Scream Queens Surprises Viewers with Its Sass Rather than Its Gore


Story by Valeria Munoz, Copy Editor

With her color-coordinated outfits, potentially dangerous temper tantrums, and extremely complicated Starbucks order, Emma Robert’s character, Chanel, made quite an entrance on our television screens.  Scream Queens shows Chanel and her minions: Chanel #2, Chanel #3 and Chanel #5 (Ariana Grande, Billie Lourd, and Abigail Breslin) as they engage in ridiculous sorority traditions and mischief. It was created by Ian Falchuck, Ryan Murphy, and Ian Brennan. Chanel is the leader of Kappa Kappa Tau, a coveted sorority with a questionable legacy. In order to maintain her prestigious group, she must allow unique and quirky pledges to join the KKT under the command of Cathy Munsch, the new dean on campus played by Jaime Lee Curtis. The pledges include Glee protagonist Lea Michelle, breakout actress Skyler Samuels, Keke Palmer, Whitney Mayer, and Breezy Eslin. Grace Gardner, Skyler Samuels’ character, is the classic underdog and cute girl next door. However, once she realizes the KKT is being targeted by a serial killer disguised as a devil, Grace decides to take matters into her own hands to figure out the devil’s true identity. For fans of Pretty Little Liars, the show mimics the “Who’s the killer?” aspect and is designed to make the mystery impossible to figure out. Although in contrast to PLL, the horror scenes are less sugarcoated and rather graphic. The show had high expectations with Nick Jonas and Ariana Grande joining its all-star cast.

Scream Queens balances horror with comedic bits of unapologetic humor. It also pays tribute to MTV’s Scream franchise but maintains the character’s aloofness throughout the plot twists and turns. Featuring songs through the decades such as TLC’s Chasing Waterfalls and a track from the Sixteen Candles soundtrack, the show was able to attract older audiences with its throwback music choices. Flashbacks to the nineties, when a campus death struck the Kappa Kappa Tau house are also employed to hook viewers’ interest by unraveling a richer backstory and complex plot later on in the season.

The show seems to be a social commentary not just on millennials but aslo modern human interactions as a whole.  Although Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee, has since received backlash for the edgy dialogue of his characters, mainly Chanel, it doesn’t seem like he is trying to glorify their speech but rather criticize it. In a perfect world, mean girls wouldn’t exist; nowadays anti-bullying campaigns are getting closer to that goal. However, perhaps the reason viewers cringe at Chanel’s antics is because she gives an accurate and realistic portrayal of the people viewers may deal with on a daily basis. Jamie Lee Curtis’ character as the dean offers a grownups reaction to a technological generation who can’t seem to “face adversity.”

Instead of breaking down Murphy’s contemporary reflection on today’s complex mannerisms, one should utilize the show to question our day to day habits. Technology also plays a huge role in the show as one of the character’s deaths is announced through Twitter rather comically.  Therefore, this should lead people to consider the negative effects of social networks and realize that they are desensitizing us to reality and to each other.  Granted Scream Queens is an edgier show than people are used to nowadays but critics shouldn’t label it as offensive just yet. After all its talented cast shows a lot of promise in leading the show to make an impact in society and making it mean something. This show is characteristic of Ryan Murphy, outside of the box and raw. Therefore, people shouldn’t rush to dismiss Scream Queens for its capacity to make its audience think and reflect.

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