real-life “scandalous” social media stars, mostly because a lot of these stars haven’t really had an end. They’re still around. They’re still producing content and consistently working their way towards a full-blown comeback. 

However, when it comes to The Bros, one by one, they are killed, thanks to a man we can only assume took up the mantle of Leigh Emerson from American Horror Story: Asylum. Emerson was a spree killer who killed 18 in one night in December, including a mall Santa. 

The best shot in this episode comes at the end after everyone is dead and Santa has presumably gone on the run. There’s a long shot of the giant Christmas tree at the Bro House, lit up in all red lights, topped with Zinn’s decapitated head. 

As the shot zooms out to show the rest of the tree, we notice that the ornaments have been swapped for body parts, all the way down to the very bottom of the tree. 

A lot of people didn’t enjoy this episode, saying it wasn’t good or funny, that they can’t believe Ryan Murphy signed off on this (uh, have you guys seen Glee?), and more. I personally thought it was such a fun episode. 

Maybe I’m biased because I love the actors, but during “The Naughty List” I got to play a game called “Charles Melton Crop-Top Watch” to determine how many different crop-tops his character wears in this episode, and I thoroughly enjoy any episode of television in which men are wearing crop-tops.

It was five, by the way. Wyatt went through five crop-tops in this episode. 

Overall, it’s clear that American Horror Stories is still trying to grasp whether they want to take themselves seriously or just have fun, and I’m also still not sure which it is. The first three episodes were very take-yourselves-seriously, but “The Naughty List” was absolutely not. 

I would love it if they embraced the chaos and stupidity they could come up with given a new cast of characters every episode and a different story every week. 

What did you guys think of this episode of American Horror Stories? Who was your favorite character? Were you in on the crop-top watch? Let me know in the comments below!

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