Kim Kardashian’s performance in 'American Horror Story' is chilling, and not because of the genre.

As an avid fan of American Horror Story, I've watched Connie Britton devour a raw brain, Sarah Paulson have her eyes disintegrated by acid, and Evan Peters sexually stimulate a group of disgruntled housewives using claws while being called 'Lobster Boy'.

Yet Kim Kardashian's appearance in the franchise is the first time I've ever had to take a moment of quiet reflection to really process what it is I'm watching.

In the new season of Ryan Murphy's anthology series, American Horror Story: Delicate, Kim Kardashian plays a shrewd publicist named Siobhan Corbyn who, after befriending actress Anna Victoria Alcott (Emma Roberts) at a support group, takes over the former child star's PR strategy and mounts a fierce Oscars campaign in her name.

Apart from appearing in her reality TV series for more than a decade and playing herself in a handful of TV and film roles, Kim Kardashian has also played supporting roles in TV shows such as Drop Dead Diva and Beyond the Break and films like Disaster Movie and Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor.

Watch the official trailer for American Horror Story: Delicate, starring Kim Kardashian. Post continues below.

Video via Youtube.

American Horror Story marks her first lead role in a TV series and the first time she has acted within the horror genre, and when it comes to critiquing her performance, there is a very easy play available to reviewers. To say she is horrible; to say her performance sticks out like Adam Sandler's basketball shorts on the red carpet, and parrot the old complaint that she's only 'famous for being famous'. As if we don't live in a society built on celebrating beautiful women.


And yet, that's not where the conversation around Kim's performance has landed, because the truth is, she's not at all terrible.

She's also not very good.

Despite the franchise's gore and overall camp nature, American Horror Story owes much of its success to the critically acclaimed cast of actors who return year after year. Stars such as Jessica Lange, Angela Bassett, Gabourey Sidibe, Denis O'Hare, Kathy Bates, and Finn Wittrock all treat the gruesome and often absurd scripts with the same reverence and dedication as they would a Shakespeare adaptation.

Which means Kim's passable yet unmemorable performance as Siobhan would easily fade into American Horror Story obscurity if it wasn't for her name recognition and our need to dissect her every scene.

And yet, there's something oddly chilling about her deadpan performance, as a woman with a cold and calculated thirst for fame that seemingly overrides the hell Emma Roberts' character is going through. All in a season that feels like a watered-down but still unsettling version of Rosemary's Baby. 

In this series, Kim Kardashian is playing the shell of a woman the world sometimes accuses her of being. Calculating, shallow, and obsessed with fame and power. Except she exerts no joy, personality or even villainy alongside any of these traits.


With her severe high ponytails, overly curated beauty and an accessories collection that looks ripped from the jewellery box of Miranda Priestly, she also looks like a caricature of what Kim Kardashian seems to be to the naked eye. But instead of a high-fashion twist, every aspect of her character's physical appearance is just a little off and trying too hard.

Having the most-watched woman in the world play a publicist is an easy plot point to draw on and yet neither Kim nor the series seem to have an answer to the question about the price of pursuing fame.

Instead, there's just a bleakness to her character that leaves the audience a little dead, and not in the fun "I've-been-stabbed-to-death-by-Sarah-Paulson" way that fans of the franchise have come to expect.

There is still a full season of American Horror Story: Delicate starring Kim Kardashian yet to drop on our screens, so maybe another layer of her character has yet to present itself to us.

Until then, this off-brand version of Kim is a perfectly acceptable character. She just feels like a knock-off, rather than an original design.

American Horror Story: Delicate is now streaming on Binge, new episodes drop weekly.

Laura Brodnik is Mamamia's Head of Entertainment and host of The Spill podcast. You can follow her on Instagram here.

Feature image: Supplied.

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