American Horror Story is back on the air for its fourth season; it aired its first show on October 8 on FX. Created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, this season is titled, “Freak Show.” It focuses on the struggles of being a part of one of the few freak shows in the 1950s; and the discrimination a person may experience when being considered a “freak.”
The cast includes Jessica Lange as Elsa Mars, singer and owner of the freak show that settles down near Jupiter, Florida, in 1952. Sarah Paulson plays Bette and Dot Tattler, conjoined twins who shared everything but personality. Emma Roberts plays Maggie Esmeralda, a con artist and fortune teller. Erika Ervin, an American model and fitness trainer, plays Amazon Eve. At a height of 6 feet 8 inches she has been called “the world’s tallest model.”
Mat Fraser plays Paul the Illustrated Seal and was born with Phocomelia syndrome, which causes upper limbs to be shortened and/or absent. Fraser had experience performing in a real freak show before AHS and loved being on stage. “I’m powerful and awesome, and I’m a freak and I’m an actor and I’m a freak actor playing a freak and it’s awesome,” Fraser said in an FX interview.
Evan Peters plays Jimmy Darling, who has a deformity in his hands causing them to look like they were split. This is a disease known as ectrodactyly, a rare form of a congenital disorder in which the development of the hands is disturbed. The first reported reference to this particular disease was by Ambroise Paré in 1575.
Jyoti Amge, an Indian actress and the smallest person in the world, plays Elsa’s assistant Ma Petite. At 23 inches tall and 11 pounds in weight, Amge has become a quick favorite on the show. “I love acting in this show, and am just really excited to be here,” she said. “These people are not freaks, they are normal in every way.”
With many more odd cases and mysteries, this show demonstrates withering carny life and the struggles that follow. From bearded ladies to giants to super strength, this season brings awareness to rare and unusual body abilities and talents. It may bring inspiration to those watching the show that there are possibilities of self and social acceptance. With an amazing start and such a diverse cast, there are only high hopes for American Horror Story: Freak Show.