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ON TV: “SCREAM QUEENS” IS ALL LAUGHS, MURDER, & SELF-AWARENESS

Article by: Jordan Mejia-Prieto

 

EPISODE 1: “Pilot”

So who else thought that Scream Queens was going to be the first new show of the fall to get axed? Or that this would be the worst show of the fall? Or just a cheap rip-off/combination of American Horror Story, Heathers, and Scream?

Now how many of you were wrong?

After the premiere episode there is one thing that is for sure: Scream Queens is anything but a rip-off, rather a self-aware, hysterical, bloody thrill ride that not only delivers some of the greatest lines on TV, but some of the greatest moments as well.

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The story of Scream Queens begins in 1995, when the sorority girls of Kappa Kappa Tau throws a huge party only to find that one of their pledges haven given birth in a bathtub. Upset that she will ruin the party, “looking all postpartum” the sorority sisters leave her in the bathtub so they can jam to their song, TLC’s “Waterfalls.” As they return, they find the girl dead in the bathtub with another sorority sister holding the baby.

Flash forward to 2015, where we meet the new president of Kappa Kappa Tau at Wallace University, Chanel Oberlin  or Chanel #1 (Emma Roberts) who is a ruthless, vindictive bitch. After meeting Chanel #1, we meet her minions: Chanel #2 (Ariana Grande), Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) and Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin) as well as the house nanny, Ms. Bean or “White Mammy” as Chanel #1 refers to her.

However, things are not a calm as they appear. Chanel #1 is summoned by, recently promoted, Dean Cathy Munsch, (Jamie Lee Curtis) who seems to deeply hate everything sororities stand for. Apparently the year before, Chanel #1 was allegedly involved in the gruesome murder of former KKT president, Melanie Dorkus, after her tanning oil was replaced with hydrochloric acid. It is also the first time the audience sees the Red Devil Killer. Chanel #1 is told by the Dean that KKT will be disbanded as a sorority, however thanks to Kappa Kappa Tau chief Gig Cadwell (Nasim Padrad), whose psyche is stuck in the 90s, she tells Dean Munsch that it’s not up to her and Gigi tells Chanel #1 not to worry.

In comes freshman and pseudo-sleuth, Grace Gardner (Skyler Samuels) and her dad, Wes Gardner (Oliver Hudson) who are headed to Wallace University. During their car ride we learn that Wes is a single dad who lost his wife when Grace was just two, and that her mother used to be a KKT member, which is why she wants to join KKT, to feel closer to her mom. After unpacking and saying goodbye, Grace meets her roommate and fellow KKT pledge, Zayday

Williams (Keke Palmer), who instantly click.

Some of the other character introduced include: Chanel #1’s on-off boyfriend, member of the Dickie Dollar Scholars frat, egomanaic Chad Radwell (Glen Powell), Chad’s best friend and fellow Dickie Dollar Scholar member Boone Clemens (Nick Jonas) and sophomore, journalist and KKT-hater Pete Martinez (Diego Boneta).

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On the first night of pledge week, Dean Munsch and Gigi announce to all the girls, that anyone who is enrolled at Wallace will be given the opportunity to rush, aka the doors are open to all, freaks included. It’s here we meet the rest of the  KKT pledges or as Chanel #1 calls them “gashes”: Hester Ulrich/Neckbrace (Lea Michele), Tiffany/Deaf Taylor Swift (Whitney Meyer) and “Predatory Lez; real name Mac or Butch or something” (Jeanna Han) and Jennifer (Breezy Eslin) who has a deep obsession with candles. Not wanting any of these gashes to join the sorority, Chanel #1 plans to fake Ms. Bean’s death by dunking her head into a deep fryer to scare them off. Yet, when Chanel #1 finds a shrine in Mrs. Bean’s room with Chanel’s eyes scratched out, she goes forth with the plan but only planned to drown her. However, someone had turned on the fryer and when Chanel #1 dunks Mrs. Bean’s face, all the girls scream (because their Scream Queens) and Mrs. Bean comes out of the fryer ripping her own face off and collapsing on the floor. Scared, the sorority sisters and pledges take the body to the freezer and are all now bonded together by this secret.

Following, Mrs. Bean’s death, Grace runs to Pete, who has warned her of the evil things done at KKT, and tells him about Mrs. Bean’s death. Together they agree to help each other bring KKT down and the Chanels, in order to make KKT a better place. They go to examine the body together, but Chanel #1 and Chad beat them there only to find that the body is missing. Freaked out, Chanel #1 gathers her minions for a blood oath but Chanel #2 can’t take it and decides to go home.

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Chanel #2 is seen in her room packing her bag, when she gets a text from an unknown number, asking her if she’s brave enough to open the door. Just then knocks come from the door. Stupidly, she opens her bedroom door and standing there is the Red Devil Killer. He come in, closes the door, and like most Millennials, pulls out his phone to text Chanel #2 (who by the way is standing two feet away) if she wants to dance with the devil. She accepts and he dips her. (BTW, his text tone is a mischievous laugh, that perfectly sums up Scream Queens: scary but funny.) The Red Devil then texts that he’s going to kill her now; stupidly and hysterically she responds: “Wait, whhhaaatt?” and after he stabs her in the neck she texts: “Stop! Please stop!” Kicking him unconscious, Chanel #2 crawls towards her computer and begins tweeting that the Red Devil killer is murdering her, meanwhile the Red Devil rises and slowly walks towards Chanel #2 and finally stabbing her before she can send the tweet. Then, in the best moment on TV, Chanel #2 stays alive just long enough to wake up, click the ‘send tweet’ button and then finally die.

Why didn’t she call the police? Because Millennials are too obsessed with social media, and I’m sure this exact scene would play out the same way if it were real. C’mon, we all know those people over obsessed with social media and themselves. Now while some might find that scene completely ridiculous and out-of-the-blue, but personally, it’s genius. It highlights the absurdity of Millennials. These tech-obsessed, self-involved, narcissistic  assholes who don’t have enough common sense TO CALL THE POLICE WHILE BEING STABBED, but rather tweets.

The Chanels stumble on Chanel #2’s body and are convinced that Mrs. Bean has come back from the dead to get revenge. Deciding on what to do, the doorbell rings and as Chanel #3 says: “Hell week begins now.” However, Grace won’t take Chanel #1’s hazing and bullying and stands up to her; Chanel #1 decides to leave hell week in Chanel #5’s hands, so her and Grace talk it out while getting coffee. Yet, big surprise, Chanel #1 is a bitch and nothing is accomplished.

Back at the house, Chanel #5 and #3 bury the KKT pledges in the backyard up to their necks, and tell them they are tasked with staying there all night. As the night goes on, the pledges all fall asleep, but then something wakes the:. The Red Devil killer driving a lawn mower headed straight for them. Screaming at the top of their lungs, or in Deaf Taylor Swift’s case singing Tay-T, the girls are helpless and ultimately the Red Devil mows off Deaf Taylor Swift’s head. And in true Scream Queens fashion, after the Red Devil runs over Deaf Tay-T’s head, he does a very deliberate “score!” gesture.

 

Best Lines:

  • “Do you think you like to munch box because your last name is Munsch, or is that just a coincidence?” – Chanel #1 to Dean Munsch
  • “We have a side boob mixer, followed by a white party, where everyone is encouraged to be slash wear white.” – Gigi
  • “I am gonna barf on your face unless you get out of here.” – Dean to Chad
  • “How did you get HPV? When were you in Mexico?” – Chanel
  • “That girl was a bitch who thought she was all that because her family founded Olive Garden and she has no gag reflex.” – Chanel #1 about former KKT president, Melanie Dorkus
  • “Hello idiot hookers” – Chanel #1 to KKT pledges
  • “This is a nice neighborhood!” – Zayday

 

+ Clever, funny writing

+ Self-aware, not trying to be overly serious

+ Plays with classic slasher film tropes

+ Hysterical

+ Chanel #2/Ariana Grande’s death

+ Mowing the lawn

 

Ariana Grande’s voice

 

9.7/10

 

EPISODE 2: “Hell Week”

 

Picking up the following morning of Tiffany/Deaf Taylor Swift’s death, the paparazzi have flooded the KKT house asking what happened and who the killer is. Dean Munsch is on the scene in an attempt to quell fears of a serial killer on the loose and to inform us, “fro-yo is back in the cafeteria, after popular demand.” In order to keep the KKT sisters and pledges safe, Dean Munsch and Gigi decide that all the girls are to move into the house to look out for each other.

After, the remaining Chanels go back into Chanel #2’s room to decide what to do with her body. Chanel #5 suggests buying a pig and feeding the body to it, while Chanel #3 mentions “poop lagoons” as a good place to hide the body. Out of nowhere, Neckbrace appears behind them with an idea to dispose of the body, which includes burning off her hair and fingerprints, draining the blood in her body and then slowly putting her body through the food processor. Grossed out, Chanel #1 decides to leave the body in the freezer.

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In an attempt to keep the girls safer, Gigi decides to hire a security guard, Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) to stay outside and keep watch. Which, surely will result in her death or uselessness. Out of all the characters on the show, Denise Hemphill is by far the most stereotypical and least fleshed out; yet she is also the only “voice of reason” when it comes to killer. (More to come on Denise)

After meeting Denise, Hell Week continues as the pledges are tasked with scrubbing all the floors in the house. Running out of supplies, Grace offers to get more from the basement, where she accidentally finds a locked door behind the cleaning supplies. Curious, Grace tries to open the door, but Chanel #5 comes and tells her that only the resident of KKT has the key. Not giving up, Grace goes to meet with Pete to tell him what she found. They both agree that they have to break into the KKT basement, and Dean Munsch’s office in search of clues or anything related to KKT. In the heat of the moment, the two kiss (big surprise) and go off there separate ways.

The following day, Grace’s dad, Wes meets with Dean Munsch after growing concerned about his daughter, while Dean Munsch is concerned with trying to get into his pants. Wes demands a job from Dean Munsch to keep an eye out for Grace. Meanwhile, Grace cuts the lock to the basement door, where she finds the bathtub in which the girl died in 20 years previously. Sneaking up on her, Chanel #1 tells Grace that all of KKT secrets are kept down in the basement, including the fact that Dean Munsch helped cover up the girl’s death. For hating sororities so much, I’m surprised she didn’t use this as a way to put an end to them.

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Personally, I find the relationships of the girls the least interesting, with the exception of Chad, who is sleeping with Chanel #1 and Dean Munsch. But even then I can’t stand him sometimes. Later that night, Chad and Chanel #1 are getting it on, when he stupidly says he want’s to “choke her dead corpse” leaving Chanel creeped out and her breaking up with Chad. After leaving the KKT house, Chad goes home where his BFF Boone is sleeping only to wake as Chad enters. It’s here we learn that Boone is secretly gay, which would not bode well with his other frats brothers, other than Chad. With all the murderer on the loose, Boone asks Chad if he can come join him in bed since he’s scared; Chad agrees but says to Boone, “you can’t touch my weiner.” Passed out, Chad and Boone don’t hear a whiny, desperate Chanel #1 trying to win Chad back, but walks in on them sleeping and learns about Boone’s sexuality.

In the meantime, Pete breaks into Dean Munsch’s office using a glass cutter to unlock the door, however as it would be in real life (more than likely) the glass breaks as he puts his hand through. He searches through her files and finds the last names of the girls involved in the bathtub incident. Before he could get more info, the Red Devil killer sneaks up on him and knocks him out. Waking up, Pete finds himself hanging outside a building with a note saying: “MYOB” or “mind your own business.” Pete and Grace meet up later to compare notes and as they are talking, Grace opens his wardrobe only to find the Red Devil costume hanging there. She automatically assumes he’s the killer, since he not only has the costume but also a hatred for KKT and Chanel #1 as well as being the same age the baby would be. But honestly Grace! Do you know how many students are roughly 20 years old in college?  For being so smart and sleuthy, her common sense isn’t all that strong.

Meanwhile, the Chanels are thinking of ways to torture the pledges durng Hell Week, when Boone walks up to them. He wants Chanel #1 not to tell anyone that he’s gay because he wants to come out on his own as well as join KKT, since they have to accept everyone. Yet this doesn’t go over too well with Chanel #5, who thinks he will “steal all of their expensive make-up and toiletries” and threatens to destroy him; while Chanel #1 thinks its genius since she wants to be on TV and the industry is “chock full of gays.”

Later that night, Denis and her friend are sitting outside the KKT house, along with Grace’s dad. Not wanting to embarrass her, Gigi decides to go talk to him, which leads to them weirdly hitting it off due to Wes’ CD filled with 90s male power ballads (aka right up Gigi’s lane). As the two leave for coffee, the Chanels are inside hazing the pledges by writing rude phrases on their stomach and making them take mayo shots. Chanel #1 leaves to get white eyeliner to write on Zayday (God Chanel #1 is a total bitch) when she starts screaming bloody murder. Rushing from outside, Denise comes in a learns that Chanel #1 was almost killed by the Red Devil in her room, but narrowly escaped. Stupidly, all the girls want to go back upstairs to find the killer; while Denise (being the voice of reason) points out that it would be stupid to chase after the killer rather than call the police and wait. Yet, being stupid, all the girls follow Chanel #4 upstairs only to find the bedroom empty and a message on the wall: “Sluts will die.” Denise, on the other hand, runs out the house back to her sleeping friend in the car, only to find a knife lodged in her throat; panicking Denise bolts out of there and leaves her dead friend Shandelle in the street.

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What I assume is later that night, Boone is working out in his room when the Red Devil appears, unfazed by his presence Boone asks, “What am I supposed to be scared?” Moments later, a scream come from downstairs and the guys of Dickie Dollar Scholars find Boone with his throat slit. Back at KKT, the girls are having dinner where they have to drink Chanel #1’s dirty hand water, things are interrupted when Denise and Chad come in to tell them that not only is Boone dead, but Shandelle’s body is missing. However, not everything is as it appears. The final scene shows the Red Devil killer going to the morgue, pulling out Boone’s dead body. Then out of nowhere, Boone wakes up and says, “What took you so long?” and leaves.

Clearly there is some sort of conspiracy going on involving the KKTs and possibly the school. It is also very clear that the Red Devil killer is more than one person, but who those people are is still a mystery, as well as why they are murdering certain students.

 

Best Lines:

  • “It’ll be fun, like a Friends episode… but someone’s trying to murder all the Friends.” – Gigi
  • “Private like the parts of a man that you like to put in your mouth?” – Chanel #1 to Boone
  • “Shandell, why you gotta knife through your throat?” – Denise
  • “He’s your gay bro who has a big boner for you! Why don’t you go in there and ogle his big ‘ol broner?” – Chanel #1 to Chad about Boone’s boner or broner

 

+ Dean Munsch playing cover-up

+ Boone RIP?

+ Emma Roberts as Chanel #1

+ Mystery thickens

 

Relationships

Too slow, after last episode

 

8/10

 

Jordan Mejia-Prieto
Jordan is an entertainment junkie with a deep love for film and television. He spends most of his time keeping up to date with the latest film or tv news and loves to get into lengthy discussions about the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Oscar season.
http://www.jordanmpproductions.squarespace.com/

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