New show screams its unoriginal horror plot

Photo courtesy of Fox

There seems to be little that Ryan Murphy, Ian Brannan and Brad Falchuk cannot do with television. Their newest addition to the world of entertainment, “Scream Queens,” is a mixture of horror typical of their previous series “American Horror Story,” speckles of humor from their bafflingly popular “Glee” and social undertones typical of “Mean Girls.”

The premise of the new series is a murder mystery which involves the sorority sisters and pledges of Kappa Kappa Tau (KKT) at Wallace University. The women are haunted by the murder of one of the pledges from the ‘90s. In a stereotypical plot, characters must work to quickly figure out who the killer is before all of the sorority sisters are brutally murdered.

The main cast includes queen bee the of KKT Chanel (Emma Roberts, “American Horror Story”), pledge Grace (Skyler Samuels, “The Stepfather”), fraternity brother Chad Radwell (Glen Powell, “Red Wing”), and Dean Munsch. Before Munsch, KKT was the elite sorority where only the prettiest of girls were allowed, but now, under new rules, they must accept any pledge who wants to join.

This new onslaught of pledges includes Hester (Lea Michele, “Glee”), a girl who is obsessed with death, Zayday (Keke Palmer, “Akeelah and the Bee”), who seems to be the first African American pledge of KKT, and Tiffany (Whitney Meyer), a girl whose only purpose is to provide humor about her deafness and obsession with Taylor Swift.

While the show is great, there are definitely aspects that are lacking. One such aspect is with the horror. “Scream Queens” relies on humor for their deaths.

Horror fans will appreciate how surprisingly mysterious some of the deaths can be, considering some who died may not actually be dead. There are only hints
of this plot point, though, so the show is not quite a “Scream” rip-off yet.

Another aspect that is lacking is the show’s humor. First, viewers should not expect to be laughing because of every scene. Most of the jokes are cruel or racist. The sorority’s maid is addressed as “White Mammy,” Chanel describes the new pledge class as filled with “fatties and ethnics” and derogatory words addressed towards the sisters of the house seem to be coming out of Chanel’s mouth in every scene.

“Scream Queens” also relies heavily on stereotypes. One of the “uglier” pledges is portrayed as an outsider with no friends who is obsessed with candles. Denise Hempville (Niecy Nash, “Horton Hears a Who!”), the African American security guard, is used to provide an over-the-top portrayal of “blackness.”

“Scream Queens” premiered with the pilot episode, as well as the second episode entitled “Hell Week.” That episode relied less on stereotypes, which, presumably, were used only to create an outlandish picture of who the characters are.

With a masked killer, stellar one liners and plenty of plot twists, “Scream Queens” is definitely a show that will be on many viewers’ radars over the next couple of months; however, those interested will soon find that the new show certainly caters to a specific type of audience member.

Overall: 3/5