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The Parents Television Council - the fun-loving watchdog group that spends a lot of time raising money in order to push their own agenda based on antiquated notions instead of, you know, simply changing the channel - is at it again. This time, they’ve set their sights on FX and Fox, taking issue with both the sex and violence on FX’s American Horror Story: Hotel as well as the time-slotting of the comedy/horror anthology Scream Queens.
PTC president Tim Winter addressed the group’s email subscribers, calling for an advertiser boycott of American Horror Story: Hotel after the Season 5 premiere episode featured a bloody foursome that included Matt Bomer and pop music star Lady Gaga (who plays a character called The Countess, a glamorous, blood thirsty owner of the Hotel Cortez), as well as a graphic rape scene wherein Max Greenfield was sodomized with a monster strapped with a spiked sex toy.
Winter claimed that the show contained an “unbelievably explicit combination of sex and violence.” According to The Hollywood Reporter:
This is the most vile and shocking content I've ever seen on TV. Ever. Most Americans have no idea this is primetime fare on advertiser-supported basic cable. And everyone is paying for it as part of their program bundle.
While it can be argued that the graphic depictions of sex acts and violence contained within American Horror Story: Hotel are indeed extreme, the show airs after prime time and on a cable network that, while certainly having gained popularity over the past decade with hits such as The Shield, Nip/Tuck, and Sons of Anarchy, is still quite deeply buried within a large cable line-up and is pushing the envelope no further than it always has.
The Council’s objection to Scream Queens is laughable, considering the cartoonish level of horror-themed violence is nothing worse than can be seen on network television during the Halloween season when many channels show older, more frightening horror movies such as A Nightmare On Elm Street and Halloween, often times during the early to mid-afternoon hours on the weekends.
The email further urged Hotel sponsor Subway to “spend their ad dollars in a more responsible fashion,” and called out the Golden Arches.
The program features graphic decapitations and discussions of necrophilia in the family hour…all sponsored by McDonalds.
Our own Nick Venable posed the question on this very website as to whether or not American Horror Story has become too reliant on shock value. Perhaps it has, but to me, that is a problem with the storytelling, not necessarily the content. Still, the PTC must be lauded for their tireless effort in pursuit of the ideals they espouse. After all, it must be exhausting being constantly offended and trying to beat back creative expression.