Surprise, surprise. Another Ryan Murphy property's got mean jokes. During the relatively lackluster finale of American Horror Story: Coven on Wednesday night, Murphy's most popular series took a dig at what was arguably the most popular stand-alone program in all of television (outside of the formidable Super Bowl, of course) in 2013: NBC's The Sound of Music Live!
When Emma Roberts' Madison Montgomery awakes from the fourth trial of the Seven Wonders that involves living one's own worst nightmare — which the girls are all doing in order to become the next Supreme — she says that her worst nightmare was being cast in a live television version of The Sound of Music. (To add insult to injury, she was also forced to play Liesl, rather than Maria.) It would be a cute, but stale little quip if it wasn't present on a series created by the man who subjected us all to the televised mess that is Glee for the last four years.
Now, Sound of Music Live! wasn't great — I railed against it pretty hard the day after it aired — but it was still one of the most profitable silly things NBC has ever done. Carrie Underwood and her lack of Julie Andrews accent drew almost 22 million viewers with DVR numbers factored in — that's about four times what Glee pulls in these days and well over four times AHS: Coven's best ratings. What's worse is that as problematic as the Sound of Music was, at least it's got a story that makes an iota of sense, unlike either Murphy property.
Glee (and AHS: Coven, for that matter) are narrative nightmares, riddled with discarded storylines that needlessly morph into nonsensical storylines that morph into completely unreasonable excuses for musical numbers and celebrity cameos. All The Sound of Music: Live! did was be a pretty mediocre copy of something that was once really great.
And while the offending episode was written by AHS scribe Daniel Petrie, Murphy is the series showrunner along with Brad Falchuk, and as such is still responsible for the fact that his show is a complete mess and not really in any position to take digs at other TV programming. So, sure. Go ahead, Murphy and Co. Tease NBC and Carrie Underwood all you want. They're laughing all the way to the bank.