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Let's talk about Kim Kardashian in American Horror Story

American Horror Story: Delicate is doing everything it can to turn Kardashian into a filthy-mouthed badass. Is it working, or is this just stunt casting?

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Kim Kardashian in American Horror Story: Delicate episode two
Kim Kardashian in American Horror Story: Delicate episode two
Photo: Eric Leibowitz/FX

American Horror Story evidently wanted Kim Kardashian to make an unforgettable entrance in its season 12 premiere. In her first appearance as uppity Hollywood publicist Siobhan Corbyn, she commands a minimalist and massive skyline-facing office. She then rattles off the line, “Tell the Daniels to suck my clit,” referring to this year’s Oscar-winning filmmakers. Yeah, in a single scene, AHS: Delicate makes it clear that Kardashian’s alter ego is supposed to be a bossy badass who doesn’t give a shit. It’s too bad then that her performance isn’t convincingly conveying the right amount of odd-duck energy—at least not yet.

For the record, Kardashian is surprisingly promising in the two episodes that have aired so far. She plays a supportive BFF to her client, Anna Victoria Alcott (Emma Roberts), a CW-turned-indie-movie star vying for an Academy Award nomination. The two met at an IVF support group; now Anna’s pregnant, but Siobhan isn’t. While Anna is tormented by body pain, a stalker, and some sinister events, her PR pal dutifully stands by her side. To match this narrative, the reality TV star plays her part in a decent, straightforward manner. However, the quirky writing insists on turning Kardashian into a vessel for provocative one-liners. But her stoic dialogue delivery doesn’t make them land.


Take episode two, “Rockabye,” in which she has a more significant role. Siobhan wants to motivate Anna for the upcoming Gotham Awards. She does so by sternly saying rousing things like “Do you know how many blowjobs were collectively given for you to get a nomination? Derek’s jaw will never recover.” She also expresses something along the lines of Anna’s face looks like a cat’s asshole. The intention might be to add levity or gleefully enjoy Kardashian (of all people) churning out these lines. But it comes off as top-level cringe instead.

American Horror Story Season 12 “Best Friend” Promo (HD) Kim Kardashian, Emma Roberts

AHS: Delicate saves all of its quips for Kardashian, as Roberts and other cast members (Matt Czuchry, Denis O’Hare, Julie White) are directly involved in the season’s Rosemary’s Baby-esque mystery. It’s quite a risk considering she’s obviously a stunt casting effort; she’s thankfully not too bad, but it does read as a stunt regardless. Ryan Murphy’s long-running FX drama has done it before, adding Lady Gaga, Macaulay Culkin, and Stevie Nicks randomly to its ensemble. (FYI: AHS season five was Gaga’s big acting debut as well, like 12 is Kardashian’s.)


In this case, though, the show borrows directly from Kardashian’s life. Her character is a noticeable shadow of her mother, Kris Jenner, a PR mastermind herself known for buzzy zingers. (Anyone who keeps up with the family’s many reality series’ knows this.) “Rockabye” features a subplot in which Siobhan nonchalantly procures Madonna’s 1991 Oscar gown for Anna to wear on the Gotham red carpet. You know, in case you forgot Kardashian did the same thing with Marilyn Monroe’s dress at the Met Gala in 2022. The episode also has Siobhan go off on internet discourse—with a smattering of self-projection—when she rants, “Do you know how much Jamie Lee Curtis hated being asked if she’s a nepo baby?” (Side note: The show is obsessed with Everything Everywhere All At Once, huh?)

AHS doesn’t just want to profit off her emerging acting skills, but her real experiences as well. It’s a sure-shot way of inviting new fans, overlapping reality and horror genre audiences into one snappy show. On paper, it works. It’s a shame then that it’s hard to root for AHS: Delicate completely considering season 12’s first part filmed during the WGA strike. The scripts were complete, but picket lines were crossed anyway. Kardashian herself tweeted from the set. (Production eventually shut down after SAG-AFTRA went on strike.)

So as morbidly exciting—out of curiosity, if nothing else—as it is to see Kardashian onscreen in a different light, we can’t help but wish it was under better circumstances. Especially because AHS: Delicate is an exciting return to form for the show after a long, long time. Maybe it has something to do with new showrunner Halley Feiffer, or the novel it’s inspired by, Danielle Valentine’s Delicate Condition. Or maybe it’s Kardashian’s unconventional turn. Hopefully, as the episodes continue, her performance attunes to Siobhan’s badassery and outlandish dialogues to make it as fun as intended.