American Horror Stories Season 1 Episode 4 Review: The Naughty List

If you’ve ever wanted to enter the life of a Youtuber, then American Horror Stories Season 1 Episode 4 was for you.

For the first time since this poor imitation of the main series kicked off, the episode runtime was just about right, but that’s not to say the episode was particularly worthwhile.

The genre was definitely not horror, playing out as more of a satire about how far Youtubers will go to get more subscribers, sponsors, and money.

Maybe it would be best watched by people planning to become influencers to show them how not to act.

Wyatt, Zinn, Michael, and Barry were horrible. They walked around looking like a boyband from the 1990s, and their actions shocked me to the core.

We know pranks have gone wrong on Youtube, but these boys were all about making pranks in the name of getting more power.

Zinn was by far the worst of the four because he couldn’t understand why any of their actions were being perceived the way there were.

He was happy to record someone committing suicide for followers and grinned from ear-to-ear as the deed played out.

How low do you have to go to reach those levels of stupidity?

Why would they think uploading such a video would propel them to worldwide stardom? It felt more like a cautionary tale about the lengths people will go to for followers.

The blowback to their actions was fast and furious, and there was something oddly satisfying about their sponsor taking back the Lamborghini and the other cool things from the house.

There had to be a downfall, but hitting up the mall to make fun of elves and such just made them seem even worse.

The power had gone to their heads, and even though some of them worried about more backlash, they were all complicit in very different ways.

By the time the killing started, I wanted them all dead, so props to the writers for that. It was strange to deem this a horror movie when the first three-quarters focused on the downfall of the boys.

Had we seen more of the killer Santa plotting his attack, it would have added to the horror of the episode, but instead, we got the boys thinking they could give each other compliments, licking ice cream off on another and commenting on how sexy each of their abs was.

Was it an attempt to show us how shallow these four men were? Probably, but we’re supposed to be watching a series with a new horror every week, and the only thing horrific here was in the way the episode was executed.

My initial review focused on how much this series is diluting the American Horror Story franchise, one story at a time, but this particular story went one step further.

The campy humor wasn’t even worthy of being on Scream Queens, and that’s saying something.

Danny Trejo was the highlight as this killer Santa, who killed other Santas and people who wronged him.

The Youtubers had every aspect of their lives on display on social media, giving the killer access to their habits, what they were up to, and, more importantly, how to kill them.

The kills were actually pretty decent, but they were over too quickly, thanks to the rest of the episode focusing too much on the downfall of the boys.

Perhaps a chilling scene at the beginning of Santa being murdered by this serial killer would have been a good way to tease the coming events.

It would have made much more sense than what we got in the end.

Another thing that irked me was the cop calling the boys and telling them to come down to the station to make statements.

Surely the fact that the man threatened them would have been enough at least to leave a squad car outside their party pad to make sure they were safe would have been a good measure.

The boys might have been social pariahs, but the detectives failed spectacularly here. Then again, after how terrible the detectives were on American Horror Stories Season 1 Episode 2, we should always accept that the law is being portrayed as being incompetent on this show.

My favorite death was Barry’s, largely because it solidified the theme of the episode. The boys talked a big game about hitting that 5 million subscriber count and Kevin McHale’s acting as Barry knew he was about to die, but it was OK because they reached the milestone was perfect.

The scene with Barry typing on the computer was reminiscent of Chanel #2’s death on Scream Queens, but thankfully, the show opted to go in a different direction at the last minute instead of stealing the scene.

“The Naughty List” was all over the place and would probably have been easier to believe if it was not associated with American Horror Story.

There was a lot of potential squandered due to the execution. At this stage, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be reviewing this series because it’s a contender for the worst show of the year.

What are your thoughts on the show’s attempt at showing Youtubers having a downfall?

Do you think the horror should have started sooner?

Are you as bored of this show as I am?

Hit the comments.

Catch a new episode Thursday on FX on Hulu.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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