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Fans Agree This Is The AHS Character With The Saddest Backstory

Horror television shows are an intrinsically trick proposition. Unlike movies, in which the limited running time and the one-off nature of the experience naturally lend themselves to the crafting of shocking set pieces and tension-charged atmospheres, shows have to fill hours and hours with content that's somehow both engaging as long-term storytelling and consistently terrifying on a moment-to-moment basis.

The forebear of our current horror TV craze, FX's "American Horror Story," found a highly effective way to split that difference: weaving the horror into the drama itself. Each of the 10 seasons of "American Horror Story" to date have given us some of the most disturbing individual moments in television history, but they have also roped us into stories so tragic and messed-up that investing emotionally in them can feel positively draining.

However, who among the show's suffering souls had it the hardest? To answer that question, a Reddit poll on r/AmericanHorrorStory asked users which character they thought had the saddest backstory — and the results make a lot of sense.

Twisty the Clown was voted the character with the saddest backstory by Reddit fans

There was no shortage of options for the title of most tormented "American Horror Story" villain, but going by Redditors' votes, "Freak Show" antagonist Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch) takes the cake.

Originally a beloved clown at a freak show in 1943, Twisty was framed as a child molester by fellow circus members who were jealous of his popularity, forcing him to run away in disgrace. Upon returning to his hometown, he learned that his mother had died, and was unable to make a living by selling homemade whirligigs to a local toy store. Desperate, he attempted suicide by shooting himself with a shotgun. His attempt failed, and he was left with a severely disfigured face. The accumulated trauma and sense of abandonment drove him insane, prompting him to commit the series of murders and child abductions that mark the front half of "Freak Show."

Unsurprisingly, Twisty dominated the Reddit poll with 335 (47%) out of the 710 total votes. The runner-up was another downtrodden John Carroll Lynch framing victim and subsequent villain, Mr. Jingles of "1984," with 229 (32%), while Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) of the original "Murder House" season was a comparatively distant third with 82 (12%) votes.

Other worthy AHS contenders were cited in the comments

Even though the "American Horror Story" franchise has featured dozens of characters with tragic backstories, the Reddit poll consisted of only five options — Twisty, Jingles, Constance, plus the "Hotel" season's Countess (Lady Gaga) and the "Freak Show" season's Maggie Esmerelda (Emma Roberts). Because of this, several commenters named other picks that they felt should have been included in the poll.

In that regard, the most popular pick would seem to be a character from both "Asylum" and "Freak Show," and that's microcephalic ingénue and unexpected cast breakout Pepper (Naomi Grossman), with several commenters wondering why she was left off the poll. As a user by the name of MadamMarshmallows put it, "Before reading the available options, I thought of Pepper first." 

Meanwhile, kind-hearted fratboy-turned-revenant Kyle Spencer (Evan Peters) from "Coven" was also cited, with commenter posterwhat noting that "Kyle may have been boring in the season, but his backstory is truly horrible." "Murder House" housekeeper Moira O'Hara (Frances Conroy) also received votes, with a comment going so far as to question Constance's inclusion in the poll in light of what she did to Moira during that season.