The answer is: it'll do in a pinch.
At Sunday's American Horror Story: Freak Show premiere at the TCL Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, Lea Michele's eyes lit up like a piddling puppy as Jessica Lange walked in her direction. An old friend to say hello to, and perhaps be photographed with. So fun! And then, as Lange strode by without any acknowledgement, Michele turned into sad puppy who couldn't quite express her sadness because hundreds of pictures per second were being taken of her at this public event. So that was awkward.
This transcendent moment from last night's American Horror Story: Asylum features Jessica Lange's defrocked nun character Judy launching into a musical hallucination in which she performs Shirley Ellis' "The Name Game" after undergoing electroconvulsive therapy. This is the height of absurdity for a show that is positively obsessed with the concept of identity and the terrors of unknowing.
Last night's American Horror Story went where even 1984's notorious, depraved and once-protested Santa slasher Silent Night, Deadly Night wouldn't: It featured a man in a Santa costume assaulting a nun, punching and whipping her in the ultimate S&M roleplay of secular and religious reasons for the season. The full scene, in which Deadwood's Ian McShane plays a maniac exacting his revenge to Jessica Lange's Sister Jude for keeping him in solitary confinement, is above. Usually American Horror Story, which is so fucking great and trashy this season, merely goes over the top: here it goes over the top and through the chimney.
Maybe the craziest thing about American Horror Story's second season, which premiered last night on FX, is that it isn't a second season, really. The series is an anthology, meaning that despite the likes of Jessica Lange, Lily Rabe, Zachary Quinto and Evan Peters returning, we're getting a whole new set of characters in a whole new storyline that (supposedly) has nothing to do with what happened in the haunted-house-based first season.
• 30 Rock and Mad Men took home Emmys last night for outstanding comedy series and outstanding drama series, respectively. (Surprise, surprise.) Alec Baldwin won for outstanding actor in a comedy series; Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston won for outstanding actor in a drama series; Glenn Close won for best actress in a drama series for Damages; and The United States of Tara's Toni Collette took home the award for best actress in a comedy series. Other winners included Lost's Michael Emerson, 24's Cherry Jones, Grey Gardens' Jessica Lange, Pushing Daisies' Kristin Chenoweth, and Two and a Half Men's Jon Cryer. The catchphrase of the night was "pulling a Kanye," naturally. [People, Us]
• Mischa Barton just isn't a morning person... or perhaps she's having dental issues again. A source from her CW show, The Beautiful Life, says she's often so out of it in the mornings that she holds up filming, and she'll stare into her coffee for minutes on end, mumbling, "Who will fix my coffee? I need someone to fix my coffee." [P6]
• Courtney Love lost it when a bathroom intruder caught her with her pants down at the T magazine party at the Standard the other night. Love supposedly screamed that the man had attacked her and tried to have him ejected. "I never wanted to see Courtney Love on the toilet," says the unlucky guy. "It wasn't a pretty sight. I just wanted to get out of there." [P6]
Russell Simmons and Tina Brown having lunch yesterday at Da Silvano ... Cynthia Nixon walking downtown ... Daniel Craig carrying boxes into a building in Midtown, and then bumping into Diddy, who was was standing outside ... Ashlee Simpson arriving at JFK ... Blake Lively carrying an American Eagle shopping bag ... Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard walking in SoHo ... Al Pacino filming scenes for You Don't Know Jack in Brooklyn ... actor David Eigenberg standing with his son and wife on the Sex and the City set ... Hilary Duff talking on her cell phone ... and Shia LaBeouf and Carey Mulligan holding hands in SoHo.
• Are Michelle Williams and Spike Jonze planning to head down the aisle this summer? That's what the Star claims, since the two have been together "almost a year" and supposedly "don't see why they should wait much longer." As good a reason as any! [Star]
• Sam Ronson changed her relationship status on Facebook to "It's complicated," and says she and LiLo have started talking again, which may mean they're getting back together. [Us]
• Mary-Kate Olsen "kept touching" actor Bradley Cooper at a Tribeca Film Festival party, which could be a sign that they might be dating. [NYDN]
• Parker Posey showed off her new man at the festival, too. She's dating a sculptor named Scott Lenhardt. [NYM]
Carmen Electra is 37 today. Jessica Lange is 60. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens turns 89. Real estate mogul Bill Rudin is turning 54. Ryan O'Neal is 68. Author Heidi Julavits is 41. Victoria's Secret supermodel Miranda Kerr turns 26. NFL Network chief Steve Bornstein turns 57. Artist Matthew Day Jackson is 35. George Takei of Star Trek fame is turning 72. Journalist Andrew Tobias is 62. And '80s sitcom star Joey Lawrence turns 33 today.