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This Is The Least Likable Sarah Paulson Character On American Horror Story

Being a part of the American Horror Story cast means that all of its members are going to have to play different roles with each new season. Throughout the show's nine (and upcoming tenth) installments, each recurring cast member has played numerous roles that have pushed each actor's skills to their limits. This is especially the case when it comes to American Horror Story veterans such as Sarah Paulson who has been a part of the show since its first season. 

Having played a character in almost every single season with the exception of 1984, Paulson and American Horror Story are pretty much inseparable. Upon making her debut as the medium Billie Jean in Murder House, Paulson expanded on her skills by taking on larger and more complex roles such as the tenacious female reporter Lana Winters in Asylum, and the two-headed twin sisters, Better and Dot, in Freak Show. Although she played these characters to the best of her ability, there is one that does fall short in comparison to these stellar roles.

Mrs. Venable promises a lot, but instead offers nothing in return

The least likeable character Sarah Paulson played in American Horror Story came in the form of Ms. Wilhemina Venable in Apocalypse. This character is introduced to viewers in the first episode of the season as a no-nonsense tyrant who presides over Outpost 3, a fallout shelter for survivors after a massive nuclear air strike wipes out most of the planet. In this position of power, Venable is shown to be merciless, cruel, and enjoys torturing the Outpost's residents. In fact, she even kills everyone in the Outpost in order to secure a spot in a swankier fallout shelter.

Despite the interesting role that she plays in the Outpost, Ms. Venable arguably comes off as completely one-dimensional. Most of Ms. Venable's personality lies in her cruelty, and there really isn't any sort of explanation for it. While her scoliosis backstory and detailing of how people judged her appearance because of it offered some insight into the character, there really isn't anything that justifies the motivation behind her atrocious acts. Paulson does an excellent job of bringing the character to life, which only demonstrates the incredible skills this actress possesses. Sadly, Ms. Venable just doesn't reach the same standard of other roles Paulson played.

The problems with Ms. Venable are made even more apparent when Paulson plays different roles in the same season. Reprising as the kind-hearted yet powerful Supreme witch Cordelia Goode, this beloved Coven character continues to grow when she's faced with tough decisions regarding the safety of the coven versus the world. Paulson effortlessly carries this character throughout Apocalypse, and is far more enjoyable to watch since the character has more depth and the plot is centered around her. 

The inclusion of Ms. Venable and the Outposts does offer some post-apocalyptic world building in Apocalypse, but it's half-baked since the season drops this subplot just after three episodes. After that, the seven remaining episodes primarily focus on the events leading up to the apocalypse, and conclude the entire season with a lackluster finale. In short, Ms. Venable was an uphill battle that Paulson was seemingly doomed to take on from the start since writers only had only three episodes to give this character an arc.