These Queens are bringing the screams to your TV

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Ana Erickson, Features Editor

If you’re looking for a scream, a laugh or both on Tuesday evenings, Scream Queens is your newest and best bet.

Scream Queens premiered on FOX on Sept. 22 to 4.04 million viewers. Depending which websites you checked around that time, you might have seen either glowing or condemning reviews of it.

On Tumblr, Photoshop-adept teens posted GIFs of Ariana Grande’s scenes within minutes of the episode ending. If you checked Rotten Tomatoes, you were probably put off. The site stuck it with a 56 percent rating and called it “tasteless and silly.” It seemed to depend on the mental age group of the viewers.

To be honest, millennials will probably enjoy this show the most. That’s scarcely a bad thing. We’re the fastest-growing demographic, and when we consume media, we really savor it; the Tumblr notes are an example. The millennial age group, even its extremes (13-year-olds and early-twenty-somethings), has the show American Horror Story  embedded in their memory, and Scream Queens will fit right in underneath that. If you have a youthful soul and enjoy tongue-in-cheek horror, you can tune in, no matter your age.

Scream Queens shares its creative staff with American Horror Story, as well as Glee. It would be lazy to say that it combines those two, but there are definitely hints of both shows in Scream Queens. It centers on a seemingly-cursed sorority Kappa Kappa Tau, led by the pastel-clad witch-with-a-b Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts). You’ll recognize Roberts from seasons three and four of American Horror Story, where she played troubled actress Madison Montgomery and Maggie Esmerelda, respectively.

After an incident that I won’t spoil, the Kappas are forced to accept anyone into their sorority. One of the new pledges is Hester Ulrich, a.k.a. Neckbrace (Lea Michele). After her iconic role as Rachel Berry in Glee, Michele signed on to Scream Queens to get out from under Berry’s fictional shadow, with the approval of Ryan Murphy, creator of both shows.

You’d think that most of Kappa Kappa Tau’s problems would come from the Red Devil, the disguised serial killer that targets its pledges, but the sorority’s screwed-up power dynamic is what’s really doing it in. Chanel has forced every pledge to be her minions, numbering every one and naming them after her (Chanel #3, Chanel #4, Chanel #5, which are also all names of expensive perfumes – clever). Whenever a pledge had contested her in the past, the pledge was not-so-mysteriously slaughtered. This has led the school’s dean, Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis), to investigate KKT.

The inclusion of Curtis, one of the original queens of screaming (Halloween) in Scream Queens, is one of the few incredibly satisfying tie-ins the writers have made to the expansive horror genre. Some of the scenes are almost directly out of the 1980s female-driven black comedy Heathers. Upcoming episodes will riff on Psycho, The Shining and Saw, all different types covered by the umbrella of horror. Only three episodes have aired, but viewers can expect more revue of the genre in the next few episodes.

Those who aren’t as pulled in by ridiculous gore and sorority drama might be grabbed by Scream Queens’ high-profile guest stars and recurring actors. Ariana Grande (Victorious, singer) appears as Chanel #2. Nick Jonas (The Jonas Brothers, like all of Disney Channel) is in a few episodes as Boone Clemens, a fraternity man clouded in conspiracy. Keke Palmer (Akeelah and the Bee, True Jackson VP) is a regular character, Zayday Williams. Zayday is often the only logical person in the show.

The gore and deaths in Scream Queens are ridiculous enough to laugh at. They would be much scarier if it weren’t for the Home-Alone-movie-poster scream-faces that the girls pull after each gory moment. Still, I had to watch the show in full daylight with friends on call for reassurance that I wasn’t going to be murdered by the Red Devil. Scream Queens ensures that you’ll have a good time, torn between laughing and screaming your head off in fear.

Scream Queens airs Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m. central on FOX.