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Culture > Entertainment

Jeffery Dahmer vs Rachel Berry: Ranking Ryan Murphy

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Vic chapter.

The other day it came to my attention that the new highly-watched 2022 series titled Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story was co-created by writer, director, and producer Ryan Murphy – information that shocked me to my core.

As a lover of all things television, I have come across MANY Ryan Murphy originals. Easily being entranced by the witty commentary, aesthetically pleasing uses of color, and fantastic acting brought forth in each show. 

Although Ryan Murphy’s new Jeffery Dahmer series has been held in high regard by the public, the show sometimes lacks a fluent execution of the overarching plot, having only received a 57% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The series uses fragmented storytelling to detail Dahmer’s haunting murders, following his life from childhood to his inevitable demise, and although it’s labeled a horror, it primarily focuses on the systemic racism that played a part in Dahmer’s ability to get away with his crimes.

While sitting down to watch the series, I found this style of fragmented storytelling to be too confusing. It often switches between Dahmer in prison, Dahmer as a child, and Dahmer in his young adult years. Although this setup is intriguing, the story is so mixed that a lot of the important aspects of characterization get lost within it. 

The show fits the aesthetic signature look of Ryan Murphy’s style, but the structure of the series doesn’t match Murphy’s charm. With that in mind, I decided to look back at all the other great projects Ryan Murphy has been a part of in order to see where I felt the new Jeffery Dahmer series fit into the mix. Shockingly, however, I realized that for me, it didn’t make the top five. 

5) Scream Queens 

Okay, hear me out. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who love to bash Scream Queens because of its unrealistic young-adult characters and overly dramatic murder plot, but no one can deny that the show is an iconic Halloween classic!

It follows a group of misfit girls who are suddenly allowed to enroll in one of the most popularity-patrolled sororities in the world, all while a serial killer is killing students on campus. With its all-star cast consisting of Lea Michelle, Nick Jonas, Emma Roberts, Ariana Grande, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Glen Powell, the show is a hilarious murder mystery comedy. The question of who the killer truly is keeps viewers on their toes from episode one, as all characters are written to seem extremely untrustworthy.

4) The Politician 

What this series lacks in the ratings, it makes up with entertaining private school drama. Taking place in the modern day, the story follows a young man’s journey to becoming president of the United States, starting his political career by applying to Harvard and attempting to be elected as the student body president of his private school. 

Played by Ben Platt, the deeply complex Peyton Hobart is an almost perfectly written anti-hero. There are times when you root for his success while he explores his relationship with his classmate River, and times when you cheer for his downfall after watching him stab his friends in the back to climb to the top. The show has fantastic visuals and utilizes elements like colour to signify emotion and character personality. It also has a great inclusion of music! As Ben Platt sings covers from time to time.

3) Glee 

Despite its ability to be cringe-worthy, Glee definitely makes this list because it’s simply iconic. 

The series follows the dramatic lives of the many members of McKinley High’s struggling “Glee” club (show choir). Being a huge group of misfits, they are considered at the bottom of the social chain of their school and are often bullied by both students and faculty. In the face of adversity, they come together to sing and dance with one goal in mind: making it to sectionals… regionals… or nationals… or… well, let’s just say they perform at a lot of competitions. 

The show contains stupid teenage drama, intense family trauma, and incredible song and dance. It also has great Queer representation that was definitely ahead of its time, although be warned, as some jokes made are potentially harmful today.

2) American Horror Story

Although I haven’t gotten the chance to fully explore the complex world within Murphy’s well-known American Horror Story, I cannot deny that this series is one of Ryan Murphy’s greatest successes. 

This series is the only one on this list that is similar to Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story , for instead of a light-hearted comedy, it follows a series of dark horror stories. From tales of creepy asylums to unsettling carnival freak shows, the show explores a wide stretch of horror narratives, having different stories be the central focus of each season. It also reuses a lot of its actors, as Evan Peters (who also plays Jeffery Dahmer), Sarah Paulson, and Lily Rabe have all appeared in 9 of the 11 seasons so far. 

1) Hollywood

Although unknown to many, this limited series has been one of the best Ryan Murphy creations of all time. It may only have one season, but its overall message and fantastically structured plot makes the show feel timeless. 

The series takes place in Hollywood in the 1950s, following the many lives of actors, writers, and directors trying to follow their dreams in the golden age of film. It uses real-life people from the time like Rock Hudson and Hattie McDaniel, to explore the idea of what could have happened if studios took risks in the past by featuring people of colour in popular film. It is a truly heartwarming series that has great acting, amazing production values, and satisfying resolutions. By the end of my first-ever viewing (I have since watched it 7 times), I cried many happy tears.

Of course, a lot of these Ryan Murphy shows mentioned might not cater to your specific television tastes, so it’s totally understandable if you do not agree with my list. All of Ryan Murphy’s works have distinctly been brilliant for their own reasons, so it’s safe to say that some shine brighter than others in certain aspects. 

The powerful message put out at the end of Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story truly cannot be compared to the purposefully cringe-worthy humor in Scream Queens, it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

Regardless of rankings, Ryan Murphy will always be known to surprise us with his writing, as you can never be too sure where his genius will lead us next.

Jess Legati is the Marketing and Publicity director with the Her Campus @ U Vic chapter. Her job is to oversee the promotion and marketing of events that her chapter plans to host within their campus and community. Outside Her Campus, Jess is a third-year writing student at UVIC with a minor in digital and interactive media in the arts. She has worked with Her Campus as a writer in past years and released her first-ever self-written EP titled Touch the Sky, in 2022. In her time at UVIC, she has received two in-course awards from her department: the UVIC Bookstore Scholarship in Writing, and the Mary Aitken Legacy Scholarship in Writing. Jess spends most of her free time following the intense world of Formula One racing, but outside of motorsport, she is a chill gal who loves singing, playing guitar, and hanging out with her friends. She is super fond of fictional series like Marvel and Harry Potter and hopes to one day utilize her passion for visual media to write for television and film.