Scream Queens (Pilot)
Review by Dan
There’s a new group of pledges to Kappa house, but the dean of Wallace College is trying her hardest to shut them down for good. To make matters worse, a serial killer is stalking the grounds, and there’s a sub-plot involving a hidden baby from the early 90’s. Sounds cool on paper, right? The problem here is pacing…and the script…and someone had the bright idea to fill the first half hour with what I’m sure they thought was ironic 90’s music that I never really wanted to hear again.
First off, let me say that I don’t know what this show is trying to be. That’s a definite problem. It’s not as if they’ve got bad actors and had no budget, this is Fox – and they’re promoting the hell out of it if being on the byline of Hulu for two days is any indication. I mean, they got Jamie Lee Curtis in a show called Scream Queens and it’s as if no one on the writing staff knows what to do with it. If it hit the lowest common denominator and made a generic horror show that ranged between MTV’s Scream (which I really liked) and Harper’s Island (which I hated), I’d be okay with it. However, it seems that the writers from Glee don’t know how to write horror… or comedy, for that matter. Add onto that that the writers from American Horror Story apparently can’t write comedy. Or it’s bring your kids to work month and let them write your scripts for you. I swear that is an entirely plausible explanation to what I just watched.
Black comedy is supposed to be subtle. It is taking things that the audience normally wouldn’t laugh at and making them do it anyway. It is not going for the obvious joke or making references to better shows, not to show clever insight but just to say “Hey, they did something like this, we can do it with a really annoying voice-over while you watch it”. And it definitely doesn’t work when all of the characters are so unlikable that the audience can’t be empathetic with any of them. A guy in a devil suit driving a lawnmower over buried pledges heads (a la Caligula) isn’t subtle or funny, it’s just there as if it wants the audience to say “Well, that happened”.
Likewise, there is no way that you can make a horror show when I want to end all of the characters with my own hands, the villain looks worse than a bargain bin costume picked up at Odd-lots and the whole show feels like it’s paced trying to beat a Chihuahua hopped up on speed… and the running time for the pilot is an hour and a half. You’re not going anywhere anytime soon show, at least try to do something right. Please? For God’s sake, you’ve got Jamie Lee Curtis, at least use her for something other than exposition. She’s been in enough decent comedies and horror movies, let her try writing for the show.
In conclusion, I was kind of exited to see this series and to see where they were going with it, but after watching the first episode (and remember, the first episode’s job is hooking you into watching more), I have serious doubts about who’s green-lighting shows for Fox. Please scrap whatever the hell you think you’re doing and make this watchable. It doesn’t have to be great, just on par with MTV, and I can’t believe I just had to type that.