Friday, November 28, 2008

On my Thanksgiving vacation, I screamed!

The reason it's been quiet around Librarilly Blonde lately is due to 1) my catching the office plague and 2) my taking a week's vacation. As someone who's usually not happy if I don't have more things on my to-do list than I can possibly do in a day, I'm a little surprised at how happy NOT doing anything for a week (we're talking reading ONE book, not blogging, not reading my feeds, only occasionally looking at Twitter) has made me. Most days, I didn't even bother getting out of my pajamas.

But what's there to do if you don't blog, read, read your feeds, etc.? Oh, my friends, let me introduce you to my latest television addiction, Scream Queens.

The concept of Scream Queens is simple: Ten young women go through a competitive reality show in order to land a role in Saw VI. There are most of the standard competitive-reality-show stereotypes here: The bitch who thinks she's got it in the bag (Michelle), the experienced actress (Lindsay), the crazy chick (Jessica), the talented newcomer (Tanedra), and more. Every week, established scream queen Shawnee Smith leads the girls through various acting challenges that showcase their talents in subgenres of horror. In one scene they have to do "camp" as a talking disembodied head. In another, they are "possessed by the devil." Each episode has an acting challenge, like the Quickfire challenge on Top Chef, followed by a director's challenge, from which they pick the week's "leading lady" and who goes home. At other times, there are acting classes, makeovers, and in-house drama. Here's a clip of them getting a director's challenge assignment.

I am not a die-hard, MUST SEE IN THEATERS horror fan, but I do enjoy the occasional scary flick so I figured I'd tune in. I expected America's Next Top Model, more or less, with more acting challenges. The two shows aren't wholly dissimilar in that they teach through challenges, but there's a purity of heart in Scream Queens that ANTM has begun to lose over the years. There's the occasional spat of catfighting and insults, but a lot of it looks overmanufactured. For me, the part that's fun to watch is the acting classes and directors' challenge. The girls might fight and make catty comments in their confessionals, but the viewer can also see that they are each dedicated to doing the best they can in horror acting. They think about character motivations, timing, working with a sometimes restraining costume, emotions beyond horror, and physical acting, expressing their emotions. When my personal favorite Lindsay was almost voted off, one of the judges asked her why she was there, and rather than give the "I deserve to be here" blah blah that so many reality competitors do, classy Lindsay said, "I love to act and I've got the experience to bring to your set." I think they're all into doing the reality show to boost their fame, but what sets the final four apart from most of the other "I'm here to, like, achieve A-list Hollywood Insider status," reality show competitors is their dedication to horror acting and their cognizance of how the outside world views many horror movies and those who make them. The contenders and judges all are usually on their best behavior on set.

This Monday is the series finale, which will pit Angela, Tanedra, Lindsay, and Michelle against each other for two final challenges. If you get the chance during the day you'll probably be able to catch earlier episodes before the finale airs. I have no idea what the director's challenge will be, but I would absolutely love to see all the finalists re-enact the "reverse bear trap" scene that Shawnee Smith made famous in the original Saw. I'm not embedding it here, but you can view it on YouTube here. Be forewarned, the scene is not for the faint of heart. Or the reference desk.

The finale will be a bloody, screaming, fight to the death...if we're lucky.

Scream Queens blog
|| the discussion at Television Without Pity || Watch episodes at Fancast

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