I Guess I’m Supposed to Love Scream Queens Because Everyone Else Does
Full disclosure: I am not a TV person. It's extremely rare that I like a show enough to religiously watch it, and plan my evenings around a new episode, and live tweet about everything that's going on in said episode. It just seems like a huge investment and I realize that I must be the laziest person ever that even committing to a TV show is too much for me to handle.
But I'm also a sucker for good marketing, and am not immune to glossy magazine ads and well-placed music or ambiance in TV ads planned just so to get me hooked. That's how my decision to watch Scream Queens, Fox's new horror-comedy series, began.
There's been a LOT of hype around this one, namely because it's the mastermind of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, who have brought us Glee, Nip/Tuck, and American Horror Story, among others. And, admittedly, I did find myself completely hooked on the first season of AHS one lazy weekend not too long ago, but am now finding it a struggle to continue with the seasons (ugh, I promise I'm not this non-committal about everything, you guys. Just TV shows.) I thought the ads looked slick, the concept seemed cool (after all, Jawbreakers and Heathers are two of my favorite movies. And, by the way, if you think I'm now a hater of everything, I'm not — I will watch almost ANY movie. Horror, comedy, rom-com, drama, foreign, indie, blockbuster — you name it, I'll give it a chance. But only if it's under two hours long.. kidding.. sort of.) and the cast seems great. I'd pretty much watch Jamie Lee Curtis act her way out of a garbage bag and be obsessed with it. She is the best yogurt spokesperson OF ALL TIME (sorry, Stamos!)
So, needless to say, I went into last night's premiere with extremely high expectations (problem number one). I made my husband, who hates anything gory or scary, watch the premiere promising that it was a witty college comedy with a liiiittle bit of blood and he sort of tolerates AHS so he'd like this, too. Right? Right?
Well, I won't spoil too much of the show for those of you who are going to watch later on DVR, but I was about ready to turn off the two-hour premiere 20 minutes in.
The show is getting tons of great buzz and I get that it's cool to obsess over anything Ryan Murphy does, but the premiere, for me, fell flat fast and with a large thud. First of all, I never realized this before, but Emma Roberts has GOT to be the most annoying actress ever. Why does she say EVERY WORD SO LOUD AND FAST? I'd like to think it's for her role as mean girl Chanel, but, no, everything I've seen her in is like this.
The plot really DOES seem interesting, so for that alone, I will continue to tune in. And the cast is pretty phenomenal, but I feel most of the talent is woefully undercut. Niecy Nash and Jamie Lee Curtis (hell, even Nick Jonas, too!) deserve better than this, and I don't think they even realize it.
The jokes were horrendous. There are ways to make racial jokes and be funny (Mean Girls did this well over 10 years ago. Even Clueless did it well 20 years ago!) but most were barely enough to elicit a chuckle out of me. (Though I did quite appreciate the basic white girl/pumpkin spice latte scene.) It could be that the jokes ARE funny but the actors don't quite relay them correctly, but I really think this is due to poor writing.
If you haven't seen what I'm talking about, an early scene shows a maid scrubbing the floor and Chanel quips: “That obese specimen of human filth scrubbing bulimia vomit out of the carpet … I call her ‘white mammy’ because she’s essentially a house slave.” Later, Chanel accidentally-on-purpose holds Ms. Bean’s face in a deep fryer, possibly murdering her. Yeah..
This show has a shot at providing smart cultural commentary while also satirizing so many things (the horror genre, college and sororities, mean girls, race relations, etc.) but it relies on easy shock value, making it lame and annoying.
Stylistically, the show is sleek and beautiful. The cast is ridiculously beautiful and so is the costuming. So far, though, Scream Queens is like walking into a candy store. Everything looks delicious and colorful and bright, then you eat too much and get sick to your stomach. I felt just the two hour premiere was too much sugar for me, and ended with nothing but a stomach ache.