Scream Queens: “Pilot” / “Hell Week” Review
Scream Queens Season 1 Episodes 1 & 2
“YOU’RE SO CONFIDENT WITHOUT BEING MEAN. WHAT ANTIDEPRESSANTS ARE YOU ON?”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
Scream Queens boldly bursts through the doors and proclaims what it is with no f***s given. This is a horror-comedy show, with the writing and acting soaring in the comedic department and the horror falling short. Even with its weaker counterpart, the tones mesh well together. The gore is as basic as a pumpkin spice latte with burned milk, but the death scenes are all memorable and hilarious, if not campy. This story begins in the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority house in 1995, with the former queens and co. “Chasing Waterfalls.” Things go awry when one of the sisters unexpectedly gives birth and dies soon after. In lieu of the girl’s death, the sisters stand firm in their mean girl personas, still hurling insults around the room. Flash forward to 2015, and KKT is still run by the same ‘ol mean-spirited, high maintenance, narcissistic type of girls.
Emma Roberts’s Chanel No. 1 is the catalyst for Scream Queens’ “here I am, deal with it” attitude. The show is brash and downright rude with its comedy. The jokes are racist, sexist, homophobic and many other non-pc friendly labels, but it’s the over-the-top delivery of said jokes that begs no other action outside of laughter. The cast is many in numbers, but each member gets their distinct moments which keeps these characters from getting flushed into the background. From the off, bodies begin to drop (and possibly rise) in hilarious fashion, of course. This is brought about by someone (or someones) dressed in the school’s devil mascot costume going around putting knives in people’s necks all willy nilly. Guest star Ariana Grande’s Chanel No. 2 was taken out, but not without a warning via text message. She even got the chance to respond “wait whaaaat???!” after being texted that she was about to be killed by the devil standing right in front of her. When a character gets stabbed, texts the killer to stop and warns her Twitter followers that she’s being killed, you can bet that show is going to get me to watch.
Scream Queen is peppered with fun characters. Niecy Nash plays Denise Hempville, a cowardly yet rational security guard who really must know why people have knives in their necks. Nasim Pedrad plays an alumna of KKT by the name of Gigi Caldwell, whose psyche is stuck in the 90s, causing her to have a knack for decades old fashion and esoteric playlists. More noteworthy, though, is Dean Cathy Munsch, played by Jamie Lee Curtis. There’s a list of suspects and cheesy nods to who might be the killer, and Munsch, a vocal hater of KKT, is on that list. She’s a hard-edged, takes-no-s*** dean who wants to uphold the name of the campus. KKT is a stain on its reputation, and it wouldn’t be a shock if she’d be willing to kill to shut these girls down.
On the student’s side of the cast, there’s Grace and Zayday, played by Skyler Samuels and Keke Palmer, respectively. The two are roommates and have great chemistry together. The two are also the more normal of the cast, which makes them sore thumbs in this world of caricatures. They both pledge KKT, which brings all of our main players into the fold. Hester (Glee’s Lea Michele) is a funny-to-watch psycho whose quips are a hot button for the dialogue. She gets labeled “Neckbrace” given that she wears one coupled with a style not even her mother can love. Along with “Neckbrace,” there’s also “Deaf Taylor Swift” and “Predatory Lez,” all mean names given unsurprisingly by Chanel No. 1. Nick Jonas as Boone is also a fun character to watch throughout this extended premiere. His character has the hots for his bro Chad, who seems to attract every living organism (including Dean Munsch).
There’s a lot happening in Scream Queens, and enough is set up here to ride out until the end of the season. There’s tons of mystery, but it’s mystery that doesn’t try to be complex. This show is aware and proud of what it is. The “Pilot” / “Hell Week” mash-up was a necessity here, as there’s a lot of exposition to get through and a plethora of characters to explore. With that, though, it’s not clear as to whose story this is: Chanel’s or Grace’s. I hope the following episodes decide whether this is a story about a mad sorority president turned good, a story about a girl trying to connect with her dead mother while solving a mystery or possibly a well-balanced telling of both. There are tons of questions that need answering such as, “Are there multiple killers”? “Is Ms. Bean dead”? and “Are plants really attracted to Chad”? We’ll just have to wait on those, but if the show can keep up with the wonderful writing, and explore then eventually kill its funny characters, Scream Queens will find its way to my screen each week.
Will Boone still get jealous? Are all things fair game in comedy? Tweet me @NerdDotMe. Also, be sure to follow us @YouNerded.
*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
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