Brow Beat

Meet the Misfit Characters of American Horror Story: Freak Show

Kathy Bates is the bearded lady.

Still from YouTube

Details for American Horror Story: Freak Show, the fourth season of Ryan Murphy’s irreverent anthology series, have been kept close to the chest, with our main source of insight being a handful of frustratingly brief teasers that revealed little besides the fact that the season would, obviously, involve a circus of some sort. Now we have season’s first full-length trailer, which finally sheds some light on the misfits that will populate the freak show tent.

The season will take place in 1950’s Florida, and the characters certainly look of a piece with the series’ twisted, campy aesthetic. There’s Angela Bassett as a three-breasted woman, Michael Chiklis as her strong man husband, Kathy Bates as Chiklis’ bearded ex-wife, and Sarah Paulson as conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tattler. Leading this ragtag bunch is Jessica Lange, who’s accompanied in the trailer by Jyoti Amge, the world’s shortest woman. Amge’s casting is a tad tactless, and will surely renew conversation about whether Murphy’s method is more critique or exploitation, but for now I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubtone of the things that makes American Horror Story work is its gleeful abandon and disregard for the self-seriousness of prestige television. Freak Show will premiere Oct. 8.