Scream Queens: Black Friday – Stating the Obvious (Review)

Scream Queens has, thus far, been a lot of fun to watch. Black Friday, with the start of the episode featuring Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) torturing the poor downtrodden American overweight and unwashed who watch helplessly as she scoops all the best bargains is on par with the level of comedy this show has to offer.

SQ_111_sc.24_25_26_26_PP_00462CR_hires1

Scream Queens has, thus far, been a lot of fun to watch. Black Friday, with the start of the episode featuring Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) torturing the poor downtrodden American overweight and unwashed who watch helplessly as she scoops all the best bargains is on par with the level of comedy this show has to offer. .The storyline, of the girls deciding to murder Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) with its Rasputin theme was brilliant.

Right up until the writers decided to treat the viewer as though they had the same intelligence levels as the characters in Kappa Kappa Tau, or the single remaining Dickie Dollar Scholar Chad Radwell (Glen Powell). Stating the obvious, Hester (Lea Michele) goes on to state the obvious connection in case, you know, the viewer  missed the whole Rasputin thing. 

The gags still worked, Hester does wait until after the Cryosauna fails to work but once she tells the group about the “mystic monk” and the many attempts to murder the man, along with the fact that the man managed to partially free himself before drowning after being, poisoned, shot, beaten and thrown in the frozen river where his body was later found, the urge to slap the writer became almost unbearable.

Still the remaining bit of the storyline worked until that lame scene between Chanel and Munsch as the deserted pool.  Was it just this viewer who found that to be a yawn to the nth? Perhaps someone found it to be entertaining but is just did not flow…

Standout moments:

Chanel Oberlin being shot with the crossbow and surviving.  Funny and revealing.

Denise Hemphill finally getting a gun and becoming a) A real cop and b) the chief of police and c)failing to shoot the red devil when she has the chance. For the first time since her introduction, Hemphill was actually funny rather than annoying as hell.

*Sidenote* This was, however,  a missed moment.  The red devil lets off the crossbow bolt and misses Denise by a mile killing  another cop instead. 

Chad Radwell attempting to recruit Pete Martinez (Diego Boneta) to the very empty frat house and kudos to actor Glen Powell for being able to say Dickie Dollar Scholars repeatedly without messing up. (Any bets as to how many takes this scene took?) 

SQ_111_sc.8_PP_0016R_hires1
Dean Munsch and ZayDay talking Gigi’s roasted head.

ZayDay Williams (KeKe Palmer) tearfully admitting that the roasted head of Gigi Caldwell, aka Jess Meyer, (Is this a reference to Halloween? Michael Meyers?) actually smelled pretty tasty…

Pete and Grace’s dad bonding over researching Gigi’s past and the sex talk between Wes and Grace who then decides that she is ready to bed Pete…

Honorable Mention:

The whole cryosauna bit had to a be an obvious nod and wink to Jason X where the indestructible baddie from the Friday the 13th franchise is cryogenically frozen and then comes back to life in space.  Nice touch.

SQ_111_sc.24_25_26_26_PP_00396R1_hires1
Dean Munsch getting her Jason X on…

Thoughts:

Overall the episode was a bit like its title.  Like Black Friday, which is full of desperate people trying to buy things on sale and then feeling let down when they miss the bargain of a century, the episode feels like a  bit of a let down.

Pete appears to be confessing, a least twice, that he is “one of the killers.” (There are more than two remember?) So there is still that person on the other end of the cell phone who must also be a murderer.  Points given for keeping the suspect list high.

The bit where Grace and Chanel both decided to kill the dean and poison her was a nice touch, as was Wes’ zeroing in on Gigi’s (Jess’) liking his playlists.

And finally…Anticlimactic is the best way to describe the pool scene between Chanel #1 and Dean Munsch.  Granted, the series, which has not been approved for another season yet, has only one more two-hour episode left in its first run but that was just blah.

This was the penultimate episode since FOX has combined the final two episodes for a finale. Usually, the slamming together of the season’s last two segments  is a bad sign.  In this case though  it may just be FOX trying to get the series over before Christmas TV begins.

Certainly Ryan Murphy is planning on a “Sleepaway Camp” theme for season two, but whether this transpires or not has not been confirmed by the network. FOX have not  greenlit giving the series another chance to air next year.

Scream Queens is a funny, irreverent look at sorority horror films and the series shows what can be done with a  splendid mix of comedy and slasher horror.  The two hour finale airs on December 8. Tune in and see who makes it to the end, four, or, as Oliver Hudson has hinted, five. 

Scream Queens: Pumpkin Patch – Gigi and Her Boobs(Review)

SQ_105_PP_0166r_hires1

Scream Queens continues to play the Animal House hole card and deliver gags so fast that they seem to stumble over one another.  Despite the fact that the most annoying character to ever grace a television series  (Denise Hemphill) is still alive (Could show creators Murphy, Brennan and Falchuck  PLEASE let the Red Devil take this major irritant out? Please!) and that the series may be too campy for many potential fans, Scream Queens continues to deliver.

Whether paying a massive homage to Silence of the Lambs, or to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (featuring that film’s maze with snowdrifts) or revealing that Chanel #5 “regularly rubs one out while watching Dora the Explorer, this comedy horror show flings the jokes out with a rapidity that almost leaves the viewer breathless.

While the sex jokes are trotted out just as quickly as the horror film references in the show,  this week, Abigail Breslin’s character meets the twins who “spit roasted” her and they force her to choose which twin she wants, there are more “serious issues” being presented.

For instance, Grace (Skyler Samuels) walks in on her dad Wes,  (Oliver Hudson, offspring of Bill,  of the Hudson Brothers, and Goldie Hawn) going in for an evening of 90s mood music and desert after a salad date with Gigi (Nasim Pedrad).  Wes’ daughter is traumatized by the sight of Gigi on top of her dad and Grace also sees the woman’s boobs. 

Grace is upset but soldiers on, telling her dad that she is glad he has “moved on from mom” and “Um, but enough about me and my confusion and sad dead feeling inside.” Rather interestingly, Gigi’s boobs feature in another scene in the Red Devil’s lair. These two appendages may also prove to be a, gasp, plot point.

Standout Moment:

ZayDay down in the pit and the trapdoor being opened and seeing the devil with a small dog, a’la “Silence of the Lambs,” begins screaming.  A truly funny moment that did, amidst all the other funny gags, stand out. All that was needed to top this “homage moment” was the “First it rubs the lotion in…”

After the intrepid Grace, Gigi, Wes, Denise and Pete (Diego Boneta) head to the basement where ZayDay is being held, Hemphill hands out tasers to the team as they search for Williams.  Denise and Gigi team up and end up in  a room full of torture instruments, bone saws and  medical tools. As the two find the room and move in deeper to investigate, the lights are turned off (another Silence of the Lambs moment) and the women are stalked by the Red Devil who is wearing night vision goggles.

Denise accidentally tases Gigi in the boobs and the woman is hardly affected by the shot. She recovers quickly enough that she manages to tase the Red Devil in the throat. The “killer” is put down on the ground immediately from the shot.  Later, after the group discover that ZayDay is not in the basement, Gigi is followed by the Red Devil and she tells the figure that “he has to go.” Gigi then leaves for a “very special salad date.”

The implication appears to be that either Wes or Pete are to be the next victim.

That, however, is not important. The big question is, how did Gigi manage to be tased in the boobs and not end up on the ground like the Red Devil? Are they not real? Does silicone not conduct electricity?

Or…

Does Gigi have a secret, apart from apparently  knowing who the killer is,  that requires her to wear fake boobs? (Before readers rush to point out cancer, and other real life reasons for fake breasts, remember this is a television show that seems to be based upon an Animal House meets Sorority Row (2009) mashup…Okay?) Any suggestions, or theories can be left in the comments below.

Meanwhile, someone turned in Chanel #1 for murdering the cook, poor old faceless Ms. Bean,  and despite her father refusing to post bail, Oberlin gets out. Emma Roberts continues to kill it as the scheming vacuous sorority leader who bullies her minions and believes she owns Halloween.

Whilst ruminating on the whole Gigi boobs thing, take a moment to appreciate a show that dares to have its lead character explain to her teacher that the guy helping on an exam is “my Asian.”

SQ_105_PP_0006r_hires1
Chanel # and “her Asian.”

Scream Queens airs Tuesdays on FOX. Tune in and let these talented folks tickle your funny bone.

 

 

Scream Queens: Haunted House – Too Campy?

SQ_104-HG_0026r_hires1

Perhaps some people are more easily impressed than others, for instance, this viewer found the entire episode of Scream Queens Haunted House worth watching just for the extended Matthew McConaughey impression by Diego Boneta while preparing to question the  former Kappa in the trailer. That scene, as well as Grace’s father revealing that the scary thing about Children of the Corn is your inner child killing you, made the show.

There were things that still worked about the series, although not as well as last week’s episode Chainsaw. The character of Denise Hemphill has worn out her welcome, with all the campy eye rolling and hand waving.  The whole Niecy Nash act is overkill and adds nothing to the show…

But…

The other thing that made Haunted House delightfully worth watching was the unison scene with Nash and Boneta in the “hag” scene.  Hemphill and Martinez both reveal things learned about the house where ZayDay will hold her “haunted house” fund raiser.

Both of these scenes show a sort of genius that “gets it.” There are a few other things in the episode that work brilliantly, the “discovery” of the obligatory multiple victims. Like any decent slasher film, bodies have to be found; laid out in a grisly display to scare the heck out of the movie’s protagonist.

Chad and Hester (Glen Powell and Lea Michele respectively) who are obsessed with dead bodies, Chad fantasizes about necrophilia, find the dearth of murdered students and the decomposing Ms Bean in the haunted house and they both freak out accordingly. 

In the local coffee shop, they sit, in shock, and then tell the students in the place to avoid the house because of the dead bodies. The news galvanizes the other customers who all rush over to see the house of corpses.

Later when ZayDay finds that her fund raiser does indeed have real dead bodies in it, she calls 911 and speaks to a dispatcher who sounds suspiciously like Walton Goggins (Django Unchained, Justified) and considering how good Boneta was at doing McConaughey it would to be surprising to  learn that  he also “did” Goggins for the call.

Perhaps the problem with this comedy horror treat is the inclusion of too much comedy. Murphy, Falchuk and Brennan have thrown in everything, including the kitchen sink, with enough gags in each episode that repeated viewings are needed to get all the jokes, references and sly (and not so sly) genre homages.  Viewing figures are dropping steadily each week.

This may be more because of audience tastes being…out-of-sync with the show’s creator’s vision. Rather oddly, Scream, the MTV “salute” to the Wes Craven classic franchise, which missed the mark on so many levels, earned a second season, while the fans who normally flock to any  Ryan Murphy project have been tuning out.

It does beggar belief that viewers aren’t getting this show, too much comedy seems to equal death. (Something that would blow Mel Brooks away as all his films have loads of gags in them.) How can one not appreciate the interaction between Grace (Skyler Samuels) and her dad where her father says:

Wes: “No you were born in a hospital. I was there. I saw you come out of your mother…big mistake, by the way…”

 

The episode this week, sees ZayDay get kidnapped and at the end of the episode the “woman in black” is sitting in  a rocking chair surrounded by damaged dolls, in the haunted house and it is former Kappa Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad) who is doing the wailing. 

It may help this series to have more Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts,  Diego Boneta and Oliver Hudson and a lot less Niecy Nash.  Regardless of whether Hemphill becomes the Red Devil’s next victim or not, the gags are numerous in this series and may be flying by the less conscious viewers. Is Scream Queens too camp for fans of comedy horror? 

As Bugs Bunny would say, “Mmmmm, could be.”

However it is most likely a case of too much on offer and this is confusing the target audience. It appears that  Murphy and co. may have aimed their latest offering more towards “Gleeks” who adore  that verse but who may be incapable of appreciating this one.

It has to be noted that the dining room scene with the obnoxious “frat” and his house brother whom the little group of Chanel’s attack is odd, yet funny.  Taking feminism to its most combative and extreme fells strangely satisfying yet disturbing on so many levels. Kudos chaps for putting this in, surrealistic comedy that works.

*Sidenote* The two films being watched, firstly by the trailer park gal (And how funny it this storyline? The implication being that if one leaves University sans degree, they become trailer park “trash.”) are “Leprechaun” and “Children of the Corn.” 

Scream Queens airs Tuesdays on ABC, if you love full tilt comedy that just happens to be set in the world of slasher films and all that entails, tune in, you will like it. Gleeks?  Maybe not so much…