The engravers who etch winners' names on Emmy statues might as well start practicing "Darren Criss" now, since his terrifying performance as Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Storywill likely make all other nominees want to just stay home. He's spellbinding, and deserves all the accolades for transforming into a homicidal madman. He is also the vessel through which another unsung Versace star blesses all who bear witness, and that star is Darren Criss' magnificent ass. Darren Criss' ass deserves its own Emmy, Golden Globe and whatever other awards are available. Had Darren Criss farted in Versace, that ass would deserve a Grammy.
Versace viewers first behold Criss' beautiful booty in the premiere, when Andrew barges into his BFF's husband's closet and dramatically drops the towel at his waist. Seismologists now attribute tremors felt all across the United States when the episode aired Jan. 17 to the collective "Oooh," women, men and household pets cooed that night when the towel fell. At this point in the show, Andrew has already proven himself despicable and dangerous; viewers have seen him murder Gianni Versace and, in a flashback, "borrow" somebody else's clothes to con his way into Gianni's pants. But that caboose was as lovely and radiant as a midnight moon. Who could resist? Bell Biv Devoe's wise axiom "Never trust a big butt and a smile," never felt so critical, so resonant.
L'ass Criss — which really should be the name of a sparkling wine infused with apple and pear, adorned with Criss' butt on the bottle — materializes again in Episode 2, albeit cloaked by bikini bottoms when Andrew showers on the beach and then prances around a hotel room taunting the geezer he's wrapped in duct tape. Darren Criss has an A-plus prancing game, it should be noted, and it's here that his buns do some of their finest scene work. They say so much with no words at all.
Pieces of clothing from standout TV events such as this one often become part of exhibitions, or go into the private collections of people whose staggering wealth drove them insane. Neither option works in this instance. Those bikini bottoms should be destroyed, because no matter what they do next in life, they'll never again reach a pinnacle equal to playing Best Supporting Garment to those buttocks. Only the Gerber baby's cheeks have contributed more to the rich tapestry of American culture.
And yet. All this was a mere passing fanny — sorry, fancy — to what that booty did in Episode 6, "Descent." This is the hour Criss' butt will submit for awards consideration. It owns every pixel of the screen after Andrew sashays into his sugar daddy's house and then disrobes in the elegant, silky manner of a troubled jazz chanteuse. As Andrew saunters to the balcony, Criss' bottom finally gets to demonstrate its entire suite of talents; the ass is confident, tender and all-knowing as it surveys the territory below, like the Daenerys Targaryen of donks. A close-up before Andrew dives into the pool reveals the levels of its perfection, the depth of information it's able to convey on its smooth, unblemished canvas. One last wide shot of Andrew standing at the edge of the opulent terrace depicts L'ass Criss in repose, as he flaunts cakes that would've made Michelangelo look at his own work and cry, "It's all wrong, demolish everything!" That ass is a classic — the kind in the art history books Versace devoured and would've wanted shot by Richard Avedon for a campaign — and shows it's capable of tragedy, comedy or anything else story demands. That ass has range. Have we seen the last of it? It doesn't matter. Episode 9 depicts Andrew's suicide. Nobody needs to see that ass end up that way; instead, let us remember the good times, and be glad we got to witness its splendor in the brief time we did.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.