- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 09 December 2015
- Written by BRIDGET NOCERA | STAFF WRITER
Like many Ryan Murphy shows before it, Scream Queens is not perfect. The man who created Glee and American Horror Story does not exactly know how to make a fast-paced, plot-driven series, when to tone down the camp, and struggles at times to find coherent endings to the series he helms. But Scream Queens, FOX’s comedy-horror series that just wrapped its first season on Dec. 8, reaches levels of hilarity and campiness that is nothing more than pure fun, and seems to have the potential to be Murphy’s best show yet.
The show follows the sorority sisters and pledges of Kappa Kappa Tau of Wallace University, an exclusive group that only accepts the richest, prettiest, and most popular of girls. The new president, Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts), runs the sorority with her wealth, style, unmatched meanness, and her minions, Chanel #2 to Chanel #5. Yet when Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) decides that KKT has to accept all of their pledges, no matter how nerdy or lame, all hell breaks loose. Of course, that is not where the story ends. The audience is reminded of a mysterious death that occurred in the sorority house 20 years ago, which may have something to do with the serial killer on the loose at Wallace. Known as the Red Devil, due to their creepy, full body devil costume, this killer seems to only have an interest in the girls of KKT and the people around them.
A serial killer terrorizing a bunch of sorority girls is not a new story by any means. But what makes Scream Queens so fun to watch is how quick and witty it is when it comes to nonstop jokes. Each character talks so fast that it’s almost hard to keep up, which allows for every silly, crude, ridiculous remark to hit the audience so fast that they cannot help but pay attention. The comedy element works perfectly for the show, allowing it to be as campy and over the top as it can be. It does not try to push dramatic elements like Glee, or even try to truly scare the audience and fail, like American Horror Story. It knows that it’s a show to entertain and make someone laugh, and it completes that job to a T.
The show also boasts a fantastic cast that is game for anything thrown at them. Curtis is perfect as the prideful dean of the university who can be just as mean-spirited and conniving as the sorority girls she hates so much. It’s a fun, interesting role, and Curtis plays it just right without chewing the scenery. Niecy Nash as Denise Hemphill, a private security guard hired to protect KKT despite not exactly being a pro at her job, is also an unexpected delight. She has perfect comedic timing, and bounces off each character she interacts with expertly. Despite only being a recurring character, she stands out in every scene she’s in. Finally, Glen Powell as Chad Radwell, Chanel’s popular, stereotypical fraternity boyfriend, is excellent, making what should be the most hated character on the show incredibly entertaining to watch, and even likeable at times. Chad is ridiculous in every action he does and in every word that comes out of his mouth, and Powell is not afraid to do whatever it takes to make the character believable.
It’s hard not to see that the best thing about Scream Queens is its eccentric, original, and hilarious characters. Which is exactly why when it tries to push its plot along, which heavily involves the show’s few boring characters, the show stalls. The central mystery does have an intriguing premise: what happened on that fateful night 20 years ago, and is the Red Devil involved? This mystery is put into the hands of Grace Gardner (Skyler Samuels), a boring, self-righteous sorority pledge who is only interested in the case because she feels it might involve her. She pairs up with Pete Martinez (Diego Boneta), a reporter for the school newspaper with a creepy past and an unabashedly annoying personality. Samuels and Boneta are great actors with solid chemistry, yet with a plot and mystery that takes numerous episodes to crack open and much more interesting characters on the backburner, it’s hard to find stay interested in their scenes.
Despite its few setbacks, for anyone looking for an interesting comedy that is completely unafraid to be campy and strange, Scream Queens will be the show for you. The only element that remains to be seen is whether Murphy and company will bungle the ending, in which he has proclaimed that only four characters will survive. Hopefully, they will reveal the season-long mystery of who truly is the Red Devil, and we have some satisfying ends for these characters.
Glee and American Horror Story both have spotty track records when it comes to finales, but with Scream Queens being able to stand out as much more fun and unexpected than its predecessors, audiences might finally get a solid ending. If not, its hard to disregard such an enjoyable debut season overall.
image taken from variety.com