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Scream Queens premiere recap: Pilot and Hell Week

Welcome to Kappa Kappa Tau, the sorority pledges are dying to get into.

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Steve Dietl/Fox

Scream Queens

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Emma Roberts, Lea Michele
Comedy, Horror

If Scream and Mean Girls had unprotected sex atop the detritus from nine rounds of beer pong while “Bad Blood” played in the background, the fruit of their loins would probably look something like Scream Queens — the latest horror story from producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan.

In familiar Murphinian style, Scream Queens delights in poking fun at, well, everything. Some targets worthy (pumpkin spice lattes), some not (deaf people). Whether or not you relish equal-opportunity mockery will likely dictate whether you suck up Scream Queens like some sort of bittersweet cocktail. (Be sure to check out my colleague Melissa Maerz’s review for even more commentary.)

But enough of that: Shall we get to recapping, idiot hookers?

We open in 1995, with a scene ripped from I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant: Sorority House Edition. A Kappa Kappa Tau pledge—under the mistaken impression that she’s hiding nothing more than the Freshman 15 beneath her yellow taffeta — has just given birth in an upstairs bathtub, while a party rages downstairs. Her disgusted sisters won’t deign to help her until they’ve properly jammed to TLC’s “Waterfalls.” (“A lonely mother gazing out of her window…”) Cut to approximately four minutes and 39 seconds later, and Teen Mom has bled out. Oops. The baby seems to be fine though. Note that.

Now we fast-forward to the present, 20 years later. The Kappa house is ruled by Chanel No. 1 (Emma Roberts), with minions Chanel No. 2 (pop tart Ariana Grande), Chanel No. 3 (Billie Lourd), and Chanel No. 5 (Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine no more) nipping at her heels like so many pitiful Maltipoos. All is not well in House Kappa. A new Dean (’70s scream queen and yogurt aficionado Jamie Lee Curtis in a winking turn) has won the academic game of thrones and is out to stymie the sorority. Dean Munsch accuses Chanel of Lannister-ian plottings after a spray tan incident left the previous Chanel No. 1 burned and disfigured last year. (Hydrochloric acid will do that to a person.) It’s worth noting this bronzed flashback offers our first look at the Red Devil — a menacing costumed figure and this series’ Big Bad. But before Dean Munsch can revoke the girls’ charter, in walks Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad), the national president of Kappa Kappa Tau and a lawyer who graduated from a fourth-tier law school in the Caribbean. Gigi’s efforts ensure the side-boob mixer will go on this year, but she agrees with the Dean that changes are needed.

NEXT: Grace under peer pressure