Scream Queens: Season 2
Horror and comedy are two genres that more closely related than most people fully realize. They combine with a success akin to the proverbial peanut butter and chocolate. Since 1948 when Universal Studios decided to combine their iconic catalog of movie monsters with one of their most popular comedy teams. The result was ‘Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.’ Currently, there is a movie franchise, ‘Scary Movie’ that parodies a broad selection of horror movies combined in an outlandish spoof. Although the films tended to be panned by the critical community, they have become guilt pleasure among the fans.In the current entertainment paradigm, there is a much greater fluidity between movies and television. The result, in this case, is a little television series ‘Scream Queens.’ The second and final season hasn’t been released on DVD, but it is readily available through streaming video services including Amazon and Vudu. It’s the ideal time to consider its merits. To properly appreciate this series and receive the full measure of entertainment potential it is crucial that several salient points be properly understood. Among the most important is this type of comedy doesn’t have to make sense. This genre is often referred to as a farce. The foundation of these stories is ridiculously impossible. The situations are nonsensical meaning the more you attempt to make sense of the plot points your application of the humor drastically diminishes. Another aspect is the characters are frequently pulled into decidedly ribald circumstances that frequently test the limits of good taste. At the crudest end of the spectrum are the R rated high school or college sexually oriented romps with examples including ‘Porky’s’ and the ‘American Pie’ franchise. With even broadcast networks experiencing a considerable looser set of acceptable content. The Fox network has always maintained a reputation for pushing the boundaries of what was traditionally considered suitable for television. Also, ‘Scream Queens’ was the product of creative showrunners, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. The shows they created gained reputations for cutting edges series usually with a strong vein of dark humor and irony. Among their eclectic list of credits are ‘Nip/Tuck,’ ‘Glee’ and most recently, ‘American Horror Story.’ This series fits in with their weird and strange wonderful world.
The first season took place in one of the perennial favorite settings for a teenage-oriented horror story, a college campus, particularly a sorority house. It is the perfect source of nubile young women with excuses for skimpy outfits and showers. During this season many primary characters are established that will be reformatted for this season. In any group of girls, there is usually a queen bee, the alpha female. In this context, that position of social power and control goes to Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts). Wealthy parents made certain that Chanel never had to exert herself to gain anything she desired. Her self-importance is so overwhelming that she ever-present entourage of followers is stripped of their names, replaced by Channel and a number. Surviving the murderous mayhem of the first season has reduced the ranks to a pair of stalwart sycophants, Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) and Channel #5 (Abigail Breslin). A running joke throughout both seasons is that Channel #5 always wears some form of ear muffs. The reason is given within the strange context of the strange story, but it seems that it is a playful wink to Ms. Lourd’s mother. Her mom was the late Carrie Fisher; the ear muffs poke fun at the iconic bus she wore in the first ‘Star Wars.’After the events of the previous season pointed to them as the serial killer. They were committed to a mental institution to serve their sentence. They were released after one of the unpopular girls from the school, Hester Ulrich (Lea Michele), confessed. When the Channels are released Channel, Prime becomes a phlebotomist hoping to counter the wave of public hatred. The former Dean of the University, Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis), after quitting the university Munsch decides to start a medical with a cash windfall. The result is the C.U.R.E. Institute Hospital (Caregivers United in Restorative Etiology Institute Hospital, The purported purpose was to cure incurable diseases. Considering the staff were with untrained or incompetent doubtful that that institution could cure a papercut. Channel Prime is brought in as a medical student despite the lack of accreditation and a student with no aptitude for anything beyond coordinating outfits. The girls dress in a sort of nurse’s uniform with the Channel’s wearing a type of nurse’s cap with their numbers in glitter.
The doctors on staff appear to have been hired based on how closely they resemble doctors on a daytime soap opera, handsome but brainless. Dr. Brock Holt (John Stamos) and Dr. Cassidy Cascade (Taylor Lautner) come up with the most ludicrous solutions for the strangest aliments imaginable. Dr. Holt is the head surgeon and complete narcissus. An example of the surrealism that permeates the series Dr. Holt was the recipient of the world’s first transplant of a hand, the issue that arises is the hand was a murderer. At random times the hand takes over, expressing a murderous mind of their own. This plot contrivance has been a staple of ‘B’ horror flicks for many years. Mr. Stamos overacts with a wry sense of dark humor, overselling the affliction with maximum effect. This storyline offers an incredible opportunity for good old fashion physical comedy. Mr. Stamos has many years of experience with this specific brand of humor derived from his time on the popular sitcom, ‘Full House’ former action hero from the ‘Twilight Saga’ Mr. Lautner serves mostly in the capacity of a straight man finding his niche rather than trying to compete with his more experienced co-stars. Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash), had been a security guard at the college who was hired by Ms. Munsch to investigate the return of serial killer from the past, the Green Meanie, murderer dressed in elaborate green demon costume with oversized curved horns He was initially active in 1985 when the building was Our Lady of Perpetual Suffering hospital. The creature was created when at a Halloween party a body was disposed of by dumping it in a swamp conveniently located near the hospital.
The only person demonstrating an iota of competence is the former society president, Payday Williams (Keke Palmer). Still hated by Channel and her underlings she is a rival medical student always outperforming Channel. The writers are entirely unapologetic over the flimsy, forced excuses for reintroducing characters from the first season. With Channel Prime in control of her minions, there was a vacancy in the narrative for a character to contrast against the overly privileged and vacuous Channel. Besides, many of these characters were too well written to omit. Another example id Channel Prime’s former boyfriend, Chad Radwell (Glen Powell), a vapid, self-obsessed young man with a room temperature IQ (Celsius), who lives to humiliate other men and have sex with any female in the vicinity. As if that wasn’t sufficient reason to find the character despicable he is also a necrophiliac. Hester was also too strange to leave in the Institute for the criminally insane. After channel visits her for clues to finding the current killer, ripping the famous scene from ‘Silence of the Lambs,’ she is released to the hospital. When the Channels are attacked Hester is designated as Channel #6 in the hope of redirecting the killer. The series is definitely in the ‘guilty pleasure category of entertainment remaining sharp and wickedly funny and imaginative in this second season. It was fortunate that the series was canceled, to continue it any further would have been counterproductive.