If you’re at all familiar with the sort of writing I’ve done in the past, you’re probably aware that I’m a self-absorbed “bigot” who enjoys nothing more than to tear other people down and be a general headhunting bitch in situations where it’s not necessary. According to what seems like the entirety of the human race I am the ultimate sorority “Mean Girl™” who deserves to die alone, rot in hell, get eaten alive by piranhas…basically any form of torture that even detainees at Guantanamo Bay don’t have to sit through is appropriate for me. In truth, the impression people have of me is only half accurate — I really do hate everything. As for the “bigot” shit, eh. Everyone sucks in my book so I’m more of an equal opportunity employer in my eyes.
So when I sat down to watch Scream Queens, a show whose main character was apparently based off of my own work…
At the Television Critics’ Association’s summer press tour on Wednesday, show creator Ryan Murphy revealed that Emma Roberts’ character Chanel was inspired by the work of perhaps the most famous sorority sister of them all.
If you recall, Rebecca Martinson, whom the Internet nicknamed “Deranged Sorority Girl,” resigned from the Delta Gamma chapter of the University of Maryland after her homophobic, racist and expletive-laden email to her fellow sisters went viral in 2013. Also recall that Martinson used the phrase “cunt punt” in her email, so we’re curious to see what Murphy comes up with for Roberts’ character this season.
“We were interested in mirroring that idea,” Murphy told reporters. “Unlike that girl, who apologized and resigned, we wanted to bring our queen bee character to some sort of awareness about her behavior.”
…I did my best to have an open mind. “Hell, maybe they’ll throw in a cunt punt or two” was really the only thought I had towards the show at the time, forgetting that it’s on network television. Most TV shows royally jack up anything centered around Greek Life; not because it’s really a hard subject matter to tackle but because if you haven’t been in a sorority or fraternity, you don’t get it. But whatever — I liked the first season of American Horror Story and Glee was amusing for like, 20 minutes — Scream Queens was largely in part created by the same people. Can’t be that bad, right?
Yet as I kept watching it the only thing I could find myself thinking was that I’d wish the Red Devil Latex Suit BDSM Guy would jump out of the screen and impale me through the face.
I don’t consider myself a sorority girl anymore. I did it for one year, got kicked out, clearly I sucked at it…but this? They’re not even trying to understand what goes on in these houses. It’s television, I get it — if you want to have every single girl in the chapter have their own bedroom with walk-in closets and cathedral ceilings, have the chapter be made up of literally like, what…10 people? Eight now that two are dead? Then fine. You can’t have a cast of 140 people running around doing shit every episode. The housekeeper can be called “white mammy” if you think it’s funny even though I guarantee at least 75% of my generation hasn’t seen Gone with the Wind and Emma Roberts can go on a goddamn monologue whenever she gets a chance to say something that could be even slightly reprehensible. It’s television. You gotta keep it entertaining if you want to make it to season 2.
But what the show completely throws out the window and then consciously chooses to not even try to go out and find in the bushes is the sisterhood aspect of the whole thing.
Now I know what you’re saying, “Oh my god don’t get on this soapbox no one wants to hear it Martinson.” Good, because I don’t either. I’m not talking about “sisterhood” in the sense that everyone gets down criss-cross applesauce and makes blood pacts with each other (like seriously?), I’m talking about sisterhood in the sense of that whatever you’re doing is for the benefit of the chapter.
We got to see it for a split second at the very beginning. Remember the scenes where the pledge was found having given birth in a bath tub in the upstairs of the chapter house and all her sisters were like “Um ew, can you not? We’re having a party downstairs and it’s like totally 1995. Stuff yourself up with cotton and GTFO” ? Granted, those girls told her to wait until the party ended because they’re selfish twats who wanted to listen to TLC, but at least one of them was right: you CAN’T go traipsing around a party carrying a baby in a blood-soaked dress. That doesn’t look good. That doesn’t look good for the chapter.
If the creators of Scream Queens legitimately did base Emma Roberts’ character off of my email, then they missed the mark. Yeah it was deranged and over the top, but it was for the good of the chapter. I cared. I cared so FUCKING much about something so fucking STUPID that I didn’t want to see the whole week go down in a ball of flames and I blew up in an email. That’s the thing no one gets about Greek Life — it sucks you in. It becomes your life, your motive behind choosing whether or not you’re going to wake up early to do your hair in the morning and one of the main driving forces behind getting good grades, God forbid you wind up on sorority probation. I hadn’t fully dunked my head into the keg that was being in a sorority until my mom died, and then I poured my soul into it. Everything I had; the world’s best distraction that welcomed you with open arms as long as you were willing to give it all that you could. And I did…for the good of the chapter. The only thing that mattered to me.
That’s what Scream Queens doesn’t get; all of the characters in this show are in it for themselves. Chanel #1? She wants to be an intern on Good Morning America and the only way to do so is to be president of Kappa Kappa Tau. Investigative goody two-shoes Grace joined so she could feel closer to the mother she never met, and sorry to break it to you honey — that shit ain’t gonna work and I know it from first-hand experience. Zayday pledges for the idiotic reasoning that if she can become president of KKT then becoming president of the United States should be a cakewalk. As for Neckbrace, that god-awful Taylor Swift creature and the rest of them, they joined because they wanted to become “popular” and then chose to stay after a casual deep fry because Chanel offered them boyfriends plus a trip to Cancun for spring break.
Sorry not sorry, but NO ONE would put up with any of that. No one. The show manages to coast by on the logic of “Oh em gee I want to be popular and hot so people will love me wheee!” but that shit doesn’t fly in college. This isn’t Regina George prowling the hallways with her bra flopping through the front of her shirt — in high school there’s a limited pool of people to be friends with. You fuck it up, congratulations, you’re now the girl who puked half-digested taco meat all over the back patio during lunch. It doesn’t work like that anymore in college. Wallace University is, according to Jamie Lee Curtis’ Dean Munsch, a “national university,” boasting “thousands” of staff and students…so why would you willingly subject yourself to the menstruating diva cup that is Chanel Oberlin when there are literally SO many other people you could be sucking up to who won’t even put you through half this level of hell? For fuck’s sake they got buried up to their necks in the back yard and run over with a lawnmower. Please, email me back and let me know if you’re literally retarded enough to stick around in a sorority after watching your pledge sister get fucking decapitated. I won’t judge (yes I will I’m lying).
Even if you do get buried up to your neck with peat moss for some absurd reason that people in charge justify as a “learning experience,” you stick around for your pledge sisters. The girls who are buried next to you snorting fire ants up their nose because, well, they’ll end up there anyway may as well embrace the inevitable — they’re what’s keeping you around. Call it stupid, call it a cult, but the bond you create when you go through some idiotic shit cooked up by 20-year-old college juniors is genuinely lasting. The pledge sisters in Scream Queens though? I don’t even think they know each other’s names, let alone what day of the week it is. None of them have any legitimate reason to stick around and take Chanel’s abuse because none of them understand what it’s like to care about something so much that you’re willing to sacrifice everything you have for it.
I suppose at the end of the day no one really tuned into Scream Queens to get a crash course in sorority life, with the only real reason to watch being to see a bunch of college coeds get stabbed by some dude in a Halloween costume. That’s fine, no skin off my back — but for once, once, I would just like to see a show actually embrace what it’s like to willingly want to give up your life just for the good of 140 other people who are supposedly your sisters.
Maybe that’s more Scientology than it is Greek Life, but I sure as shit know it’s not Scream Queens.