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"It’s fun to write about people who society throws away."
Speaking to Vulture, GLEE and NIP/TUCK creator Ryan Murphy spoke a bit more in-depth than he previously has about AMERICAN HORROR STORY'S upcoming mental institution-set season two, explaining, "It’s set in an institution for the criminally insane that Jessica Lange’s character runs, which is a really, really, really fun thing to do because you can write all these people locked up in it. And I guess if the first season was about infidelity, the second season is about sanity. What makes someone sane or insane? Sometimes the people you think are insane are actually the most sane of all. It’s fun to write about people who society throws away."
"I haven’t said this publicly, but the new season is set in the sixties and Chloë Sevigny, for example, plays a character who was put in an asylum because she was a woman who likes sex, so her husband sends her away," he adds. "At the time, you were able to put people away for that. Another character is institutionalized for being a lesbian. To me, there’s nothing more scary than somebody coming to you and saying they’re going to take you away and put you in a mad house and you have no legal rights and there you shall stay till the end of your days. That is a real horror. Everybody has felt people thinking, 'You’re fucking crazy.' Even somebody saying that to you is scary."
Given the subject matter he points to, it seems like the second season of AMERICAN HORROR STORY may take a bit of a cue from MAD MEN, using much of the social upheaval and transition of the 60s to parallel our own national comfort, or discomfort, with similar issues. Of course, the 60s were one of the last periods before lobotomies were banned heavily as well.
On the series' season-to-season anthology nature, Murphy says of the institution, "I actually had the idea first. I knew the first season was about a very contemporary haunted house, and I knew the second season was gonna be—if we were lucky enough to be picked up—about an insane asylum done in a very different way. I pitched it in the very beginning, and FX said, 'Good. We hope the first season works ‘cause we love the second season.' I even know what the third season would be. There are very, very many different kinds of haunted houses in our culture. And there are a lot of different social topics that you can weave through that sort of prism.
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