Monday, 2 July 2012

Stellar Spotlight: Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy is a name that will probably ring a few bells with the vast majority of you. Ever get that feeling that you know a name, you've heard it before, but pester yourself wondering where have I heard that name? Well, you will more than likely now remember this particular name running across your television screen as credits for well seen programmes such as Glee and Nip/Tuck. Ryan Murphy is the producer and genius creator behind such shows and also has the groundbreaking horror drama series American Horror Story under his belt.

Murphy started on his career by working as a journalist for various news publications such as The Los Angeles Times and The Miami Herald, and ended up getting his big break into the entertainment industry when legend Steven Spielberg purchased a script be wrote titled Why Cant I Be Audrey Hepburn? With his foot in the door, Murphy continued to write and eventually - with a few lesser successful pilots done and out of the way - created Nip/Tuck which is basically a drama surrounding two best friends and business partners, who are plastic surgeons, and live in Miami. The show itself completely captured the divine mixture of beauty and the sheer ugliness hidden beneath such a superficial way of life. This, along with plenty of sex, drugs, scandal, doomed relationships and very lifelike surgeries being carried out, all came together to make a drama so great it ran for six seasons and won Murphy numerous awards including a Golden Globe for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.
Tell me what you don't like about yourself? became the now iconic tagline for the series, which the surgeons opened most episodes with, when interviewing new patients.

Personally, I absolutely adored Nip/Tuck whilst it ran and was so heartbroken when it ended. Usually I'm one to shy away from any medical-themed television series, however, Ryan Murphy was so good at what he did he made the show ooze style and class; even the set designs were perfection. It didn't feel like a clinical type of show were I had no clue what the doctors were talking about, it was done in such an intriguing way with each new episode having a new patient with their own personal story and therefore particular chosen surgery. This way I, the viewer, witnessed all different types of surgeries from the common breast enlargement, to the likes of a clitoral reconstruction (from a character who suffered female genital mutilation). The main show characters, Dr Christian Troy (played by Julian McMahon) and Dr Shaun McNamara (played by Dylan Walsh), have a deeply passionate, volatile friendship that is balanced with a pure brotherly love for each other, a love that can stand the test of time, and, throughout the six seasons, their love was surely tested. This incorporated with some of the most bizarre love triangles I have ever witnessed, makes Nip/Tuck a show which in years to come, will be looked back upon as a classic.

Coming out of my mourning for the loss of Nip/Tuck, I wondered what Murphy would come up with next. Glee isn't exactly my kind of program, it is fun, uplifting and the young ones have an whole new set of starlets to idolise, but I prefer my shows with a little substance. Then along came American Horror Story.
This is the latest show from Murphy and is a horror-drama with an absolutely stellar cast. "The first season takes place in 2011 and is themed on infidelity. The story follows the Harmon family: Ben, Vivian and teenage daughter Violet, who move from Boston to Los Angeles after Vivian gives birth to a stillborn baby and Ben has an affair with Hayden, one of his students. The family moves to a restored mansion, unaware that the house is haunted"(link). It isn't before long that the family encounter strange goings on and meet peculiar people, including the sexy young house maid, Moira (who appears as an elderly woman to some of the family but not others) and next door neighbour Constance. Constance is, for me, the stand out character in the drama and knows all of the ins and outs of the haunted house. Jessica Lange plays Constance in a way that can only be commended, with such grace and wisdom and has since won various awards for her part. She is confirmed to play in the second season of the show alongside new addition, Adam Levine. The best thing about American Horror Story is that it is actually scary, very scary indeed which is such a nice change from so many horror genre shows that aren't particularly frightening. It takes me to pluck up some courage to attempt to watch an episode with the lights out and I usually end up regretting it. I like my sleep, God knows I don't get enough of it, but now I'm scared of a strange faceless man in a rubber suit crawling in besides me wanting some happy times.

I look forward to what masterpieces of television Ryan Murphy has up his sleeve for the next chapter in his amazing career. Titillating times ahead I suspect.

(images via AmericanHorrorStoryFan and zimbio)

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