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Creator / Ryan Murphy

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"I feel every day that everything I create – everything I do – I want it to be a risk."

Ryan Patrick Murphy (born November 30, 1965 in Indianapolis, Indiana) is an American writer, director, and producer, known for his work as a Show Runner for a number of television series.

Works associated with him include:

  • Popular (1999–2001): A high school dramedy series.
  • Nip/Tuck (2003–10): A soap opera about plastic surgeons.
  • Glee (2009–15): A "post-modern musical" dramedy about a high school glee club.
  • The Glee Project (2011–12): A reality competition wherein hopefuls vie for a spot on Glee.
  • American Horror Story (2011–present): Exactly What It Says on the Tin, the series features a different plotline and setting with several of the same cast members each season, oftentimes playing different characters but occasionally revisiting some from previous seasons.
  • The New Normal (2012–13): A dom-com about a gay couple trying to have a baby.
  • Eat, Pray, Love (2010): A film adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir about her journey from unhappiness to love and fulfillment.
  • The Normal Heart (2014): A TV-movie adaptation of Larry Kramer's play about the emergence of the AIDS epidemic in early-'80s New York.
  • Scream Queens (2015–16): A horror-comedy series spoofing the slasher genre. Its first season was about a series of murders on a college campus. The second season took place in a hospital, with some of the original main cast members reprising their roles.
  • American Crime Story (2016–present): A true crime counterpart to American Horror Story.
  • Feud (2017–present): An anthology series about infamous rivalries in history.
  • 9-1-1 (2018–present): A police and rescue procedural centering around first responders in Los Angeles.
  • Pose (2018–21): A period drama about the ballroom dancing community of the 1980s and '90s.
  • The Politician (2019–present): A dramedy about an ambitious high schooler with political aspirations.
  • 9-1-1: Lone Star (2020–present): A spinoff series about a New York firefighter who, along with his son, relocates to Austin, Texas.
  • Hollywood (2020): A miniseries about the effort to challenge homophobia and racial prejudice in 1940s Hollywood.
  • The Prom (2020): A film adaptation of the musical comedy about a lesbian's fight to attend her high school prom.
  • Ratched (2020–present): An origin story of Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
  • American Horror Stories (2021–present): A spinoff Anthology series featuring individualized, self-contained episodes.
  • Mr. Harrigan's Phone (2022): An adaptation of the Stephen King story of the same name.
  • Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (2022): A biographical True Crime miniseries about the titular serial killer.

Some tropes associated with Ryan Murphy include:

  • Attention Deficit Creator Disorder: His volume of work is staggering and he can usually be counted on to run two shows at once with film work in between.
  • Author Appeal: It has been repeatedly pointed out that a large chunk of Ryan's Production Posse consists of Tall, Dark, and Handsome white men, most of them with piercing blue eyes and strong jawlines.
  • Camp: Most of Murphy's works throw ham, fashion, celebrity, music and sex into a blender (with occasional spouts of horror and violence thrown into spice things up) and chug down what results.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Watch his comments toward some of the contestants on The Glee Project. It's little wonder where the characters in his series get it from.
  • Large Ham: Everyone in a Murphy series pitches to the rafters with actors seemingly trying to outdo one another in chewing scenery.
  • Lighter and Softer: Glee and The New Normal, especially in comparison with his darkest works such as Nip/Tuck or American Horror Story.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: In recent years, Murphy became the central focus of criticism related to his use of real-life cases and historical figures in his works, seen at best as clumsy or poorly researched, at worst as completely indecent. Started by some later seasons of American Horror Story (the depictions of Anton La Vey in American Horror Story: Apocalypse or of Richard Ramirez in American Horror Story: 1984) and some seasons of American Crime Story (the creative liberties of The Assassination of Gianni Versace), the controversy fully exploded with the release of his highly divisive true-crime show, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.
  • Production Posse: Many of the actors from one series will appear in the next, whether as an Expy of their former character or not. Expect Shout-Out s and Actor Allusions to abound.
  • Promoted Fanboy: In this case the one who grants ascension, as several actors have been hired or promoted because Murphy enjoyed their audition or one-off performance.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Scream Queens and AHS zigzag back and forth between them constantly, with the former tilted more towards comedy and the latter tilted more towards the scary stuff.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Most of his shows tend to be inclined towards to the cynical side, but other shows like Glee and The New Normal are more inclined towards the idealistic side.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The fourth series of American Crime Story was originally going to be about Bill Clinton's sex scandal and subsequent impeachment. Ryan met with Monica Lewinsky to get her blessing, but during the meeting decided that it was her story to tell, not Clinton's. Then she later agreed to produce it, and it began development as the show's third season.
    • He was going to make a cameo appearance As Himself in Watchmen (2019), where in the Alternate History where real life masked heroes exist he created a show about them rather than American Crime Story, called American Hero Story. It's still considered canon that he's the show's creator, and is a Reclusive Artist who the public knows almost nothing about.