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YMMV / American Horror Story: 1984

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • In "Slashdance", Mr. Jingles is stopped in his rampaging by an overweight and misfit teenage boy who admits to him (thinking Mr. Jingles is part of the group he arrived with) that he knows he was only invited because their moms made them but confesses that dressing up as Mr. Jingles makes him feel powerful. Mr. Jingles silently listens and lets him go— was this out of empathy and pity for another person outcast by society, or out of bewilderment?
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    • Montana's flirtation with Brooke takes on a new light after "True Killers". Is she genuinely attracted to Brooke or toying with her to get a confession about what happened to her brother?
  • Catharsis Factor: After watching Margret Booth get away with committing two massacres while framing innocent people for her atrocities, watching her suffer a Cruel and Unusual Death at the hands of her victims is absolutely satisfying. Doubly so that now as she's technically a ghost stuck on the camp, her victims will have lots of fun with her forever.
  • Complete Monster: Both members of the Big Bad Duumvirate are equally nasty:
    • Margaret Booth is a deranged camp counselor who gradually evolved into a Serial Killer. Upset over the various counselors who bullied her at Camp Redwood, Margaret tried to persuade Benjamin Richter into murdering them for her. When he refused, she killed them all herself and framed Benjamin for all the murders, which led to him being tortured inside of a mental institution for fourteen years. After Benjamin escapes and goes on a killing spree as Mr. Jingles, Margaret decides to murder the new employees at Camp Redwood so she can pin the blame on him again. When this fails, she frames Brooke Thompson instead, resulting in the latter spending five years in prison and seemingly being publicly executed. When Margaret becomes wealthy exploiting various massacre locations as tourist attractions, she decides to do the same for Camp Redwood by holding a musical festival there. After the members of Kajagoogoo are killed, and Margaret runs into Richard Ramirez and another serial killer inspired by Ramirez's murders, Margaret sanctions them to slaughter dozens of musicians and civilians at the festival just to thrive off the camp's subsequent infamy.
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    • Richard Ramirez, also known as the Night Stalker, is Satan's own bloodthirsty Psycho for Hire. A violent Satanist wreaking havoc around Los Angeles, Ramirez nearly decapitated a woman and disemboweled a rude aerobics student to earn the heart of his teacher, Montana Duke, promising to kill Brooke Thompson for her. Following Brooke to Camp Redwood, Ramirez makes the sympathetic Benjamin Richter sell his soul to Satan to recruit him as an unwilling partner-in-crime, going back to Los Angeles and killing dozens of random innocents with no signs of stopping while Benjamin had to watch everything. After Benjamin finally exposes Ramirez and gets him arrested, Ramirez tries to corrupt Brooke in prison before escaping to get his revenge. Finding Benjamin's family in Alaska, Ramirez murders his wife and challenges Benjamin to return to Camp Redwood once more for the safety of his baby son, Bobby; at Camp Redwood, Ramirez slaughters the members of Kajagoogoo shortly after his arrival. Happy to assist Margaret Booth in her plans and serving as a "major inspiration" to another serial killer, Ramirez teams up with him to participate in a massacre, and when that fails, Ramirez tries to return to Alaska just to kill Bobby as his own twisted idea of a "final revenge".
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome:
    • Brooke beating Ramirez up twice in the first two episodes alone. Girl's got some steel nerves when the occasion calls for it.
    • Xander and Trevor saving Chet's life in "Slashdance".
    • Brooke straight up refusing Ramirez twice when he tries to get her to sell her soul to Satan.
      • Not to mention her defiantly spitting at Margaret through a two-way mirror when the latter comes to see Brooke executed.
    • Donna successfully faking Brooke's execution and saving her.
    • Trevor managing to single-handedly prevent the music festival slaughter by parking a tour bus in the middle of the road and diverting all the passers-by, even though it costs him his own life.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Epileptic Trees: Some viewers are convinced that Brooke will turn out to be a murderer or secretly evil based largely of her actress' previous roles in the series largely being "Alpha Bitches", with Brooke's Nice Girl heroine status being part of a Bait-and-Switch. It's ultimately Jossed, though the character develops a darker, more cynical side due to all the shit she had to go through.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Margaret mentions Charles Keating as her "very good friend" who came with her to Larry Flynt's trial in the late 1970s, prompting one character to ask who he is. Charles Keating, during the time of the season, was an anti-porn activist and open Heteronormative Crusader and later was convicted for fraud, racketeering, and conspiracy after taking advantage of loosened banking investment restrictions.
    • The second half of the series takes place in 1989. 1989 was known for the ungodly amount of sequels that were released that year (it was one of the first "summer of sequels"). These sequels are generally thought to be inferior to their predecessors, many of which were beloved films of the 1980s. So if there was going to be another night of terror at Camp Redwood, it would naturally happen in 1989.
    • The curb-stomping Ramirez gets in Arizona matches up almost exactly how the real Richard Ramirez was captured: A bunch of Latinos recognized the murderer from the news and beat the shit out of him. They even captured the small details such as the newspaper stands and the attempted carjacking.
    • Ray's betrayals and panic don't match his warmer, more responsible post-death personality — because, as was previously implied, he was on cocaine before his death, and was clearly suffering from its attendant paranoia.
  • Growing the Beard: After a first episode that was effectively a Cliché Storm of scenes from other slasher movies adapted into AHS, the season really picks up in terms of finding its identity of being a twist-filled narrative full of Black Comedy.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Trevor’s Gag Penis is a bit of a Running Gag in the season. Unrelated So Bad, It's Good movie (made for an app) “Trevor and the Virgin” bases its entire premise on a rumor that the titular Trevor has the biggest dick in their college.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Margaret is a judgmental, holier than thou, intolerant fundamentalist who shows no warmth to any of her new counselors, not even the visibly distressed and chronically terrorized Brooke (easily the nicest and most respectful of the counselors). Yet Margaret also survived a massacre where she had her ear cut off, her friends/co-workers were all killed, and then later she loses her husband. Her one consolation seems to be her faith and the money she inherited from her husband's estate. However, this is later subverted hard when we learn she was the true murderer and that she framed a then innocent Benjamin, who had been nothing but kind to her.
    • Benjamin emerges as one once the truth comes out that Margaret is the killer. Yes, he has killed people once escaping from the asylum, but he was in fact only an innocent victim subjected to horrific torture, all after being traumatized in Vietnam. Even after he discovers the truth, his wife is brutally murdered by Ramirez and he has to send his son away to protect him. Worsened by the reveal that he was bullied by the other kids at camp and emotionally abused by his mother as The Unfavorite, who blamed Benjamin for his little brother’s accidental death before going on a murderous rampage and attempting to kill her own son, resulting in him killing her in self defense. As a ghost, his mother sadistically reveals that she sprung Margret into committing the murders in the 70’s and framing him, and spitefully declares that she never loved him. Benjamin Richter has not had an easy life.
    • Nurse Rita i.e Donna Chambers is a psychiatrist who uses her position to free Jingles with the hopeful, almost gleeful expectation that people will surely be killed! Something she adamantly claims is For Science!. Several characters are completely justified in wanting her dead, yet you can't help but feel a twinge of sympathy for her when the episode "Red Dawn" reveals that four years prior to the story she discovered her much loved father was a serial killer who offed himself right before her eyes when confronted with the truth! not helping the matter is when Richard Ramirez taunts by confronting her with the ghost of her dad telling her that he was "born a monster" and that she is just like him. Suffice to say there is very little to envy about this woman by the time she begs Jingles to Mercy Kill her!
    • Montana wrongfully holds a murderous vendetta against Brooke for something she didn’t even do, and starts killing innocent people for fun after she becomes a ghost, but it’s hard not to sympathize with her deep grief over her brother, especially when it’s shown that he was the only person in her life who really cared about her.
  • Les Yay: One of the first shots in the series is of two girls preparing to make out, and despite claiming that she's "not a lez", Montana is incredibly insistent that Brooke come with her to Camp Redwood. Then Subverted when it turns out she despises Brooke and wants to murder her, since she blames her for her brother's death.
  • Memetic Mutation: Comparing Satan’s frequent intervention in this season in order to assist Ramirez to Satan’s lack of involvement or answers to his own son, Michael, in the previous season— likening it to Parental Favoritism.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Margaret crossed the line multiple times over the course of the season. She truly crossed that line when she enlists the Night Stalker to make a massacre at the music festival triple-fold, so they could have more victims.
  • No Yay: Montana’s flirtation with Brooke comes off this way after it’s revealed that Montana not only wants to kill Brooke, but desires to do so because she believes Brooke had sex with Montana’s brother. Squick doesn’t even begin to describe it.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Ray abandoning a pleading, injured Chet to die in the pit. It especially stings after Chet saved Ray's life earlier in the episode.
    • Xavier having to Mercy Kill Bertie in "True Killers".
    • The abuse Mr.Jingles is put through in this series, matched with John Caroll Lynch's amazing performance for the character.
  • Values Dissonance: Brooke's emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband is very obvious for all of us to see in our era; but back in the 70s into the 80s', various abuses of the sort were only just coming to light with many practitioners of psychiatry and psychology having difficulties exploring the topic or area at the time. Brooke may literally have had no idea what he was doing was completely wrong or if she just plain surrendered to end the tormentor's isolation.
  • Win Back the Crowd: After three divisive seasons, many were not excited for this season, expecting it to start off good, before petering out in quality by the end of the season. It was not helped by the marketing depicting this season as yet another slasher genre throwback, as well as the absence of long-time AHS actors Evan Peters or Sarah Paulson. However, to mostly everybody's surprise, many were impressed by the season's willingness to indulge in classic slasher tropes while adding surprising twists to the mix, with a finale that was considered to be as good and cohesive as Murder House and Asylum. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an 87% rating, which is the highest out of the whole series.
  • The Woobie:
    • Brooke just starts the series having escaped Richard Ramirez's assault and takes a summer camp counselor job only for two serial killers to come appear in the area; she escapes Mr. Jingles and no one believes her, and is sneered at by Margaret for being dirty (after running away from said killer in the rain and mud). This, after her husband-to-be killed her father, her friend, and himself in a fit of obsessive jealousy at their wedding ceremony. This girl needs a break.
    • Xavier spent years homeless and addicted to drugs, and it’s mentioned his mother was also an addict— which is presumably how he got into drugs in the first place— he was taken off the streets and sobered up until to be coerced into preforming in a pornography in “return,” and is subsequently harassed by his pimp to the point that he goes to Camp Redwood just to try and escape. This pimp ends up following him to the camp, sexually harasses and manipulates him, and attempts to blackmail him into returning to pornography despite Xavier’s anxiety over it destroying his potential career and feelings of humiliation over it, and when the pimp is murdered Xavier has a nervous breakdown of guilt. Xavier and his friends are hunted down by two serial killers and witness a few murders, traumatizing then. Then Xavier is locked in an oven and has his whole face and body horribly burned and disfigured, destroying his self worth and his lifelong dream of becoming an actor— along with being forced to Mercy Kill a severely wounded Bertie.
    • Benjamin's early life has him being the unfavorite to his mother, who then goes on to curse, blame, despise and try to kill him for his brother's murder despite y'know, the lifeguard not even watching his brother swim when he should have. He then joins the army and comes back shell-shocked, taking up a job at a campgrounds that ends with him being blamed for a massacre he didn't even do. Then, the joyous judicial system fails him in more ways than one, and the medical profession figures the best way to save him is electro-shock therapy and borderline torture which warps his mind so badly he actually believes he's the murderer! He then learns the truth and after nearly sinking further into hell with Ramirez, overcomes his trauma and starts up a new family with a job and a potential promotion in mind, only for Ramirez to murder his wife and target his son. He then has to leave his son behind because he can't risk Ramirez targeting him. John Carroll Lynch gives an absolutely sensational performance for the character, and the arc of Mr.Jingles has been noted as one of the highlights of the season for it.
    • Pete, the teenage townie killed when Trevor mistook him for Jingles and knocked him into the punji pit. Although only a bit character, his medical problems - overweight, asthmatic, and with a urological issue that made it painful and difficult to pee - and social-outcast status (his mom paid Keith and Larry to bring him along for "Jingles Day" pranking) earned him enough sympathy for Ben to spare his life. Just to make matters worse, his urinary issues apparently continue to plague the poor guy even after he's a ghost. Pretty harsh fate, in life and in death, especially as he's the only townie who didn't turn homicidal after his demise.


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