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Jimmy Darling is the illegitimate son of Dell Toledo and Ethel Darling. He is a character in Freak Show portrayed by Evan Peters. His condition, ectrodactyly, earned him the stage name "Lobster Boy."[1][2]

Background

Jimmy's deformity has been exploited all his life, beginning with paid admission to witness the spectacle of his birth.

Personality and Appearance

Jimmy is an attractive young man with intense dark brown eyes, short, dirty blonde hair. He favors wearing a white tank top with overalls or motorcycle leathers. 

Jimmy is very charming and has a strong affection for his fellow freaks and is loyal to those close to him. However, he despises those who see his kind as nothing more than freaks and fights for their acceptance as regular people. He also dreams of being able to leave the freak show and live a normal life.

Story

The 'monsters' of Elsa's freak show consider themselves family but that had a more literal meaning for Jimmy, with his strongman father, bearded mother, and hermaphrodite stepmother[3]. He was handsome and rebellious. With gloved hands, he was quite the charmer of young women. Ungloved he supplemented his income by offering unique sexual services to desperate local housewives.

He was disappointed in the failing sideshow business and angered by society's treatment of his kind. He wanted to leave the carnie life and live off the land. However, after saving Bette and Dot Tattler from arrest by slitting the throat of a detective, he rallied the carnies into a greater bond.[4]

With the police on high alert for one of their own as well as the one responsible for a spree of murders and kidnappings, Jimmy became worried about covering up his crimes and remorseful about taking a life. He began to consider a more compassionate and civil approach to seeking society's acceptance. With the aid of Paul and Eve, he enters the detective's dismembered body for incineration and secures the policeman's badge to find another means of disposal.

Jimmy shot down Dandy Mott's desire to join the troupe by assuring him that it wasn't the life for him and expressing envy for Dandy's affluence and lack of deformity. He was far more encouraging to Dot whom, after Bette revealed her inability to carry a tune, he encouraged to overcome stage-fright and sing with a voice that made both her sister and employer turn green with jealousy.

In his efforts at societal integration, Jimmy brought his fellow freaks into Jupiter for lunch at the local diner. This didn't go over well with the staff and patrons, and things just got worse at the arrival of Dell, who chastised them for the public spectacle's detriment to box office. Jimmy's recalcitrance only resulted in him getting publicly beaten by Dell. Humiliated, Jimmy sought the aid of Elsa in taking Dell down. He secured her trust by confessing his murder of the detective to protect the twins and played to her vanity by revealing the subordinate billing Dell gave her on the show's flyer. They conspire to frame Dell for the murder by planting the badge in his trailer. Unfortunately, the strongman figured out the plan and turns the tables, resulting in the arrest of Meep. The geek's arrest, subsequent murder in a jail cell, and disposal at the fairgrounds leaves Jimmy's spirit broken.[5]

After the arrival of fortune teller Maggie Esmerelda, Jimmy appears to be smitten with her. He attempts to kiss her but she denies his advance. Embarrassed, he chastises himself for hoping that a normal girl, especially one so beautiful, could love a "freak" like him. In the following episode, "Bullseye", when Maggie asks him to run away with her, the two kiss and he agrees to go anywhere with her, but only after he first visits Dandy.[6]

Jimmy visits Dandy Motts' house where he sees the twins, who are eating a banana split on the couch. Gloria states that the twins can leave whenever they want. With this in mind, Jimmy tells the the twins that they know something isn't right with Dandy and that they should come back to the Freak Show with him. Bette, who is in love with Dandy, doesn't want to leave as she has been living luxuriously. Dot convinces her to leave and they leave with Bette saying "I choose my sister, always."[7]

Back at the Freak Show, Jimmy performs a song for Elsa which he demands be in the show. Then after Elsa says, "Remember who you're talking to," he replies, "I know exactly who I'm talking to: a liar." He confronts her about the twins and Elsa says they "ran off" but Jimmy is quick to remark and says, "We heard your story, I think it's time we heard theirs." The twins walk out and tell Jimmy he misunderstood them and that Elsa did it as a favor for them.

Jimmy is shocked by this and returns to his tent were he is seen cuddling with Maggie in their underwear. Maggie brings up running away and says "they're never going to leave this place" but Jimmy says they will, it just wasn't the right moment.

Dell Toledo takes Jimmy out to a bar to drink, which makes Jimmy so sick that he begins vomiting outside the bar. Dell is about to take advantage of this situation to kill Jimmy and deliver his hands to Stanley, but Jimmy says he knows Dell is his father, and the two reconcile.

Jimmy returns to a Tupperware party after Ethel's death, but in his drunken stupor, he hallucinates that one of the guests is Ethel and starts crying in her lap, making her and the other guests uncomfortable, and then leaves. Dandy arrives shortly after to murder the party guests and then later frames Jimmy for the murders. The police arrive at the camp to arrest Jimmy and take him to prison.

While in prison, Jimmy is visited by Stanley, who offers to arrange for the best lawyer to defend him and get him out of prison, but makes it clear that Jimmy will be responsible for payment. Jimmy states that he doesn't have the money to pay for a lawyer, but Stanley suggests cutting off one of his hands and selling it to the American Morbidity Museum to pay the lawyers' fees. Reluctantly, Jimmy agrees but awakens to find both of his hands have been removed. Dell later arrives and tells Jimmy that Stanley meant to defraud Jimmy, and he promises to get him out. Later, Dell and Amazon Eve break Jimmy out of a police transport vehicle and bring him back to the camp.

Jimmy is recovering in seclusion when Elsa offers to bring in the same man who fashioned her prosthetic legs to make him a pair of prosthetic hands. He initially refuses Maggie's care, but reluctantly changes his mind at Elsa's insistence. Eventually, he receives a pair of prosthetic hands, made in the same shape as his lobster hands, and he says, "They're perfect." [8]

After Dandy purchases the show from Elsa, he gets into a fight with Paul, which results in Dandy massacring most of the freaks, with the exception of Jimmy, Desiree, and the twins. After the twins participate in a sham wedding to Dandy, Desiree and Jimmy infiltrate the Mott mansion under the guise of being the new maid and butler respectively. They proceed to poison Dandy and trap him in an escape tank, where they drown him on stage in the big tent while watching from the audience section.

Later, in 1960, Jimmy and the twins are living together, where the twins are pregnant with Jimmy's baby. On Halloween, they are watching Elsa Mars' Halloween special on television from their living room. [9]

Inspiration

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Stiles as a young boy

Jimmy Darling was inspired by Sideshow performer Grady Stiles Jr"the Lobster Man".  Stiles gained this nickname as his hands were deformed by ectrodactyly which made them resemble  claws or flippers. In Stiles case, the deformity was extreme enough to resemble lobster claws rather than human hands (Jimmy's hands greatly resemble Stiles').

Several generations of Stiles' family had the condition and preformed in sideshows billed as "the Lobster Man".  When Stiles was born in 1937, he was severely affected by the condition. His feet were badly deformed which rendered them useless. Stiles had to drag himself with his hands and his arms which in turn gave him immense upper body strength. He was also incorporated into the show from a young age often billed as the "Lobster Boy" and then as "Lobster Man".

Stiles was an abusive and bitter man. He was married twice and had four children. He was a violent alcoholic who often would use his incredible strength to beat his wives and children. In 1978, his oldest daughter married a young man that Stiles didn't approve of. An altercation occurred and Stiles murdered the young man by shooting him with a shotgun. Stiles confessed to the murder in court but was released due to the prison being unequipped to deal with his "disabilities". Stiles grew arrogant after getting away with the murder. His beatings resumed and he began to brag about the murder. By 1992, his long suffering family had enough and hired a fellow sideshow performer to assassinate Stiles. The assassination was successful and Stiles was killed with three bullets to the head.

Quotes

  • Jimmy Darling: "All we've ever wanted was a place where we could feel safe and be just the way we are. But no one is going to hand it to us. We're going to have to rise up and take it!"
  • Jimmy: "They want to call us monsters? Fine, we'll act like monsters!"
  • To Dandy: "You know what I wouldn't give to have real hands like yours? To be able to touch a girl without scaring her? From where I'm sitting you got the world on a string. So, you go home to your mansion on the hill, and you thank God for all you got."
  • To Tupperware Partygoer (seductively): "Don't worry. I don't bite. Come here, baby."

Notes

Gallery

References

  1. EW, American Horror Story at Comic-Con, Freak Show' cast announced, July 26, 2014
  2. Tv Line, American Horror Story: Matt Bomer's 'Disturbing' Debut, a Hellish Halloween and More Freak Show Scoops, Oct 4, 2014
  3. As she believed and was billed
  4. Episode: Monsters Among Us
  5. Episode: Massacres and Matinees
  6. Episode: Pink Cupcakes
  7. Episode: Test of Strength
  8. Episode: Show Stoppers
  9. Episode: Curtain Call
 

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