Amber Lauder, Opinions Editor

On Sept. 22, horror-comedy series Scream Queens aired its two-hour premiere on FOX.

The series opened with a flashback to a 1995 Kappa Kappa Tau sorority party on the fictional Wallace University campus as the house faces a tragic and mysterious event. Fast forward to the present day, and KKT is ruled by Chanel Oberlin and her minions. The university dean, Cathy Munsch, who has it in for Kappa Kappa Tau, aims to take down the chapter and forces the previously exclusive KKT to allow entry to anyone who pledges to be a sister.

A devil-masked killer soon begins to murder pledges, sisters and pretty much anyone else they can get their hands on. No one knows the identity of the killer, and everyone has a motive.

Keep in mind that this is a Ryan Murphy production. Ryan Murphy, as in the brain behind American Horror Story and Glee. In Scream Queens, you’re not going to get one or the other. A little bit of Glee’s campy humor, a little bit of American Horror Story’s thrills and chills, and a splash of its own brand. Essentially, if the two shows had a baby, Scream Queens would be that baby.

The show clearly does not represent real sorority life, nor does it intend to. Rather – as all television programs do – it intends to entertain, and for me, it mostly reaches its goal.

If you’ve seen the trailer for Scream Queens you know that it has eye candy written all over it. You want to be there – minus the murders. You want to live in the Kappa house. You want Chanel’s wardrobe.

In my opinion, one of the show’s strongest points is the ensemble cast featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Abigail Breslin and more. Rather than focusing on one particular character, all characters were crucial to the plot. The fact that the cast is filled to the brim with star power only enhanced this for me. I won’t lie, though – I have a favorite KKT pledge.

Despite staying silent for the majority of the premiere, Kappa pledge Hester (Lea Michele) really stood out to me. Her funny, subtle gestures and moments of enthusiasm add a special type of quirkiness to the group, and I’m looking forward to see what becomes of the character.

It would be a crime if I failed to mention the much talked-about scene in which an assumed lead character is hilariously – albeit weirdly – killed off. A metaphor for millennial’s use of social media and increasing lack of socialization, the character attempts to fight off death at the hands of the Red Devil by texting and tweeting pleas of mercy, but ultimately fails to do so. Because the situation was so true to today’s culture and silly at the same time, laughter was hard to hold back.

Just as there were moments that tickled my funny bone, were visually pleasing or kept me on the edge of my seat, there were others that just didn’t sit right with me. Many of the jokes, both verbal and situational, involving the pledges were off-putting and cringe-worthy. Desperate for easy shock value, the show’s script encourages the audience to mock a deaf

woman and laugh at the homophobic comments and racist jabs frequently made from one character to another, all jam-packed into the premiere. Although it would make sense to attribute the cruelness to the characters personalities, it doesn’t excuse it. There are ways to tell stories and get laughs without making sensitive and controversial topics the main punchline.

Nonetheless, even though the show was disturbing or in poor taste at times, it proved to be engaging and enjoyable. The premiere left me craving more. Ryan Murphy’s shows have a knack for starting off on a high, then falling flat mid-series or even mid-season. Though, as Scream Queens is rumored to be an anthology series very much in the vein of American Horror Story, I think they have a shot.

For me, the good outweighs the bad overall – for others, it might end up being too much. Scream Queens isn’t for everyone, but I’ll stick around for the ride. I hope it’s a long one. If not, I just might scream.


Photo via Fox Media