Nerdy Artie no more.
Glee alum Kevin McHale is almost unrecognizable in his latest role for Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's American Horror Story spinoff, American Horror Stories. In the fourth episode, titled "The Naughty List," McHale plays influencer Barry, a member of the attention-seeking Bro House.
What is Bro House you ask? Well, it's clearly inspired by influencer collectives like Jake Paul's Team 10 or Chase "Lil Huddy" Hudson's Hype House. Similar to these popular groups, each member of the Bro House—including Zinn (Nico Greetham), Wyatt (Charles Melton) and James (Dyllón Burnside)—serves a particular role.
Where Barry is the behind-the-camera tech guy, Zinn is the fame-obsessed leader willing to do whatever it takes to gain views. Now, before you start thinking you have déjà vu, McHale exclusively revealed to E! News that their AH Stories roles were "loosely" inspired by real-life influencers.
"We all did extensive research," he said. "There wasn't one TikToker in particular. It was just sort of watching a lot of those Sway House and this house and that house guys, and spending time watching the YouTube videos, how they interact with each other, what they do—or what they show the world that they do."
Despite being a genuine fan of TikTok and the platform's creators, McHale admitted that he and co-star Greetham were nervous to channel some of the industry's more controversial influencers. We're, of course, talking about the obvious parallels between Greetham's character and YouTube sensation Logan Paul.
For those who've yet to tune in, the Bro House members face cancelation after Zinn convinces his peers to film a man jumping off a bridge, which is somewhat similar to the controversy Paul faced in December 2017.
Specifically, after the YouTube star paid a visit to Aokigahara, a Japanese forest that is referred to as the "suicide forest" due to its reputation for being a suicide site, he uploaded footage that appeared to feature a dead body. Following immense backlash, Paul took down the video and issued several apologies.
So, for anyone who has found themselves frustrated with influencers, McHale made it clear that this episode is for you. "I did like to, sort of, be able to act out some of those more controversial or ethically questionable things," he added. "Because people still do them. The Logan Pauls of the world are still successful, somehow, and this felt like a TikToker revenge fantasy."
Without giving too much away, the Bro House members experience a karmic end after trying to save their reputation by wreaking havoc at Santa's Village in a mall. (HINT: Danny Trejo dishes out the justice in a killer Santa suit.)
And, while the leads had some initial reservations about their unlikable characters, McHale said they became a support system for one another during production, concluding, "I think when you're pushed to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, like being this douchey, it makes you have to support and lean on each other."
New American Horror Stories episodes arrive Thursdays on FX on Hulu.