Sarah Paulson's Weirdest American Horror Story Role, According To The Actress

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Ryan Murphy has built up a pretty large stable of entertainers that he teams up with across his variety of different anthology shows, with Sarah Paulson being a particular favorite of both his and audiences. She has been there for all six seasons of American Horror Story, as well as at least one year of American Crime Story, all the while taking on some truly bizarre roles. But when asked what the weirdest season was for her, Paulson provided an American Horror Story-like twist.

I think it's actually what I'm doing on Season 6. There's nothing extreme about her except for the situation that she's in. So that is weirdly the weirdest thing I've ever done on American Horror Story.

With the one hand, I want to smack my forehead and question Sarah Paulson's answer to EW, given just how far out there her characters have been over the years. But with the other hand, I give the actress' answer a big thumbs up, because it truly is a pretty vanilla role for not only her, but this franchise in general, which does indeed make it weird by default. Clever girl, this Paulson.

As Shelby Miller, Paulson has experienced her share of maddening situations already in American Horror Story: Roanoke, and it's just two episodes in. But here, she's mostly witnessing and reacting to the bonkers elements, such as the way Kathy Bates handles pig heads, without actually causing any herself. Perhaps it is a weird experience to be put into the damsel role alongside Cuba Gooding Jr. as her equally distressed husband Matt, rather than just being another part of the madness as it's gone in past seasons. (I guess Asylum's Lana was also similarly reactionary to supernatural elements, but in a far different way.)

Keeping everything a secret possibly played into how she approached the role as a performer, with the hush-hushness of it all contrasting wildly with the promotional campaigns of years past. And it was Paulson's own character in Murder House that laid the seeds out for Roanoke to rise up as an interconnecting theme, which also doesn't happen on your average TV drama.

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But still, let's not forget that Paulson has been at the center of some of the oddest and most unsettling moments American Horror Story has given viewers so far. Remember just last year when she was a ghost-addict who had a demon friend who boned people to death with a dildo? Or what about when she was a witch that gouged out her own eyes in Coven? Or, and I'm not mincing words here, when she was a two-headed woman who fucked Neil Patrick Harris' magician while his puppet watched with jealousy. That seemed like a sure-shot for the weirdest role(s) to me.

Thankfully, we've still got a lot more of Sarah Paulson's Shelby to watch, and American Horror Story: Roanoke airs every Wednesday night on FX at 10:00 p.m. ET. To see when everything else will start haunting your imaginations for the rest of the year, check out our fall TV schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.