Before we get started here I’d just like a blow a gigantic raspberry and flap a sarcastic goodbye wave to the Summer of 2016. Sorry if you’re a sunshine, good vibrations and beach type of person, but I’m much more of a dead leaves, smashed pumpkin and ghoulish confectionery kind of a girl. Hello Autumn, you sexy, sugar skull of a season. And welcome back, honey (how I pined for you). Of course, with Summer enjoying it’s final rigor mortis stagger into the unhallowed terrain of Fall, we can also wave hello to the return of some of our favourite horror shows (sit down, Walking Dead. Nobody gives a half eaten brain about you anymore). And with that let me rain some blood stained, pink confetti in celebration of the first episode of Scream Queens season two.
There was so much to love about the first episode of the new season, even if it was desperately missing the screen presence of Glen Powell’s Chad Radwell (and not nearly enough of Niecy Nash’s Denise Hemphill or Lea Michele’s Hester Ulrich). But I’m willing to try and entertain some patience and expect for them to show up at some point, right? RIGHT?
Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system, allow me declare how much I adore the special guest appearance of Jerry O’Connell ―a man who I still know mostly for dating Geri Halliwell in the ’00s and for starring in a top notch Mariah Carey music video once. I always knew that he was destined to plummet into B-Movie territory with aplomb (and his role in Pirhanna 3D, where his character had his manhood gnawed off by fish certainly seemed to indicate that truth), so Scream Queens feels like his perfect spiritual home. Even if his role as a drugged up Doctor who was dumping patients into the hospital swamp (of course) felt all too brief. Somebody give Jezza some more campy, horror roles please.
Moving swiftly on, I also adored that season two isn’t letting up on it’s shrieking bouts of self-awareness. Whilst the show is undoubtedly something of a feminist comedy (even if it is a lovingly superficial one which sometimes makes awfully close to the cuff jokes), it’s also more than capable of poking fun at itself, and at it’s core audience. The decision to continue framing Jamie Leigh Curtis’ Cathy Mensch as an exploiter of feminism, rather than as an active troubadour and developer of it, is a tremendous one.
At the start of the episode, for instance, we see the whirlwind of success which has followed her career from the events which ended season one. A montage sequence shows us a parade of ludicrously hyperbolic cover stories about Mensch, heralding her as the leader of New New Feminism. Supposedly this advancement of the movement is founded on the pillars of great financial success, making oneself powerful enough to have the capacity to hire colleagues based on their general hotness and lashings of Pepto Abysmal cocktails (which is a drink I just coined the name of, featuring Mensch’s unique blend of both hooch of Pepto Bismol – aka, the cure, as her booze glass declared it. Amen, sister).
When Keke Palmer’s Zayday Williams starts working in Mensch’s new dubious hospital in return for all of her college fees to be paid by the shady sugar mama, she demands to know why she’s the only other woman on staff. Isn’t Mensch supposed to be some great leader of feminism now? And, of course she isn’t, as she rolls her eyes and responds: “Feminism is boring”. Zing! I howled, you guys. It felt so good.
And this is a small part of the reason why I love this show so much. It understands the importance of feminism, and I feel like the makers of Scream Queens know that it’s audience will be made up of a lot of young women who probably hold incredibly progressive political beliefs and probably identify as feminists themselves. And in such a goofy, camp, kistch-o-rama of a horror show like this, it works perfectly to allow it’s audience the freedom to be able to laugh at themselves. Feminism needs that right now. And if you understand anything about the history of horror films, women’s place within them and the way that feminism has been a part of that, then you will also understand how reverential these jokes are in regards to that.
Ugh, but anyway, allow me to stop myself before this becomes an esoteric ramble which proves Mensch’s statement on feminism to be true. And let’s move quickly on to the highlight reel of the episode.
Highlights Of Scream Queens: Season Two, Episode One
- The name of the hospital is Our Lady Of Perpetual Suffering. And I spat my coffee out everywhere to cackle at it.
- The wisecracks continued to be on point:
Mensch (in response to accusations that she’s not a real Doctor): “…they gave me the honourary Doctorate they stripped from Bill Cosby”
Chanel Oberlin (speaking about Chanel #5’s decision to work at a children’s dental surgery for families with low income): “Personally I think [she] did it to get free braces for her vagina teeth”
- The Chanels had their court case become a Netflix sensation a la Making A Murderer. Complete with noise-heavy, VHS style footage of courtroom proceedings and Police interrogations.
- There were four very excellent definitions of “Ghosting” introduced which I loved every second of. Is it when you leave a party early without telling anyone? Is it when you think someone likes you back and is super attentive but then totally ignores you without warning? Is it when you do a poop but can’t find it in the bowl or any evidence of it on the paper wipe afterwards? Or is it when people stand silently and observe something as though they’re not there? There can only be one, guys.
- The decision to turn Taylor Lautner into an ice cold nihilist. Kudos.
- The decision to have John Stamos enjoying a naked, slo-mo shower to the perfect musical strains of Roxette’s “She’s Got The Look” (easily one of the best songs ever made right? And if you don’t know it, for the love of your musical welfare, look it up).
- Three words: Kirstie. Alley. YASSS.
- Stamos also stroking the furry legs of the patient with “werewolf syndrome” like a pet whilst he’s trying to treat her. I too have a pair of very furry legs that he can do that to anytime he likes FYI (nailed it. What a sexy invite).
- Chanel #3 wearing inflated rubber gloves in place of her usual ear muffs whilst in the operating theatre.
- The Ronnettes “Be My Baby” makes for tremendous murder music.
I’ve only just realised that Skyler Samules (aka Grace Gardner, who was kind of one of the most central characters of the first season) doesn’t appear to be in the second season of Scream Queens. No idea why, but also, is it bad that I didn’t miss her? I only miss Chad.
If Chanel #5 has possibly been beheaded then is there a chance that we could see the character receive the World’s first successful head transplant at Our Lady Of Perpetual Suffering as a result? I sure as hell hope so. Love you, Abigail Breslin.
SCORE: 6.5 / 10 freshly chopped heads. A strong start, but hopefully it picks back up to the manic momentum of season one asap.
Amy Roberts (a.k.a Alabama Roxanne) is a writer, blogger and musician based in Liverpool, UK. She’s published internationally, in print and online, and has had work published with Bustle, Kinkly,The Independent Online, Hello Giggles andQueen Of The Track. She was featured on a panel of David Lynch experts at a Northern Film & Media event in early 2015, and is the bassist for crust-punk band Aüralskit. Her blog ‘I Never Knew You Were Such A Monster‘, fiction and non-fiction about the horrors of everyday life, was shortlisted in theBlog North Awards two years running. She’s interested in illustration, photography, go-go dancing and Timothy Olyphant. She is vehemently, batshit insanely, Team Catalano.