Galavant: Episodes 5 & 6 – Nick Frost and Sheridan Smith (Review)

Galavant, with episodes 5 and 6 continues with a guest star roster to die for, Robert Lindsay is still playing Wormwood the wedding planner and evil schemer and Sheridan Smith comes in to play a hirsute princess who does not like weddings.

 JOSHUA SASSE, NICK FROST

Galavant, with episodes 5 and 6 continues with a guest star roster to die for, Robert Lindsay is still playing Wormwood the wedding planner and evil schemer and Sheridan Smith comes in to play a hirsute princess who does not like weddings.  Another well-known performer plays a giant, Nick Frost.  Sadly no one appears as a hobbit since they were eaten by the starving Galavant, Richard and “Bobbi.”

It has to be said that after disliking this series intently upon the first viewing, it has slowly but surely become a favorite.  The combination of great guest stars and repeated viewings has ensured that this comical ode to all things musical has overcome the initial misgivings and annoyance at the songs all sounding the same.

Of course it took the next episode, with guest star Eddie Marsan, who  plays death,  doing his song and dance which did, suddenly, sound completely different from all other songs in the second season that  won this dubious heart over.

Sidenote: completely unrelated to “Galavant,” but Eddie Marsan does appear to be in everything thing at the moment.  No complaints here though as Marsan has been a favorite performer for years, but he really seems to be everywhere.   

The omnipresent Marsan aside, he does not appear in either of these two episodes,  but the end of number 6, About Last Knight, with Galavant being skewered by the sword that Sid throws, his entrance in episode 7 is assured…

Episode 5:

Before the “death” of Galavant the trio of protagonists run into the giants  headed up by Andre (Nick Frost) and the dwarves.  Each group are the same height, at first glance all being around 5’8″ or 9″, as Frost is the former…

The whole battle between antagonists is down to a bridge built where one side is “dwarf size” and the other “giant size.” Leaving aside the ludicrous concept of each faction not recognizing that they are the same height (something that Bobbi sings brilliantly about) the whole thing is a long build up to a homage to…wait for it….West Side Story.

Galavant meets with the giants, who convinced Richard earlier that an iguana is in fact a fire breathing dragon and exchanged the creature for the jewel of Valencia, to get the gem back, or to convince them to join his fight to free Isabella.

Richard sides with the dwarves and just as things look to get fiery, Roberta fixes the bridge and stops the hostilities. Unfortunately the two warring groups then decide that they have to sort themselves and the bridge out properly.

Standout Moments:

Andre the Giant (Get it? Get it?) and his line about the dwarves complaining about the bridge:

“And those whiny little b*tches…”

The grumbling by the giants each time Galavant mentions dwarves.

The romance building between the Queen and King Gareth and Sid talking to his “Bro” Gareth warning him not to fall in love with Madalena and the end results.

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Sheridan Smith

Sheridan Smith doing her version of Miley Cyrus…

The whole finger-snapping and whistling West Side Story set piece…

The show of hands bit and “shirts and skins.”

Sid learning that Gareth does not practice the “bro code.”

Episode 6:

About Last Knight goes all out with another homage, this one with Sid’s performance a’la Les Mes...where he rouses the peasants to revolt but tells them in graphic detail what will happen when they do and then finds himself all alone at the song’s finale.

The trio of heroes have yet another horse run out of steam and Richard complains about having to eat a family of Hobbits.  Magdalena tries to make Gareth’s birthday special, Galavant and his two followers run into poppa Galavant and Isabella kicks off about having to relinquish her bra to Prince Harry.

Standout Moments:

Sid (Luke Youngblood) and his Les Miserables song…

Wormwood’s firing by Isabella and as Chester (Robert Lindsay) leaves he keeps dispensing advice about the upcoming wedding while simultaneously cursing the princess.

Richard (Timothy Omundson) and his complete inability to “play” with children.

Gareth’s response to Magdalena’s surprise party (he runs through at least three party members).

The pub scene where Gareth cannot pick  fight with anyone.

The Forest of Coincidence.

Honorable Mention:

Daddy Arnold Galavant and his “I stitched them myself.”

Robert Lindsay’s “Crazy war minded monsters” line.

Roberta’s response to Galavant  when he accuses her of “caring about Richard:”

“Love him?”

The “He was There” song; specifically the lyrics;  “gave me all your underwear,  he gave me all the gear he gave to you” and of course, “he’s behind me.”

Overall Thoughts:

Despite the “shock” of Galavant (Joshua Sasse) catching Sid’s thrown sword with his chest, it is a certainty that the hero of this piece will not die.  (At least we hope not, the only thing that could be worse would be if Richard was to be extinguished before chasing that damned unicorn away.)  Still, episode 7 will feature the grim reaper so fans beware…

Galavant airs Sundays on ABC and at two episodes a whack, will not last much longer. Tune in, re-watch the older episodes, and season one while you are at  it, and enjoy this little comedic homage to all things musical.

 

Dr Ken: Ken Teaches Molly a Lesson – Laughter to the Nth Degree (Review)

KRISTA MARIE YU, SUZY NAKAMURA, KEN JEONG

As amazing as it may seem, after all the odds are against any sitcom knocking out of the park every single week,  Dr Ken achieves this easily. So much so that each episode equals laughter to the nth degree and one should avoid watching it on a tablet (or other device)  in public places if easily embarrassed. For instance, at this exact point and time, this reviewer is sitting in a crowded fast-food outlet, earphones in and is chortling, snorting and leaking tears of laughter at the beginning of Ken Teaches Molly a Lesson.

This episode is all about family, although those crazy folks at the medical center do appear and Dr. Park, along with Damona,  do a ’77 riff on Pat that is truly memorable and funny as hell.  Before then, and later, the episode is owned by Ken Jeong, Krista Marie Yu, Suzy Nakamura and Albert Tsai.  The part that had this reviewer laughing out loud, aka “LOLing” in a public place, was Molly’s question control after informing her parents that the police had shut down a party she was attending due to underage drinking.

Ken and Allison agree to not get angry and Molly allows them two questions. The parents discuss the situation and believe that the deal will not improve so they agree . Molly then explains about the police and the drinking.

Ken: “All right. Is there more?”

“Molly: “No and not a wise use of your question.”

Ken: “Damn!”

Allison: (to Molly who is leaving the room) “Hold on.  Don’t I get a question?”

Molly: “Yes! Good question Mom!”

Allison: “Damn!”

The teen does not escape, however, as Ken forces her to “fess up” about drinking half a beer and then pouring it out because she did not like the taste. Ken reacts badly to the news and Allison thanks Molly for telling them.

The two adults disagree on how to handle the situation.  Ken changes from the “fun one” to the strict one unlike Allison  with her “commune” upbringing.  She mentions his jail time after the first “Molly” incident. Ken agrees to handle things Allison’s way, but in the end, cannot.

Dr. Ken manages to put a brilliant spin on the gags in the show, from Ken Jeong’s referring to consuming half a beer as a “Korean whore’s breakfast” to spitting while saying “Fo sho.”  Determined to teach Molly a lesson, Dr. Park sits her down and drinks non-stop while showing his teenager the perils of alcohol consumption.

Cue one massively intoxicated Dr. Ken, who manages to get drunk as a lord and embarrasses Molly again in front of her friends.

Standout moment:

Ken drunkenly lurches toward a teenage girl he thinks is Molly and after hugging her says, “I used to give her a bath!” His trumpeting this mortifying information to the wrong girl is hysterically funny and culminates in Molly storming off.

While Ken “teaches Molly a lesson” Allison is determined to be the fun parent with Dave, something that Ken does already. She takes the boy to an Angela Merkel biography reading by the author. On their trip, she gets stopped for an illegal U-turn, gets the cop’s gender wrong, lies about Dave’s health to get him a seat at the reading and Dave falls asleep moments later, snoring out loud.

Back at work, Julie is upset that no one cares about her breakup with Topher and when Damona asks her if she thought that the medical clinic would be like Grey’s Anatomy, she says yes. Dr. Julie Dobbs then  goes into full blown rant mode and is offered half a tissue from Pat as “you look upset.”

TISHA CAMPBELL MARTIN, DAVE FOLEY, JONATHAN SLAVIN, KATE SIMSES
TISHA CAMPBELL MARTIN, DAVE FOLEY, JONATHAN SLAVIN, KATE SIMSES

By the end of the episode, Allison learns that she has become the fun one, Ken is massively hung over and each one takes pride in their efforts to be great parents.

Once again, Kate Simses kills it, with her Grey’s Anatomy rant, and Tisha Campbell-Martin teams up with Ken Jeong to deliver a  brilliant comedic rip on Dave Foley‘s administrator.  Ken and Krista Marie Yu also interact perfectly as he gets more and more intoxicated while she tries to warn him about his consumption. Suzy Nakamura and Albert Tsai are also spot on in their scenes together.

*Sidenote* Ken Jeong’s  “masking” bit re: strawberry daiquiris;  is another belly laugh moment as is the “second wind” entrance at the party. 

Like Dave’s description of his night out with Allison this episode of Dr. Ken: Ken Teaches Molly a Lesson, was “badass.” The series airs Fridays on ABC, tune in and prepare to laugh your “badass” off…

 

 

 

Scream Queens: Beware of Young Girls – Dean “Hannibal” Munsch (Review)

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It is difficult to say whether Scream Queens show creators Ian Brennan, Ryan Murphy, and Brad Falchuk are that clever or just desperately throwing every horror reference they think of into the series.  Since the gags, like the Hannibal Lector references in Beware of Young Girls,  or that, not so, sly dig at Ouija that really hit the funny bone so hard it hurts, the former appears to be the truth behind these three conspirators.  Before looking at the episode overall, however, l mad props go to Jamie Lee Curtis and her Dean Cathy “Hannibal” Munsch “Quid Pro Quo, Clarice,” indeed.

The plot line this week reveals that Gigi (Nasim Pedrad), while not necessarily one of the Red Devil’s, is on a revenger murder spree with a partner, and she is not happy at the lack of progress.  Dean Munsch is a definite Hannibal Lector fan, and the local detective investigating the serial killings qualifies as the dumbest law enforcement official ever and Chad is lactose intolerant. 

Scream Queens introduces a new (Temporary?) character Feather McCarthy (played by Tavi Gevinson) who fell in love with Dean Munsch’s Beatle  loving husband, back in the day.  Pete (Diego Boneta) and Grace (Skyler Samuels) bring Feather in to question her about the dean.  The former Kappa Kappa Tau member reveals how she fell in love with her Beatles 101 instructor. 

*Sidenote* Diego does his brilliant Matthew McConaughey again. What a party trick. Now if he can do Christopher Walken…

The girl Feather also tells the two investigating students that someone, the dean,  tried to kill her with Dr. Munsch’s “iPod thing that you plug in and picks up music from the air” aka a transistor radio (as pointed out  by Grace).  The girl has the radio put in her bath by, we learn later, Dean Munsch, who states  that she distrusts anyone whose “bush” is that large, as they must be hiding something.

The sorority house stages Chanel #2’s funeral, at the start of the episode, where Emma Roberts delivers the funniest eulogy ever:

“This dumb dead whore also used her high-ponied wiles to seduce my man into rubbing uglies with her. So I hope you all grasp the concept that this is what happens when you rub uglies with my man… You end up dead! So, have fun being dead, Number Two. You were a stupid, little trollop, and I hope you’re burning in hell right now. Amen.”

Only Roberts could deliver this line  with such conviction.  She also, later in the show, asks Chanel #6:

“Why do you have nine tampons? How big is your cooch?”

Sexual, snort-making jokes aside, the episode had a plethora of horror homages, or nods and winks, and at least one “show-business”  gag.

The entire Feather and Dr. Munsch relationship was a clear reference to the “Chairman of the Board” and his short relationship to the former wife of Woody Allen, Mia Farrow. Actress Gevinson, who plays Feather, sports a bowl hair cut, similar to that worn by Farrow when she and Frank Sinatra were an item.  (Cattiest remark of just about ever goes to Ava Gardner who sniped, after seeing  Farrow (who looked a lot like Vic Gevinson  does in this episode), “I always knew Frank would run off with a boy…”)

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Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow allusion?

During the scene where Feather finds her older lover murdered, Dame Shirley Bassey can be heard singing her version of Sinatra’s hit, “That’s Life”. Clearly a nod to the “old days of Hollywood.” Another, not so old, reference has Grace telling Gigi that her dad deserves a girlfriend who does not dress like Brenda Walsh.

Walsh, of course, was the character portrayed by Shannen Doherty in 90210.  Shannen has one of the worst reps in town as being a pretty nasty bit of stuff to work with. Whether these rumors are true or not does not matter, as the clear indication is that Gigi is not a nice gal either. This could be  “double nod”  as Doherty also hosted Scare Tactics where viewers pranked their friends with a great scare. (Later hosted by Tracy Morgan.)

With all these things going on, amid Emma Roberts getting some of the best lines of the series thus far, “The movie Ouija? No. No one did!” In response to Chanel #3 asking if Chanel had seen the film.  Chanel also gets numerous digs in at #5, as evidenced during the ouija board sequence, “Does her vagina have teeth?”

There is also the line about #2 being Eiffel-Towered by Hitler and Satan…

Perhaps the best film homage is Jamie Lee Curtis as “Hannibal” Munsch. When the inept police detective arrests the dean for murdering her former husband, he calls for back up. Two more detectives arrive with a straight-jacket and once Munsch is wrapped in the item, a’la Lector, she is taken outside for the crowds to gawp at.

In the asylum, she delivers that The Silence of the Lambs line “Quid Pro Quo, Clarice.” She also sketches her dress designs, cartoon faced creations all wearing dresses of black.  Away from Lector land, but still in the asylum, Munsch also sings the praises of the “meds” she is on, the little blue ones especially…An obvious allusion to The Matrix and the choice of pills that Neo can take “The blue one ends the story…”

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Hannibal Munsch…

The Silence of the Lambs is also referenced at the end of the episode when Feather is put into a “Hannibal” cage, clear plexiglass and surrounded by space, in the middle of a huge room, wearing a straight-jacket and protesting her innocence.

Scream Queens is hysterically funny, clever, witty and full of homage moments. There are so many that one needs to either record the show and re-watch it repeatedly, in order to find all the references, or watch it once and miss loads of well written and delivered moments.

The series airs Tuesdays on FOX. Tune in and learn just how clever Ryan Murphy and his team of co-creators really are. Glee, hell…this is worlds better…and there is no teen angst or singing, just some great performers rocking it out of the park.

Quantico: God – Sex, Lies and Secrets (Review)

Yasmine Al Massri

In Quantico; God this week,  the series culminates in a maelstrom of sex, lies and secrets that suddenly plunge the NATs into some game changing events. A new suspect is revealed and the viewer learns more about Miranda and Charlie.  The focus, for this episode, is more about the “ago” and less about the now and Alex’s struggle to prove her innocence.  Each flashback tells more of the backstory of each NAT.

Simon’s fall from grace, Nimah’s exposure as twins, Shelby and Caleb’s relationship, Parrish learning about Ryan’s assignment to “watch her” all either come to light, or are in danger of being revealed,  in God during the Quantico assignment tied into the present crisis.  DITU (a part of PRISM) where the FBI actively spy on US denizens,  with the legal excuse of sniffing out terrorists, is the flashback training segment in the center and it ties in nicely with Alex’s present situation.

In the “now” Caleb Haas is the guy watching all the various feeds looking to find Alex in the pre-Grand Central explosion. He is also searching for something else;  Shelby Wyatt, who is having an affair with his father and he catches them together.

Everything, back during the training flashbacks, falls apart with the speed of  a runaway mine train.  Intimate (sexual) relationships, which are forbidden between NATs, collapse or become exposed, or (in Shelby’s and Caleb’s case) interfere with someone else’s trysts.

The show this week is all about trust, lies, secrets, relationships and fear of same. Miranda’s issues with her son Charlie have been in the background for a number of episodes and now has become a major plot point in the show. Shaw changes the NATs assignment from watching each other to surveilling  her life. This is a last ditch effort to find out what her recently released from “Juvie” kid is up to.

The young man was primed to be a “school shooter;” names on a list, guns collected and ready to go, before his mother turned him in.  Now he is out of “prison” and Shaw has him back home but does not trust him, nor does he trust her.  More secrets are exposed when she tells Charlie that his note with the names was destroyed by her. Miranda tells her son that had she not gotten rid of the list, he would still be in jail.

Shadowing  Miranda’s house, Alex and Ryan come unstuck when Liam, who is “helping” his former lover out by talking to Charlie, finds Booth listening in and he angrily confronts the agent he tasked to watch Parrish. Liam’s outburst is heard by Alex, who  drives off in the surveillance van and switches rooms with Vasquez.

Present day sees Alex asking Simon to bug Caleb’s computer at the incident room. She learns about Wyatt’s affair with Haas’ father and she finds footage of Nimah before the bombing. As a result of both these separate events, Caleb is no longer a suspect but “Nimah” is.

Back at Quantico “past,” Simon discovers that Nimah is in fact twins and gets accidentally knocked out and locked in a closet until Miranda can be found.  Caleb inadvertently messes up Vasquez’s love life, although she begins the groundwork to get together with Booth.  Liam continues to lie to Alex.

In the present day, Vasquez learns that Ryan has not been talking to O’Connor on his cell phone and turns him into Liam. She tells the man she believes  Ryan is helping Alex. What she does not know is that Simon and Shelby are as well.

Unfortunately, when Shelby sees the footage that Caleb put in the trash file, she confronts him about the affair with his father.  This may cause more damage than Ryan’s being rumbled by his new lover. Once Haas gets over his immediate pain, he will wonder why Wyatt took that moment to apologize about the affair.

According to  ratings, Quantico is picking up speed with the preferred demographic (19 – 45) and watching the episodes on offer, it is easy to see why.  Disregarding the “not so hidden” cheerleading of an organization that now watches American citizen’s every move…legally, the series offers beefcake, gorgeous gals and plenty of sex. Granted the sex is more often implied rather than shown, but is is ever present.

Show creator Joshua Safran still spends a lot of time moving between relationships of the great looking class of 2015 and the show’s plot line of “Who Framed Jessica Rabbit (Alex Parrish).”  Gone, for the time being is the almost frantic patriotism that indicates, overtly so, that it is okay to spy on our fellow man. 

This week’s showing off of DITU is as disturbing as the “feel free to turn in your neighbor, or family member” “red under every bed”  paranoiac rant. The very fact that nothing about our lives is really our own in this day and age  of modern technology and the Internet is unsettling and almost enough to convince even the most optimistic viewer that the US is heading for Stalin’s Russia.

Despite the alarm bells that this show sets off (To be fair, Quantico is not the only show to promote spying on the public…legally.) the series is getting better.  The flashbacks, which felt so disjointed and intrusive at the start, now have a discernible pattern. The characters have also  gotten that bit more dimensional.

The series is finding its feet, oh so slowly, and it is to the credit of the actors and the writers that the viewing of each episode is becoming more about finding out who is so determined to pin the explosion on Alex.  This FBI tale is an odd bit of entertainment, parts procedural (which the show does very well) and parts “Blind Date” set in an environment filled  with a bevy of beautiful people.

Thus far, the list of suspects, apart from Alex (Priyanka Chopra) is fluctuating. The last to appear is Nimah, who should be way too obvious to be a real suspect…or is she? Nimah is, after all, twins, recruited by Shaw. One is much more “fundamentalist” than the other so could this be the ultimate truth? 

Watching the show from day one, however,  there is the nagging feeling that Liam O’Connor (Josh Hopkinsis behind all the framing of Alex, if not the explosions that leveled Grand Central.  Vasquez could also be a suspect, but her betrayal of Ryan may have much more to do with jealousy than anything else.

Quantico airs Sundays on ABC. Tune in and join the growing numbers of 19 – 45 year-old fans who apparently cannot get enough of the show…or Chopra…

Scream Queens: Seven Minutes in Hell (Review)

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Before looking at the humor in Scream Queens, Seven Minutes in Hell, there a a few holes to look into (and no, despite a show that wallows in double and triple  entendres that is not another one) while chuckling at the “Someone always goes lez” line that is so politically incorrect.  The news is that the Ryan Murphy co-creation is steadily dropping in ratings and this could be down to viewers taking the show too seriously.

Example: Those pesky holes, aka plot holes, aka “wtf” moments.

In this episode, all the Kappa gals are trapped in the house. All windows and doors are locked, via a panic system; a’la Panic Room, when suddenly the power goes out.  As anyone knows  (Well, anyone who watches technical thrillers, Die Hard,  or even CBS’s Scorpion.) when the power goes out all electric powered locks go down. The house, once the power went off should have been “wide open.”

This was ignored however, just as after Chad comes over to break into the “locked” house by breaking a second story window,  he requests that his smart phone be hooked up to the sorority house speakers to jam some hot music and the group all dance to said music.

Hello? No power? Speakers need electricity…

And last, but not least in the blazingly obvious stakes, there is the broken window on the second floor where a few knotted sheets could have rendered everyone safe-ish.  Chanel, however, repeatedly states that they are all still trapped in the house (where the doors must now be open with the electric off) and recommends that they use the hidden tunnels to escape.

There were a number of other “holes” in the episode, but to be honest?

Who cares?

This was a fun episode and a chance for almost every “sister” to be funny as hell. Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) gets to pile on the comedy, with her wildly unplayed performance, and the entire exchange between Sam (Jeanna Han) and Lourd’s character is hysterical.  Sadly, Sam dies in the bathtub in the storage room. (Which points out another hole, 5 gives the gay pledge the key which was given to ZayDay (Keke Palmer) moments earlier in the episode.

Still, despite all the boo-boos in the show, how can one not love a series where Emma Roberts’ character admits to watching documentaries on A&E about the Mafia as a survival tool.   Or hosts a slumber party, suggested by new co-president Williams, where “someone always experiments with lesbianism and a serial killer strikes,”  which featured a “spin-the-bottle” game despite there being no guys there and Chanel #1 clearly did not get it.

Sam does, although she does not get a chance to benefit from 5’s experimental smooch too much before being snuffed out in the tub later. Something that Chanel numero five is responsible for.

The Red Devil, despite its mask looking an awful lot like Jamie Lee Curtis’ Dean Munsch, may turn out to be Gigi and/or Denise since that were the only two character’s not seen.  Disregarding Pete’s not being there either since someone in the cast brought that up so it must be a red herring. However, Wes; Grace’s dad, only shows up at the end of the episode. After threatening to throw his daughter over his shoulder and carrying her out, daddy leaves empty shouldered.

With the masculine chest plate of the Red Devil, at least one of the two killers must be a bloke, although the man’s pectoral plastic molding is not the only “clue” to the killers gender. In the tunnel scene the killer comes at Chanel and ZayDay with an axe in each hand. At the risk of sounding sexist, there are not many women who could weld two heavy duty cutting implements that easily.

*Sidenote* In this episode it is revealed why Chanel #3 wears those earmuffs, which, apart from making her look cute, does look a little odd.  Cute ear coverings aside, it is also revealed that her fear of being accused of being the serial killer after everyone learns that her dad is Charles Mansion, was not unfounded. Although to be fair, only Chad reacted to the news.

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The body count, by the end of the episode, was three. Sam, who manages to a) see the killer’s face and b) reveals that she knew “it was you.” The second casualty was the poor frat lad who had his arms chopped off earlier.   Third was the last half of the Roger/Dodger twin set who buys it after being shot with a red (color-coordinated) nailer apparently with huge amount of nails in it.

Another of the funnier moments was Chad, who after “building up of his armless Dickie Dollar brother” deserts the poor guy when the killer turns up.  Just as amusing was Chanel #1 picking on poor #5. The “vagina with teeth” gag was so cruelly funny and a perfect indicator of Roberts’ character’s childish nastiness.

Lea Michele’s character is still vying for the creepiest girl in the house trophy and all the characters, except for Grace, are still vacuous airheads.  The combination of shallow self centered characters and a slew of horror film references still works brilliantly:

Chanel Oberlin: “That means the killer is still in the house!”

Farty McCandles: “Oh God, has someone checked on the kids?”

The clear reference to the 1978 Carol Kane film When a Stranger Calls  is just one of many nods and winks to iconic horror films  in the series.

It is not clear just why numbers are dropping. This show is special funny. Glee goes to American Horror Story funny, and without all the annoying High School Musical singing and dancing or Lady Gaga.

Scream Queens is anti-PC, irreverent and funny. As stated before, it is National Lampoon’s Animal House married to Sorority Row. Sit back and enjoy it.  This is hilarity with little semblance to reality and despite hints that Denise Hemphill is not dead, well worth watching. The show airs Tuesdays on FOX.