Kudos to season two of “American Horror Story,” entitled Asylum, among the winners at the GLAAD Media Awards Saturday night. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) acknowledges “various branches of the media for their outstanding representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and the issues that affect their lives” with annual Media Awards, according to Wikipedia.
[Warning: This article contains SPOILERS about Asylum, which ran from October 2012 to December 2013.]
Strange that such a raunchy, gory show – which runs a “Mature Audiences Only” warning not only at show’s start, but also after each commercial break – would be so honored, but the award actually makes perfect sense. While the show’s first season featured a gay couple (Zachary Quinto as Chad and Teddy Sears as Patrick) as minor characters, Asylum starred heroine journalist Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson), a lesbian. In fact, she’s the only major character to survive the season.
Lana went through excruciating trials during the season’s thirteen episodes. Her partner Wendy (Clea DuVall) turns on her to save her teaching position. Although she later regrets it, Wendy is murdered before she can rectify the situation. Wendy’s actions result in Lana being falsely incarcerated in Briarcliff, an insane asylum, where she undergoes shock therapy under the direction of Sister Jude (Jessica Lange), and, to cure her of her sinful and unnatural nature (that is, being a lesbian), aversion therapy.
Lana’s situation goes from bad to worse when Dr. Oliver Thredson (Quinto in his season two role) breaks her out of Briarcliff. She finds out he is Bloody Face, the serial killer who killed Wendy. He kidnaps Lana and puts her through all sorts of horrors, including raping and impregnating her.
Lana is vindicated when she escapes, exacts a taped confession from Thredson, and finally kills him. She goes free, since authorities rule self-defense, and the tape exonerates Kit (Evan Peters), the suspected Bloody Face. Sister Jude has a change of heart and apologizes to Lana for her cruel treatment. Years later, Lana emerges, triumphant, though scarred, as the successful journalist she’d hoped to be when she first went to Briarcliff seeking an exclusive.
Show creator Ryan Murphy, openly gay, as are Paulson and Quinto, while pushing the envelope with graphic violence, nudity and sex on “American Horror Story,” also pushed for freedom and equality with this second season, not only for gay rights, but also civil rights. Set primarily in 1964, while Lana was Asylum’s heroine, Kit, discriminated against because he married a black woman (Britne Oldford), was clearly the season’s hero.
Asylum was chosen as one of ten Top Television Programs of 2012 by AFI, took home awards for costumes, production design and sound (according to Wikipedia and Deadline Hollywood), and garnered pending nominations for Saturn Awards for Lange and Paulson. Season three, entitled Coven, will begin in October. Paulson, Peters, and Lange are scheduled to return, as are Lily Rabe, Frances Conroy and Taissa Farmiga. Kathy Bates joins the cast for the upcoming season.
Drew Barrymore hosted the 24th Annual GLAAD Awards. Presenters included Madonna, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlize Theron, Betty White and Leonardo DiCaprio. Other awards went to former President Bill Clinton, the film “Perks of Being a Wallflower,” Ryan Murphy’s sitcom “The New Normal,” and the daytime soap “Days of Our Lives.”