Some hateful stereotypes never die in Hollywood. The cover of the Sept. 7 edition of Entertainment Weekly featured the 63-year-old actress Jessica Lange, smirking in a nun's black habit, holding a big, punishing cane in her hands. Lange is returning for a second season on the FX series "American Horror Story," but this time with an entirely new plot and characters.
Nuns are now a thing of horror. "Jessica Lange returns, this time as a terrifying nun," promised the magazine's cover. They eagerly hyped a new storyline that's "a macabre mash-up of nuns, Nazis, aliens, a serial killer named Bloody Face and the lead singer of Maroon 5." Set in Massachusetts in 1964, this nun dominates the inmates of a mental asylum named Briarcliff.
The mastermind of this spectacle is Ryan Murphy, the fallen Irish Catholic homosexual (surprise) who began with the FX sleazefest "Nip/Tuck" and then scored big with "Glee" on Fox. Think of a horror show, and naturally, Murphy thinks of ... nuns?
"I'm just writing what I would like to see. I'm scared of aliens and I'm scared of Nazis and I'm scared of nuns. So it's the perfect stew of horror and fear."
Murphy told Entertainment Weekly he "wants Catholic groups just waiting to be outraged by his show to know" that "We show people who are really devoted to Catholicism and believe in its powers. For the most part, the religious people in the show are making an attempt to do their best in a very difficult world."
Baloney. It is patently untrue. That, of course, has never stopped Murphy.
The same article promised "viewers will meet Lange's Sister Jude, a scarily stern woman of faith (and fan of corporal punishment) who's running the show at Briarcliff while grappling with some very un-nunlike personal demons."
Lange told the Los Angeles Times "If I were playing a straitlaced nun, start to finish, I can't say that would interest me too much. What's great are the extremes. To go from where she was and where she's getting to, that's what's going to be interesting."
A summary of the characters spread across the Internet by Murphy's team also explains that, "Lange now takes on Sister Jude, a nun who's more sadistic than saintly." Monsignor O'Hara will be the subject of the nun's sexual desires: "Sister Jude's superior finds himself on the receiving end of the nun's affections (and fantasies), but he's not entirely innocent. Not unlike the red lingerie under Jude's habit, there are dark intentions under Monsignor O'Hara's grace and piety. This year, he'll be subject to Sister Jude's brutal punishment (read: shackles, canes)."