Last week I raised the question of how to review a show that doesn’t stick to any sense of reality. I decided to just go along with the madness and see how much fun the show could have poking fun at horror tropes. The success of the show hinges on how willing it is to keep up its insanity and fun. Luckily, Scream Queens seems to have realized this, and is completely bonkers only two episodes in.
There are some minor problems, such as when the show expects us to take certain issues, such as Dean Munsch’s illness, seriously. Considering this is a show with a transplanted murderous hand that belonged to a squash serial killer, I can’t really bring myself to take anything seriously. In a show with so much insanity, it’s a jarring change of tone when the episode asks us to feel bad for Dean Munsch. Especially when I don’t honestly believe Munsch is going to die. Jamie Lee Curtis is one of the high points of this show, having tremendous fun chewing the scenery and fighting off serial killers. As long as she wants to do the show, I can’t see the writers getting rid of her, cannibalistic diseases or not, anytime soon.
I also can’t bring myself to care about Chad and Dr. Holt competing over Chanel. Listen, any excuse to bring Chad Radwell (one of last season’s highlights) back into Scream Queens is welcome, but I really hope their fight over Chanel doesn’t become a recurring storyline. Chanel is such a blatantly awful person that I can’t even bring myself to get invested in their fight on a comedy basis. The second the plot moved away from fighting over Chanel to figuring out what is going on with Holt’s creepy hand, I started getting interested again.
A murderous transplanted hand is just the kind of insanity that works on Scream Queens. The show is at its best when it takes all that insanity and has fun with it. The flashback to the hand’s original owner, a serial killing squash player, are great. The best moments of ‘Warts and All’ are when Scream Queens goes all out to entertain: Dean Munsch fighting off the Green Meanie with a file, the Chanels racing down the hospital corridors while “Holding Out for Hero” is playing, and Lea Michele trying out her best Hannibal Lecter impression are all great moments in the episode.
The insanity is the best part of Scream Queens, because any other part of the story is hard to believe. It’s difficult to get invested in Chanel’s love life or Munsch’s illness because, as season 1 showed, things change rapidly on Scream Queens. Last season I lost count over how many times Chanel and Chad broke up and got back together. Character changed decisions so rapidly I got whiplash. It’s hard to care about the characters and plots themselves on Scream Queens when experience shows that nothing is consistent on this show.
However, Scream Queens has embraced its element of unexpectedness. It’s both the show’s strength and weakness because for better and worse, it allows it to be like nothing else on television.
Notes and Observations
- I loved the startled look on Chad Radwell’s face that makes it apparent that no, he didn’t realize it takes years to become a doctor.
- I love that Scream Queens takes the horror movie trope of the police being unable to help and just amps up to ridiculous levels. Dean Munsch’s “No, don’t call the police! They’re morons!” when she catches the killer was great.
- I also loved “From now on, when someone has just fought off the killer and they’re about to reach down and pull off the mask and find out who it is, not the time to distract them with a bunch of questions!”
- I love the design of the Green Meanie (although that name is really hard to take seriously), with a creepier, more elaborate design than last season’s killer. The glowing green footprints are also a nice touch.
- Chad goes hunting with Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Ted Danson. Never change Chad, never change.