Scream Queens: Pilot
September 23, 2015 10:09 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

In the latest horror-comedy-farce from the minds of Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy, the audience is introduced to the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority, which is being haunted by a figure in a red devil costume. Grace Gardner is our heroine (of sorts), who comes into the sorority as an effort to find out what happened to her mother so many years ago in the same house. Chanel Oberlin is the current queen of the castle in KKT, and her general unpleasantness guides the opening intrigues of the show. Crusty old dean, Cathy Munsch, has cracked open the exclusive club of KKT (much to Chanel's dismay), leading a band of misfits to rush the sorority, and provide a cast of red shirts who will likely be picked off as the season progresses.

The A.V. club writes, "Murphy excels at creating marketable television concepts, and Queens is perhaps his surest shot yet. It’s perfectly calibrated for Twitter consumption, between the oh-no-they-didn’t punchlines, act-break shockers, and hashtag-friendly title. But like so much of the fuel dumped into the social media furnace, Queens is instantly forgettable. Even the devilish killer, whose homicidal behavior is driving all of the action, ceases to exist whenever he’s not on screen. Even more than it tests the audience’s patience for Diablo Cody-style fanciful youth patter, Queens tests the audience’s grasp of object permanence."

Las Vegas Weekly is even less favorable, "Scream Queens is completely clueless about what’s actually scary, and its comedy is ugly and mean-spirited, full of hateful stereotypes and casual misogyny."

Perhaps, tellingly, Reason is one of the few outlets to have review the show categorically favorably.

Scream Queens is set to run in a semi-anthology style, with some cast members (those who survive, anyway) carrying over to subsequent seasons, which will take on new settings and themes.
posted by codacorolla (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm guessing I'm not the only one that found the "how to dispose of a body" monologue to be quite familiar?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 11:44 AM on September 23, 2015 [9 favorites]

I'm really not sure how I feel about this. The last few seasons of AHS have been getting grosser and grosser, and not in a good way. In a 'I feel like I'm being goaded into laughing at bigotry' way. This was even worse. I know that Chanel is supposed to be a bigot, and represent the problems of the Greek system, but there seems to be less of a line between laughing at her and laughing at the people she's laughing at.

Aside from that, the plotting was tighter than anything AHS has shown recently. It was fairly ADD, but there was at least a through-line.

I think I'll keep watching, but I feel like I'm sick of giving these guys leeway to string me along.
posted by codacorolla at 12:10 PM on September 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I liked some parts of this (Jaime Lee Curtis, Nasim Pedrad and the text murder ("If he was being killed, why'd he bother to write 'Arrrrrgh'?"), and I usually have a pretty high tolerance for the offensiveness-as-comedy thing, but this may be taking it too far. I physically cringed a couple of times, and not at the horror.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:01 PM on September 23, 2015

Box stick string bear: She literally quoted scarabic's second sentence verbatim. I'm so proud.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:56 PM on September 23, 2015

Yep, scarabic's comment was clearly the referent. I picked it up immediately when I watched.
posted by Justinian at 8:57 PM on September 23, 2015

Diablo Cody-style fanciful youth patter

posted by smoke at 5:22 PM on September 24, 2015

More than just the insult comedy, the writing in general is rather bad. Ariana Grande's death was such a dull, unfunny scene (teenagers are constantly glued to the internet!), and this is clearly a show that thinks it's much funnier than it actually is, considering few of the lines actually land. Also, when the two security guards allude to nothing happening in Best Buy parking lots, was that an incredibly bizarre Serial reference?
posted by lunch at 5:00 AM on September 25, 2015

I enjoyed it. But then, it reminded me strongly of a movie from my youth that I still adore, Student Bodies.

I also didn't get the sense that the line between laughing at Channel and her targets was thin; these are clearly the misfits of the campus but they're no more or less bonkers than the popular and pretty. Their silliness doesn't get lingered on particularly, nor do they have to be noble sufferers - only two of them are unwilling to be bribed into complicity. When they're the source of the laugh it's their actions, not the things Chanel is saying about them.
posted by phearlez at 8:23 AM on September 25, 2015

This isn't usually my type of thing, but the wife wanted to try it out because she loves glee. I don't think I'll stick around fore the whole thing, but I'm surprised no one wants to get on the record and guess who the killer is. I'm not sure it's just one person, given the murders that we've seen already, but my guess is on Jamie Lee Curtis.
posted by DynamiteToast at 5:27 PM on September 25, 2015

Grace seems like the likeliest suspect to me only because I can't see why anyone else wouldn't have killed the barrista, had they been the Devil. If the Devil were fixated solely on the sorority sisters, s/he wouldn't have killed the security guard; the killer is default homicidal. Of course, this could be a red herring if someone other than the killer were wearing the devil costume for some reason.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:41 PM on September 27, 2015

That's a good guess, but if it's anything like the last two seasons of AHS it'll be someone that hasn't been on screen for the entire show, or they'll drop the Red Devil plot line entirely by the fourth episode and we'll be talking about aliens by ep. 6.
posted by codacorolla at 5:54 AM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

To be fair, they almost have to drag in some weird left field plotlines if this is really supposed to continue for another thirteen hours.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:42 PM on September 28, 2015

I quickly glanced at the Wikipedia page's episode listing, which at the moment only lists six episodes, and thought this was a six episode miniseries and was incredibly surprised and pleased with the decision. Hearing that it's fifteen episodes leaves me already feeling exhausted.
posted by lunch at 8:59 PM on September 28, 2015

Yeah, I was really hopeful about this show, but it just didn't come through for me. It struck me as just sort of stilted and cartoonish, but neither gonzo enough nor brave enough to make those things work. That, coupled with the facile misogyny, caused me to nope out after about seventeen minutes.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 4:55 PM on September 30, 2015

Just finished watching the first season of Fargo on Hulu and decided since season 2 of that isn't available yet, I'd jump over to Scream Queens. And now I am full of regrets. I mean, I love me some Jamie Lee Curtis, but she's almost the only part of this I'm finding enjoyable, at 59:27 into the pilot. Also, I know that Oliver Hudson is technically old enough to be the father of a college student, but it's just not working for me. Totally thought he was Grace's boyfriend in the first scene he appeared in, not her dad.
posted by palomar at 3:29 PM on November 28, 2015

Necro-ing this thread, came back at this from a kittens for breakfast comment about how AHS S09 feels like Scream Queens S03.

Re-watched SQ s02 and it really refines what worked in s01.

Watching the pilot again, and can say that it gets better, but there are definitely some beats that can't be beat in the pilot.

But yeah, have come come at this from the same cynical angle the show's trying to lampoon. It's all on purpose.
posted by porpoise at 12:05 AM on September 23, 2019

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