Ryan Murphy. It just never seems to be enough with this man. His creations Glee and American Horror Story, both guilty of being on the air a little too long, are now once again old news to the great Ryan Murphy. His new baby and horror parody, Scream Queens, is causing plenty of buzz in the TV community—both good and bad. There were certain expectations that came along with the creator’s name, and I’m sad to say they were met.
Going in to the premiere the question on everyone’s mind was: “Is this going to be classic Ryan Murphy?” Well kids, the answer is a resounding yes. Among the several rather racist moments and completely cookie cutter character arcs is room for this story to possibly grow, but it probably never will. Instead of writing about all the things I believe Ryan Murphy did wrong, here are a few things he should have done right.
1. Make more complex/non-offensive black characters
Come on, Ryan! I understand that this is supposed to be poking fun at society, but Keke Palmer’s character should break the boundaries and be a far more compelling, NON-STEREOTYPICAL black female character on TV.
2. Stop with the constant killing crutch
We all love American Horror Story for two reasons: Jessica Lange, and the killings. It’s true, everyone loves a clown stabbing people in the chest thirty times, but that doesn’t mean there should be an average of 3 murders/attempted murders per episode of Scream Queens.
3. Stop with the casual misogyny
We get it Ryan, you don’t like misogynistic men, but your parody comes off as almost reality sometimes. All the “outrageous” things that these guys are saying, really aren’t that outrageous. Women hear this stuff every day. So cool it with the sexist male characters; they’re not funny.
4. Give us better comedy
There is no denying that mean people are funny. Unfortunately mean sells, but at times this comedy is just a little too mean. Emma Roberts is one of the only good parts of this show, but I felt bad laughing once or twice when watching. Comedy doesn’t have to be mean spirited to be successful, and more importantly, different!
5. Cut the gore and make it scary
After about 3 episodes, I found the biggest flaw of this show to be that I never felt scared while watching. It’s hard to believe after seasons 3 and 4 of American Horror Story that Ryan Murphy failed to scare me, but the fault lies in the very poorly staged gore in this show. The scene where a fraternity guy’s arms are chopped off was borderline absurd. Yes, I giggled a little, but I giggled at how bad it was. Anything to get a laugh, I guess.
6. Lastly, give us something new
Scream Queens pulls from The House on Sorority Row (1983), Prom Night, and perhaps most pertinently, 1988’s dark comedy masterpiece, Heathers. Indeed, far more important than any straight horror influence, Scream Queens feels like a direct descendant of Daniel Waters’ screenplay, uninhibited by lesser copycats’ fear of restraint in depicting mean girls. Rather, Scream Queens is somewhat of a 21st century update about what would happen if the Heathers had lived to graduation and made it to college: they’d join a sorority and become even b*tchier. It’s already been done, Ryan!
Don’t get me wrong, I love Jamie Lee Curtis and Emma Roberts. How could anyone completely hate anything with Lea Michelle? I just wish this amazing cast had a little better material to work with. Over the duration of three episodes, the show is slowly getting better, but I find this show to be somewhat of a disappointment, especially with a great cast like this. Overall, I would give Scream Queens three out of five stars.