Fox’s new television series “Scream Queens” debuted with a provocative two-hour premiere on Sept. 22. The show is full of pop culture references, touching on a multitude of controversial topics including racism, sexism and ableism.
The show opened with a flashback to 1995, where a sorority sister of Kappa Kappa Tau died after childbirth in a bathtub during a party. One sister is supportive while the others just want to go dance to TLC’s “Waterfalls.” Though the girls’ snobby heartlessness was supposed to be comical, it just seemed ridiculous and over-played.
After this scene, the show shifts to present day and is very reminiscent of Mean Girls. Emma Roberts—who plays the lead in Chanel Oberlin—has her three minions, all whom she refers to as Chanel number two, three and five. If you’re wondering what happened to Chanel number four, she’s already dead.
Chanel is, frankly, a spoiled, bossy bitch who takes advantage of everyone around her. She’s comparable to Regina George—but significantly meaner—which would be funny had she not been so offensive.
What bothered me the most about the show, however was the way that sorority girls were portrayed. Though I can’t deny that stereotypical sorority girls exist, this show takes it too far. Chanel and her minions take exclusivity to the next level—they were outwardly prejudiced toward African-American rushes as well as disabled girls. Furthermore, Chanel derogatorily calls Dean Munsch “box munch”—a direct insult to lesbians.
As someone in a sorority with women completely unlike Chanel and her followers, this show is an offensive, misleading representation of the sorority life I know. A lot of women are catty, but the women on this show have no regard for sisterhood or anyone but themselves.
The only actresses that I thought did an exceptional job were Nasim Pedrad from “Saturday Night Live” and Jamie Lee Curtis. Pedrad—who portrays Gigi Caldwell, the national president of Kappa Kappa Tau—was funny without seeming at all contrived. Curtis—who plays Dean Cathy Munsch—did a fantastic job being the quirky, inappropriate dean. This role, however, seems to be an insult to her experience as an actor. A number of less-established actresses could play this character and I feel like she was chosen just to draw viewers.
I didn’t know what to expect with this show, which is what appealed to me in the first place. I was also attracted to the cast full of celebrities including Nick Jonas, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Jamie Lee Curtis and Ariana Grande. Unfortunately, I was left disappointed.
The aforementioned actors are, in my opinion, well above this distasteful, bizarre show—I’m stunned that Fox even allowed this material to be on television. Perhaps this show is posing as a commentary on the behavior of our generation, but I feel like this isn’t remotely close to accurate.
Though television shows are undoubtedly becoming more scandalous, “Scream Queens” takes it a few steps too far.
Nicole Sheldon is a sister of Sigma Kappa.