It's been a decade since American Horror Story debuted with its first season, now called Murder House, and since then the series has seen multiple seasons follow it — the series begins its tenth season, Double Feature, next week — as well as spinoffs, including American Horror Stories, which just ended its first season. Dylan McDermott, who played Dr. Ben Harmon in the very first season of American Horror Story, made an appearance in the Stories season finale and now, the actor is looking back at having played the iconic character for a decade and how Ben has evolved — or hasn't.
"I mean, it's been 10 years. Can you imagine? I mean, 10 years. What I was most excited about was that I still fit into my costume," McDermott joked to ComicBook.com. "My sizes had not changed, which to me that was a triumph. But no, in all seriousness, it was great coming back to play Ben. I wanted to heighten his torture. Obviously, he's been a very tortured guy for so long. And now he's drinking and smoking. He's easiest trying to find some kind of relief in his day, because every day he's crying. He's got Vivian who is just always mad at them. He's got the newborn. He's got Tate, who's just a mad man. I just wanted to have him elevate the torture that is Ben Harmon."
Even with wanting to elevate his character's torture, McDermott still had a bit of fun as well. In American Horror Story, the character became known for his rather unusual habit of masturbating while crying, something that has become a running joke through all of McDermott's appearances as Ben in the AHS universe. And yes, McDermott thinks the joke is funny, even when it was mentioned again in Stories.
"There's memes everywhere, me crying all over the Internet. I think it's funny personally. It's just hilarious that, that's become who Ben Harmon is," he said. "So yeah, you have to put it in there. It was there in Apocalypse as well. It was there and in the beginning of Murder House. So I think it's hilarious. I mean, that's what he's famous for. That's just fun. It's crazy, so that's his torture. That will always be Ben Harmon's torture."
But after a decade of being stuck in the Murder House, while Ben has had some evolution, his very specific form of torture notwithstanding, McDermott thinks that while Ben tries really hard, as a character he always sort of ends up back in the same spot and it makes him interesting to play.
"I think that Ben tries. I mean, obviously, he's a psychiatrist. I'm not saying it's a good psychiatrist, but he's a psychiatrist. So he can analyze maybe too much, but he's also a narcissist," McDermott said. "So does he blame himself? Not much. So I think he's caught in the loop of blaming others than himself, and that's why he keeps getting in trouble. So has he evolved emotionally, psychologically, spiritually in these years? Yes. I feel like with him, he takes two steps ahead, and then one step back, but he seemingly always ends up at the same spot. He's always in trouble. Always people are mad at him. He's always kind of tried to hide, run away. And so, it's an interesting guy to play, because he doesn't really evolve that much."
American Horror Stories is now streaming on FX on Hulu. American Horror Story: Double Feature debuts August 25th on FX.