TV Series Review
Some people think of sororities as vacuous institutions for pampered, privileged and morally challenged undergrads, useful only to instruct a girl on what shade of lipstick she should wear to an all-night drinking party.
But if you find the right one, sororities can be pretty killer. Literally.
Kappa Kappa Tau is the most elite and decadent sorority at Wallace University. Or, at least, it was before a serial killer started offing all the pledges. Queen bee Chanel Oberlin makes time to mock her fellow sisters between slaughters, while newcomer Grace Gardner tries to wrest control of the house from Chanel and restore it to what she imagines are its kinder, gentler roots.
Fat chance of that happening, given that the current crop of corpses started sprouting on the 20th anniversary of one of the most sordid chapters in KKT's history: The night when a sister gave birth and then bled to death in a bathtub during a party.
Oh, did I mention that this is supposed to be a comedy?
Fox's Scream Queens is the creation of the Ryan Murphy brain trust (which also includes Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan), the minds behind the goofy-but-salacious Glee and the innovative-but-grotesque American Horror Story. Fittingly, the new show is like the Lovecraftian offspring of both shows. Characters rattle off one-liners like tommy guns, and some of the jokes can even feel like timely commentary on today's surreal culture. (One victim—battling with the devil-dressed killer—finds the time to type a Monty-Python-Castle-of-Aughhh-like missive on Facebook.)
But the content. Oh, the content! Perhaps the funniest thing about this show is that it premiered with a TV-14 rating.
For Scream Queens, Fox has doled out nearly as much money for fake blood as it has for celebrity cameos. Victims are dispatched in reliably grotesque (and frequently ludicrous) ways. Skin sluffs off bodies. Blood drains out of them in waterfalls. Body parts fly around the college campus like so many red robins.
And if mass murder wasn't enough of an issue, Scream Queens also bathes in a slew of problematic collegiate stereotypes. Sex. Gay sex. Near nudity. Alcohol. Drugs. Scream Queens is what you'd get if Jason, Freddie and Michael Myers all pledged to a 21st-century version of Animal House.
No surprise, then, that the Parents Television Council dubbed Scream Queens the worst new show of 2015, saying that its "greatest shock is that it is on the public airwaves to begin with."
The creators say that not many of the characters will have to suffer through the whole season. But those who do will, according to an interview with Murphy in Stack, "go on next season to a new location and a new terror."
Now I'm screaming.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Emma Roberts as Chanel Oberlin; Skyler Samuels as Grace Gardner; Lea Michele as Hester Ulrich; Glen Powell as Chad Radwell; Diego Boneta as Pete Martinez; Abigail Breslin as Chanel #5; Ariana Grande as Chanel #2; Billie Lourd as Chanel #3; Keke Palmer as Zayday Williams; Nasim Pedrad as Gigi Caldwell; Lucien Laviscount as Earl Grey; Oliver Hudson as Wes Gardner; Jamie Lee Curtis as Dean Cathy Munsch; Nick Jonas as Boone; Breezy Eslin as Jennifer; Niecy Nash as Denise Hemphill