There's a lot about FX's American Horror Story, which premiered last night, that's unlike other shows — its spookiness, its overt kinkiness, its cinematic rather than telegenic premise. But there's even more about AHS that's just like other shows, namely creator Ryan Murphy's previous efforts: the high-school satire Popular; his campy doctor drama Nip/Tuck; and, of course, Glee. Whether making a high school or a horror soap, Murphy always makes room for strange redheads, sudden-onset bisexuality, paternity confusion, and much more. Roll over each trope and look in the center of the chart to see the many times it's popped up in the Murphy oeuvre!
On Popular they were the Glamazons, on Glee they're the Cheerios, and don't forget about Kate Mara's Vanessa on Nip/Tuck — so bitchy she convinced Matt to circumcise himself!
Tell Ryan Murphy what you don't like about yourself, and it'll end up as a story on Nip/Tuck or Popular or Glee (where Rachel pondered a nose job).
Nip/Tuck went with incest a few times, including the mother sort of son relationship between Ava and Adrian, the half-sibling 'cest of Matt and Emme, and the super-weird-in-retrospect coupling of Quentin and Kit. Expect at least one ooky family subplot on American Horror Story.
Mary Cherry on Popular was regularly described, by the show, as "borderline retarded,"Finn Hudson thought Jesus was speaking to him through a grilled-cheese, and the adults on American Horror Story won't get the hell out of that house.
Every episode of Glee has a montage set to a pop song, and Nip/Tuck had its share, too, including a Magnolia-style sing-along to “Brighter Discontent.” Expect American Horror Story's opening sequence to scare you off of "Tonight You Belong to Me" forever.
If you count cheating on your boyfriend or girlfriend, Popular and Glee have this covered, but they're nothing compared to the all-out anti-seventh commandment fiesta that was Nip/Tuck, or the constant temptations afforded to cheater Dylan McDermott on American Horror Story.
Glee resolved its paternity mystery while the gleetus was still in utero, but on Nip/Tuck Christian assumed Wilber was his until he actually laid eyes on the African-American newborn. And we'd advise the mysteriously pregnant Connie Britton to read up on ghost dads.
Rachel, meet your long-lost mother, who's adopting the child of your friends Quinn and Puck. Now let's never speak of this again for an entire season.
The Carver raped a whole bunch of people on Nip/Tuck while wearing his terrifying porcelain mask, and American Horror Story ups the ante with a sexual rapacious, latex-clad maybe-ghost.
As it went on, Nip/Tuck's sexual flexibility kicked into higher gear: Julia started dating Portia de Rossi, and Liz started dating Christian. Lily on Popular was briefly confused and even Blaine from Glee considered switching teams last year.
Famke Janssen's Ava on Nip/Tuck was a classic cradle robber who seduced Matt when he was still in high school, and two episodes into American Horror Story, 62-year-old Jessica Lange is already bedding a hottie male model.
Nip/Tuck offered the dual surgical spectacles of Joan Rivers and Joan Van Ark, while pop starlet Charice reportedly got Botox before her stint on Glee.
Glee's first season revolved around Quinn's unplanned pregnancy and Terri's fake one; Popular had a teen pregnancy scare; and Wilbur and Connor were but two of Nip/Tuck's surprise babies.
Bare rumps were a near-constant presence on Nip/Tuck — so many butts! — and Dylan McDermott grabs the always-nude baton from Julian McMahon for American Horror Story.
You could make an O-face supercut with all the material Nip/Tuck gave you (though you probably shouldn't). Dylan McDermott gets his chance to climax onscreen just a couple of scenes into American Horror Story's first episode.
At some point, Nip/Tuck turned from plastic surgery procedural into Criminal Minds, but with American Horror Story's gory cold openings, Murphy gets to let his freaky imagination run wild.
Popular had the bizarre Tuna twins, Glee has the OCD Emma (and her ginger supremacist parents), and Horror Story has two redheaded twins get nastily murdered in its opening scene.
How did Murphy secure Jessica Lange for American Horror Story? By promising her the sort of juicy part that he's used in the past to lure Vanessa Redgrave and Marlee Matlin to the small screen. (And in a year, 39-year-old Gwyneth Paltrow will join their ranks.)
The first main character you see on AHS has Down's, and it's no surprise: Murphy has cast actors with Down Syndrome on Nip/Tuck and Glee, and the latter show recently promoted Becky to co-captain of the Cheerios.
On Nip/Tuck Sean was technically Matt's adoptive father, Christian adopted Gina's son Wilber, and Sean adopted Ava's adopted-then-abandoned son Raphael. On Popular, the head bitch was secretly adopted, and onGlee, Rachel is adopted and her bio-mom Shelby adopted Quinn and Puck's baby.
Glee got a lot of mileage out of unlikely odd couples like Puck and Lauren or Brittany and Artie, but let's not forget Popular, which did it first, or the time Sean bedded Rosie O'Donnell on Nip/Tuck. Actually, let's forget that.