One is a wildly lucrative movie, the other is a TV show with a strong cult following. One is about vampires and werewolves, while the other is about a family that moves into a house filled with ghosts and a man in a rubber suit who may or may not also be a ghost. One is totally unrealistic while the other is also totally unrealistic but for completely different reasons.
But after seeing “Breaking Dawn,” I was struck by what it has in common with our favorite FX series about burn victims and psycho killers: a disturbing, potentially demonic pregnancy.
With that in mind, here’s a comparative study of expectant Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and expectant Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton).
*Note: This comparative study is based solely on the Bella pregnancy as presented in the movie “Breaking Dawn Part 1” and not the book by Stephenie Meyer. For a comparative study that also includes that text as well as the pregnancy of Lori Grimes on AMC’s “Walking Dead,” I invite you to read my forthcoming book, “With Child, With Potential Freakshow?: How Pregnant Women Deal With Horrifying Realities in Popular Culture.”**
**Additional note: I am not really writing a book by that name but someone really should steal that title for his or her senior thesis.
In “Breaking Dawn” ... Bella gets pregnant after one night of passionate sex with her husband Edward the vampire, sex that leads to the destruction of their idyllic honeymoon suite.
In “American Horror Story” ... Vivien gets pregnant after angry sex with her husband, followed by super-weird, borderline violent sex with a dude in a rubber suit who may or may not have been her husband.
Rapid Development of Fetus
In “Breaking Dawn” ... Bella realizes she’s pregnant two weeks after conception and can already feel the baby moving the second she has this realization.
In “American Horror Story” ... Vivien announces her pregnancy before the end of the show’s pilot, but seems to be progressing semi-normally trimester-wise. Or at least as normally as one might expect for the mother of a possible demon baby.
Decidedly Odd Cravings
In “Breaking Dawn” ... Bella gets sustenance by sipping from a Styrofoam cup filled with blood. She finds it delicious.
In “American Horror Story” ... Vivien digs into some fried pig pancreas and a brain of unknown origin with a bay leaf on it. She finds them delicious.
Their Pregnancies Have Complications
In “Breaking Dawn” ... Bella sports a round belly but becomes increasingly skeletal.
In “American Horror Story” ... The sight of Vivien’s ultrasound causes a technician to pass out, quit her job and start spending a lot of time praying in church because she is convinced that Vivien’s womb is currently housing “the plague of nations.”
Their Husbands Are Not Exactly the Best Partners
In “Breaking Dawn” ... Edward Cullen keeps referring to the baby as “it” and wishes Bella would terminate the pregnancy to save her own life.
In “American Horror Story” ... Ben Harmon lies to his pregnant wife about traveling to Boston to see his mistress, while back home, Vivien was attacked by home invaders. That mistress, by the way, also happens to be pregnant and may or may not have been killed by a burn victim “friend” of Ben’s, then knowingly buried by Ben in the Harmons’ backyard underneath a gazebo. Also, in related news, Ben might be psycho.
Surprise Pregnancy Plot Twists!
In “Breaking Dawn” ... Bella’s infant is ... a vampire! But it turns out she looks ... like a human! However, Bella’s soulmate runner-up Jacob ... falls in love with her!
In “American Horror Story” ... Vivien’s amnio results are ... totally normal! But it turns out she is ... having twins! And also ... more really headblastingly weird stuff is going to happen with those babies! (This is speculation on my part, but it seems valid given that there are still a few “Horror Story” episodes remaining this season.)
The Delivery of the Babies
In “Breaking Dawn” ... Bella delivers the child in a manner that involves surreal imagery, high drama, copious amounts of blood and a near-death experience.
In “American Horror Story” ... Vivien hasn’t given birth yet. But I predict that if and when it happens, it will be epically bizarro and grotesque in a way that makes “Breaking Dawn” look like an outtake from Hugh Grant’s “Nine Months.” I can’t wait.