American Horror Story is like that girl you just can’t quit. You tell yourself she’s no good, you pack all your things, but just as you reach the door she appears before you in some impossibly cunning piece of lace. You drop the suitcase. What were you thinking? You’re on this crazy train ‘til the end. The latest piece of news ensuring your continued viewership of the AHS saga is that out bisexual Lady Gaga will be starring in next season, subtitled Hotel.
Few other details are available at this time, but Gaga is presumably replacing Jessica Lange as the season headliner. It’s bittersweet, of course, since we’ll miss getting weekly glimpses of one of the world’s most formidable actors, but then again, Lange has essentially been playing the same fading vamp for four seasons now, so perhaps a change is in order. Hopefully some of the other stellar female talent that keeps AHS watchable will be returning, particularly Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe. Emma Roberts can come or not, I don’t care. You’ve got to hand it to Murphy (and by “it” I don’t just mean a live grenade); the man knows how to cast talented women. And it seems that we can always count on American Horror Story to include a queer angle, but it hasn’t included a prominent lesbian storyline since Asylum, so we’re due for another one. (Gaga and Paulson, anyone?)
It’s easier to speculate more about what this means for Gaga than what it means for AHS, other than the fact that it will continue to be a massive ratings coup for FX. Earlier this year, a few think pieces in the vein of “whatever happened to Lady Gaga” started to surface, by internet writers too blind to see a master entertainer’s master plan. (Just kidding, everyone knows Lady Gaga makes her decisions by beheading a chicken on a chessboard of career options, and choosing whichever square it dies on.)
True, it has been a couple of years since Mother Monster topped the charts or sported a dress made entirely of PETA’s outrage, but like Madonna before her, Gaga knew enough to get out of the shock and awe game before it was played out. She re-emerged with an album of duets with Tony Bennett and a triumphant Oscar performance that reminded everyone that yes: she can sing. Trading art pop for vintage glamour seems like an odd choice until you remember that Gaga has built a career out of keeping people guessing. And joining a franchise that’s known as much as she is for outrageousness and outrageous success seems like a smart next chapter. Let’s hope she has the acting chops to keep up with the rest of the cast. We know she’s got the lungs for the screams.