As shows go, American Horror Story is undoubtedly one of the darkest in entertainment right now. From its first season -- aptly subtitled Murder House -- to latest outing, it’s tackled everything from hauntings, demonic possession and serial killers to our love of reality television and US politics. Thanks to its unique tone and style, it’s earned itself somewhat of a cult following over the years and it’s not secret that viewers love examining every aspect of the show in great detail. Because of its serious themes though, what fans tend to enjoy most is making light of the drama wherever and whenever they can (it helps to stave off the nightmares, right?). And as it’s an anthology series -- meaning that it boasts a fresh story every time -- there’s plenty of material to find their funnies in too.
Often, their gags tend to make their way onto the Internet in meme form, whether they be poking fun at showrunner Ryan Murphy’s delight in torturing us (by dragging out the reveal of each season’s individual theme) or simply parts of the plot. To honor said fan’s visions and comedic chops, CBR have compiled a list of some of the best ones that are currently gracing the web below. Enjoy!
16 AMERICAN HORROR STORY: MARATHON
Given its relentlessly dark subject matter, an American Horror Story binge-watch can often take its toll, which is something that this meme alludes to. It features a still from the show’s second season, Asylum, which sees Sarah Paulson’s Lana Winters attending to Jessica Lange’s Sister Jude, who has been committed to mental institution Briarcliff Manor by her superior Monsignor Timothy Howard after she was framed for murder by another of her colleagues.
She looks a little worse for wear, to say the least -- with thinning hair and sensitivity to sunlight -- having been kept in a darkened cell for days on end. With this meme, the maker suggests you’ll look similar to her after you finish a marathon of AHS episodes.
15 FREE TRIALS
We’ve all been there. We’ve fallen in love with Netflix during its first month free deal but when it came to the end of the trial, realized we can’t actually justifying forking out for it every month. The same goes for Amazon Prime, Adobe Photoshop or anything that would cost extra a month if we were to fully subscribe.
Well some people have found a way round this dilemma, and while we’re not condoning it at all, it does make for a pretty funny meme (as evidenced above)! Some people use different emails, and subsequently, different identities to get free trial after free trial out of a company like Netflix. Evan Peters would have no trouble considering how many characters he portrayed in the latest installment of American Horror Story: Cult.
14 DROPPING HINTS
It’s becoming somewhat of a running gag between American Horror Story fans that actor Sarah Paulson spends a lot of her time screaming whenever she appear in an episode of the series. Out of the entire recurring cast, she’s had the most screentime too, which has made for a lot of screaming over the years. What’s so great about this meme is that it combines that almost insider-level joke with a gag solely about the season it’s referring to… American Horror Story: Roanoke.
In Roanoke, Paulson plays Audrey Tindall, an actress tasked with dramatically recreating tales of paranormal disturbances that previously plagued, and are now being told by, Shelby Miller (Lily Rabe). In the retellings, Shelby keeps mentioning that she was hinting to her husband that she wanted to leave their haunted home. Meanwhile, in the reconstructions, Audrey’s Shelby makes it painstakingly obvious she wants to pack her bags.
13 LANA BANANA
In American Horror Story: Asylum, one of the show’s most beloved cast members, Sarah Paulson, played Lana Winters. Throughout the installment, the character became the focal point of the show and boy, did she have a rough time. Towards the beginning of the series, journalist Lana travels to Briarcliff Manor, a mental institution run by Jessica Lange’s Sister Jude Martin. She hopes to not only expose secrets about the place and catching a glimpse of the infamous serial killer Bloody Face, who has reportedly been held there.
Sister Jude however, realizing Lana’s plan (and sexuality) has her unwillingly committed, under the guise of carrying out gay conversion therapy on her. Unfortunately, that incident merely sparks the beginning of Lana’s turmoil. Here, fans compare Lana to singer Lana Del Rey and replace the well-known album title ‘Born To Die’ with ‘Born To Suffer.’ Sister Jude often called Winters ‘Lana Banana’ too.
12 THE REAL AMERICAN HORROR STORY
Over the years, FX has produced a huge number of promotional material for American Horror Story. Given that every single one of the seven seasons that have aired have had different stories and visual styles, absolutely nothing can be recycled, which means new posters and trailers every time.
One of the most iconic images is a white, cloaked nun-type figure with black goo dripping from their eyes, which was used in the run-up to American Horror Story: Asylum’s release. Here, the meme maker has joked that that’s what someone ends up looking like if they don’t take their makeup off before having a shower. Many of us have made that mistake, right? Those who have can’t help but agree that is the REAL American Horror Story.
11 BLOODY FACE’S BACKGROUND
This entry contains some MAJOR SPOILERS FOR AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM so if, by some reason, you’re years behind on your binge-watch, and you don’t want to know certain plot twists, then you might want to avoid the following explanation.
Still here? Okay then… now, we can clarify the meaning behind the above meme. In American Horror Story: Asylum, actor Zachary Quinto plays Dr. Oliver Thredson, a psychiatrist assigned to Briarcliff to examine whether Kit Walker (Evan Peters), the man suspected of being the violent murderer known as Bloody Face, is of able mind to stand trial. Shockingly, it is later revealed that Thredson is actually Bloody Face but that’s not before he declares Walker clinically insane and kidnaps Sarah Paulson’s protagonist Lana Winters. If only Briarcliff had done some background checks!
10 THE NEXT SUPREME
American Horror Story: Coven, the show’s third season, revolves around a group of witches who become increasingly convinced that their leader, Jessica Lange’s Fiona Goode, is approaching death. Why do they care so much, you ask? Because while she’s still living, Fiona is known as the Supreme Witch of the Salem Descendants -- a status many witches are keen to claim for themselves -- and possesses powerful abilities as such.
The majority of the season centers on the younger members of the coven squabbling over who will become the next Supreme when Fiona meets her end. Some even turn to murdering their rivals in desperate attempts to nab the title but in reality, a handful of them are worthy of the name. Here, the meme maker addresses that by depicting Oprah Winfrey telling several people that they are the ‘next Supreme.’ Spells all round, anyone?
9 YOU VS THE BUTCHER
In American Horror Story: Roanoke, actor Kathy Bates plays actor Agnes Mary Winstead who, in turn, portrays Thomasin White/The Butcher in "My Roanoke Nightmare". For those who haven’t watched Roanoke yet, "My Roanoke Nightmare" is a fictional show within the real show that dramatizes the paranormal events that previously occurred to fellow characters Shelby (Lily Rabe) and Matt Miller (Andre Holland).
While playing The Butcher on "My Roanoke Nightmare", Agnes became obsessed with her role and starts to believe that she actually is the English colonist who brutally murdered her own clan and became a bloodthirsty spirit. Something that, of course, isn’t ideal. Of course, she cannot be compared to the evil ghostly figure -- who rears her head once more towards the end of the season -- and this meme makes a point out of that.
8 MAN CRUSH DANDY
Despite being one of the most poorly received series in American Horror Story history, Freak Show still managed to conjure up fan favorite characters amongst its messy plot. One of those characters was Dandy Mott. Played by the brilliant Finn Wittrock, Dandy is wealthy, good-looking and because of his spoiled upbringing, often acts like a petulant child rather than a grown man -- personality traits that as the series went on, made him one of the scarier figures within the show.
The above meme makes fun of Dandy’s uncontrollable need to be adored -- and his inexplicably inflated ego -- by putting images of him telling himself he’s ‘great’ and ‘perfect’ alongside the text: “When you make him your MCM.” Let’s just be thankful it’s not a screenshot of him in his pants, which playfully resembled a man-baby diaper, huh?
7 NOT-SO-SLEEPY SALLY
This next meme is funny, not necessarily because it’s American Horror Story-based but because it’s so darn relatable. It features Sarah Paulson dressed as Hypodermic Sally -- her character from American Horror Story’s fifth season -- as she cozies up in bed between takes. In the image, she’s gleefully smiling while using her phone and the way her exuberant expression is lit up by its glare makes for a pretty humorous image.
It’s unsurprising then that it went on to become the subject of many memes but the above has to be our favorite. It reads: “Me: I’m going to bed early tonight so I can get enough sleep and wake up early and feel refreshed. Me at 2am, laughing at memes in bed,” referencing the photograph. We like it, because it’s true.
6 GUESSING THE THEME
Seeing as the show is called American Horror Story, you wouldn’t expect anything to be associated with it to be light, and that goes for each installment themes. Since its debut in 2011, we’ve seen the anthology series base itself around ghosts, unethical experiments, witches, voodoo practices, killer clowns and vampire-type beings but fans are always desperate to know what’s in store for the next season, even when they’re currently watching one.
Each year, the wait for an upcoming season’s theme to be revealed is tough on a hardcore fan and co-creator Ryan Murphy likes to drag it out as long as possible to encourage excitement (and also, to torture viewers a little bit, we’re guessing). This meme teases how Murphy could be considered the meanest showrunner in the business!
5 BUN GOALS
Versus memes are nearly always funny and this one is no exception. In terms of American Horror Story, it centers on Naomi Grossman’s character Pepper, who was introduced during the show’s second season. Within the show, Pepper suffers from microcephaly, which causes her to have a distinctive look. She wears what little hair she has in a bun -- tied with a girly bow -- on the top of her head.
Here, the meme maker suggests that they look like Pepper when they tie their hair in a bun, rather than every other girl they see sporting their hairstyle. Interestingly, Pepper is one of the few characters that have appeared in more than one season of American Horror Story. She features in the prequel outing Freak Show, as well as Asylum.
4 INTRODUCING NEWBIES TO AHS
There’s no denying that while it’s a huge popular show, American Horror Story is the kind of series that will only appeal to a certain type of viewer. On the flip side, there are certain types of people that won’t like it at all. With this meme, you’ll likely relate wholeheartedly if you’re one of the former and you have tried -- rather unsuccessfully -- to introduce the show to someone more suited to the latter group of people.
To illustrate their point, the meme maker used a still from the first season in American Horror Story’s roster, Murder House. The image depicts Taissa Farmiga’s character Violet Harmon, screaming and shouting, while Evan Peters’ character Tate Langdon holds her up and smiles menacingly (of course, fans of the show will know that this scene is where Violet encounters the Infantata).
3 SPONGEBOB = RUBBER MAN
American Horror Story is unlike any show on television at the moment, right? Or so you might think. Rather surprisingly, dedicated watchers of the series have realized that it shares quite a few [loose] plot points with Spongebob Squarepants. Hear us out…
In American Horror Story: Coven, Jessica Lange’s character says the line, ‘I have no soul’; a line previously said by Spongebob’s nemesis Squidward Tentacles in the animation’s third season. Similarly, the cartoon has featured creepy clowns, two-head characters and Squidward going insane, which can’t help but remind people of Asylum. The best parallel has got to be the one shared above however, which argues that Murder House’s Tate Langdon in his Rubber Man suit looks just like Spongebob when he donned a “bat suit” during season three.
2 SWEET, SWEET SIMILARITIES
You wouldn’t think that American Horror Story and children’s cartoon Spongebob Squarepants have anything in common, would you? Yet, apparently they have shared a couple of similar shots and lines across their respective runs. This meme outlines just one of those moments, combining a snapshot from Spongebob episode ‘Chocolate with Nuts’ with one from American Horror Story: Coven starring Jessica Lange.
It sees Spongebob Squarepants character Mary’s mother, an old deaf fish who declares that she hates chocolate -- despite describing it as sweet -- when the titular character tries to sell her some. As a parallel, the meme also includes an image of Lange’s character Fiona Goode as she starts to deteriorate physically having undergone chemotherapy. It sees her say ‘sweet, sweet cocaine’ instead.
1 GATES OF HELL
Here’s an American Horror Story meme that perhaps teenagers might enjoy the most. It features a still of Sarah Paulson in American Horror Story: Freak Show, the fourth installment in which she essentially played two characters, Bette and Dot Tattler. The image includes some subtitles, which read, ‘I knew I was about to enter the gates of hell’ and those who have seen the show will know that it was Dot who spoke those words.
In actuality, she’s talking about walking up to Elsa Mars’ circus tent but whoever created this meme has put a funny spin on it by adding their own context. They decided that’s how they felt whenever they were walking into school. Another variation of this we have seen, states: “Walking into work like.”