Scream Again, Queens: Recap of Season Two, Episode One

As a self-contained story arc, Season One wrapped up nicely. The bad guys were dead, except the one that won. The Chanels got their comeuppance. It was a question of how they would get us back to horror camp when I saw the commercials for season two. With a healthy and humorous suspension of disbelief, season two promises more absurdity with just enough new additions to the formula to make it more than worth our time.

Munsch has started a hospital and hired Dr. McDreamies Jon Stamos and Taylor Lautner. Zayday is given a free ride to med school as the result of her hard work and survival. As a struggling/failed writer I can verify that while it’s a stretch that one’s publishing success will allow the bankrolling of an entire hospital, the bullshit field of self-help and recycled platitudes certainly make lots of worthless people lots of money.

Hester was hand-waved into being found responsible for the Red Devil murders. Denise received the credit and has left her security guard life behind. And she’s not the only one who has moved on.

The Chanels had to spend a year post release undoing all the progress they had made in the asylum during the epilogue. Exonerated by the brouhaha raised by a Netflix docuseries, they became universally reviled and this infamy does not translate to superstardom. Reduced to a blue collar existence as medical technicians, they are plot deviced into Munsch’s medical school. They are harangued by Head Nurse Kirstie Alley, hoping for her third John Travolta-style comeback.

Of course, there is another mystery at the center of the show. Dr. Jerry O’Connell interrupts his hospital’s Christmas party to oversee the murder and disposal of a coworker in a haunted swamp just full of toxic waste and probably a monster. But are they going to just tell us that it’s that easy again?

The Chanels’ celebutante bubble has been burst, and so they’re trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. Were this not a horror comedy, we might be exploring their post traumatic stress syndrome and its manifestation as the obsessive compulsive disorder that warrants their awfulness. There are thoroughly shallow individuals in the world, but mo’ money mo’ problems. The Chanels have been through a lot. That doesn’t excuse their own or the show’s disdain for the working class, empowered women, or minorities who all lose the episode’s struggle against the girls. But we’re not getting that deep. It’s all being played for bloody laughs. Real life Itchy and Scratchy cartoons.

The first episode succeeds where American Horror Story couldn’t quite pull the trigger. Both of the shows make a whole lot of promises but Scream Queens feels more certain in its execution and definitely more fresh. This is the show’s sophomore season, so that might be why it is tighter and more enthused about what it’s doing, having found its identity and being just about to hit its stride as opposed to what AHS is doing, trying reinvent itself.