Why Jessica Lange’s ‘Freakshow’ Character is Disappointing

Jessica Lange has consistently been the highlight of each season of American Horror Story. Her characters have always been intense, memorable, and very well-acted. But the latest season of American Horror Story—titled Freakshow—has been disappointing, even to fans of Jessica’s Lange’s other characters on the show. Why has her character been so disappointing? Read on to find out!

Same old, same old

Before the season premiered, frontrunner Ryan Murphy revealed that Lange’s character in season 4 would be “very different” from her characters in the previous seasons. This was very refreshing news to fans of the show, who have grown used to Jessica Lange playing the same type of character: an older woman who is to some extent jealous of those around her, who seeks to control everything and everyone, and who has no problem throwing other people under the bus to get what she wants.

Elsa, unfortunately, fits all of these characteristics. It would have been far more refreshing to see her genuinely care about the ‘freaks’ in her sideshow and protect them at all costs. Instead, she refers to them as her ‘little monsters’ and vehemently denies being one of them, despite her own physical deformity. Elsa is also jealous of Dot for her singing talents, and has no problem selling the twins to Dandy’s mother once she realizes that Bette and Dot could get in her way of becoming a star. It’s just the same old, same old character and, at this point, it’s very bland.

No WW2 connections—at least not yet

Jessica Lange speaks about 'American horror Story'
Jessica Lange speaks about ‘American horror Story’

There is still time for the show to introduce additional backstory that could connect Elsa to WWII—which would cause some of the hints for season 4 in the show’s third season, which implied that she would somehow be connected to Germany’s Nazi past, would make much more sense. So far, however, her past has only included a sordid and ultimately tragic history in Weimar, Berlin.

And if the show would like to continue making more connections to other seasons, a connection to WW2 could easily kill two birds with one stone: Elsa could have had some type of run-in with American Horror Story Asylum’s Dr. Arden in his younger days as a Nazi doctor and official. Whether or not Elsa’s encounter would be positive, negative or even substantial could be up for debate, as long as the connection was made.


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