“Wow, you sound like a bad romantic comedy. Except we didn’t meet cute. We met sick-twisted.” - Emma, with a line that made it on to television

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How do you solve a problem like Scream the TV series? Would if you could, the answer would be to nuke it into oblivion, to a point where there was never even a memory of Scream the TV series. In fact, in this scenario, every time you thought of Scream the TV series, your mind would simply go to the much superior Scream 3. (And allow me to remind you: Scream 3 is not good outside of Parker Posey.). But to even call Scream the TV series a “problem” is to consider Scream the TV series something… more. Maybe even meaningful. As episode five, “Exposed,” proves (even before Emma says the title), Scream the TV series is too devoid of substance to be a problem. It’s the episode that is most loaded with terrible dialogue, blank faces (see the vigil speech scene, then see all the scenes), and no slashing. Because why would you want slashing on a slasher program?

Even worse, this episode is an argument to have every single character on this show murdered. For the most part, this entire series is that argument, but this particular episode is a reminder of how Scream the TV series appears to want its audience to care about cyber-bullying, sociopathic, blackmailing, child pornographers. Some character are only one or a few of these things, but regardless, these are key qualities for the characters that actually get screen time. (I’d apologize to Noah and Audrey, but the less screen time those characters have, the easier it is to let them skate by. Even though Noah certainly falls on the sociopathic level often.) This is the second episode in a row with no one getting offed, when the last two people who were just so happened to be the two most (seemingly) innocent characters on a show full of… See above.

Ghostface Filler: “Hello, Emma. How’s it feel to be the star of the show?”

To really answer that, Emma would have to display actual emotions, but based on every episode so far, being the star of the show is great for her, terrible for her “friends” (and strangers), and useless for the audience. As this episode focuses on Emma’s fear in a situation Scream the TV series hasn’t worked to show as scary (they’ve definitely told us it is, though), the audience is supposed to be invested in her measures to defend herself… Despite the fact that privately cyber-bullying Emma is all Ghostface Filler has done to her. Ghostface Filler made her choose between her terrible friend Brooke (who has lost all good will garnered from last week’s episode) and her decent (yet pop cultural reference-afflicted) friend Riley, and she chose to save the first one. Ghostface Filler keeps calling her to warn her about how every one’s lying to her. Ghostface Filler never actually threatens her—they threaten people around her. And while it would be easy to argue that Emma’s reaction (if you actually see one) means she’s empathetic, it actually shows the series’ intense physical protection of this delicate Final Girl. Then the episode all ends with “the new Emma,” who is a lot like the old Emma, only she is sometimes sassy when she talks to her cyber-bully from Z105.

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The worst part of all of this (besides the terrible characters) is that Scream the TV series clearly thinks it’s a “smart” show full of “witty” “banter.”

Sheriff Hudson: “Don’t call me Hud.”
Detective Brock: “You used to like it.”
Sheriff Hudson: “I used to like a lot of things that were bad for me. I don’t need you to remind me.”

Brooke: “I guess rehab is better than divorce court.”

Jake: “How ‘bout you take a breath, bro?”
Will: “Stop telling me what to do, bro!”
Jake: “You know what? If you wanna have a full-on psychotic meltdown, why don’t you take it home to the chickens and the cows?”

Emma: “I realized that I’m here. I’m alive. I’m breathing. And I make my own choices.” (She then makes out with Kieran instead of using her “own choices” to take down Ghostface Filler, who’s really only prank-called and Periscoped her but killed a handful of people she knows.)

Emma: “Why do you have a gun?”
Kieran: “My dad’s a cop.”

And you know what? Calling the dialogue par for the course for MTV really only show complete ignorance to MTV’s scripted original programming. Awkward (prior to the creative change-up and even since) has better writing. Teen Wolf (in its prime and even at its worst, which I’ve had to cover) has better writing. Faking It. Finding Carter.

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Let’s go back to even earlier scripted series. I Just Want My Pants Back. Underemployed was miles better than this, and I spent every episode of that furious with each and every one of the entitled characters on that show. Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous. The Inbetweeners remake. Death Valley.

Let’s go back even further. 2Ge+her. Undressed. Spider-Man: The New Animated Series. Clone High. Daria. Undergrads. Reruns of Life As We Know It.

Let’s include sketch comedy. The Ben Stiller Show. Human Giant. The State. Scream the TV series is not good, and in order for it to be good, it has to do a complete overhaul. It has to be a completely different show. Maybe MTV should just air episodes of Harper’s Island (or Human Giant or any of the above) in its place. People may be jolted by the 100 per cent increase in quality, but it would be a better choice. Or maybe there should be a season two, just to allow the overhaul to occur for real. Watching every episode, the best to hope for is mediocrity. Or for Ghostface Filler to respond to my open letter:

Dear Ghostface Filler,

You haven’t done anything nefarious in the past two weeks, which would really disappoint the “real” Ghostface(s). I don’t know if you know your history, but those Ghostfaces got all their work done in about a week or so. Sure, they died as a result of them facing an actual protagonist, but they also had a real body count and always a point. You have neither. You killed four teenagers, but one of them, you posed as a suicide and the other, you used as a patsy for one and a half of your killings (you gave up the patsy pretty quickly).

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You’re all over the place, Ghostface Filler. You kill teenagers whose extracurricular activities cause state police to react: “Damn! No wonder this girl’s dead.” Until you don’t. Then you kill helpless cyber-bully victims and relatively sweet people of color. If you’re supposed to be working out a horror movie—and this still is Scream, right?—you’re not following the tropes or rules very well. You’re not going after the teacher who’s screwing his student. You’re not going after the “slut” (trope’s words, not mine). You’re not going after the dumb jocks (who are also child pornographers and extortionists). You’re not going about any of this right, and it actually makes me think this is really I Still Know What You Did Last Summer the TV series. Because you’re kind of an idiot, just like that movie.

And you’re obsessed with Emma? Emma? Really? Even Ann Veal would say “her?” I know you and yours don’t like a pop culture reference until it’s completely explained, so I’ll let you know that was an Arrested Development reference. The only good explanation is that this is all just a slashers union bet or you’re actually Emma, but the former is too advanced for you and the latter would be an example of Emma Roberts coming out on top in something. Maybe you should just quit while you’re ahead. Because you are ahead, Ghostface Filler. You may be an idiot, but everyone else here is dumber than you. Even characters who “tronned the root directory.” Unless you are that character. In that case, you’re still all over the place and kind of an idiot. If you’re Lisa Loeb the podcaster,* then you’re a disappointment because you’re not the real Lisa Loeb. Which, oddly, brings my mind back to I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, as Matthew Settle ended up with the real Lisa Loeb on Gossip Girl, a far scarier show than this.

Really, I have a lot more I want to say to you, but it all boils down to the fact that you’re kind of an idiot and that the point of Scream shouldn’t be to want every character on the show dead (and then to write a letter about that). Instead, I think it’s best to end things this way:

Scream the TV series, you sound like a bad romantic comedy. Except we didn’t meet cute. We met sick-twisted.

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-L

Stray observations

  • *This week’s episode points in the direction of Lisa Loeb the podcaster being Brandon James and Daisy’s illegitimate daughter, which would explain why she’s filling Emma (of all the children grieving) in on details she shouldn’t know and offering her (of all the children grieving) booze. Her dad was murdered and the cops never investigated it, get it?
  • Two skeleton masks means there can be two Brandon James masks, right?!?! Scream is revolutionary.
  • I saw a fan of the show say neither Will nor Jake could be the killer, because they didn’t know Tyler was dead. Of course, one of them could really not know that Tyler was dead, while the other was pretending. Or maybe we should just believe every thing these characters say.
  • Emma is still getting the Scream equivalent of tweets from “UNKOWN [sic].”
  • Every line from Brooke this week deserved to be followed up by a Key & Peele “biiiitch.”
  • Kieran’s excuse for not being here last week was that he went to Bloomington for insurance purposes regarding his mom’s car accident/death. As a child who would have absolutely no say in “insurance purposes,” that checks out.
  • The mayor may have killed his wife. You know, the one we’ve never met and have only heard less-than-stellar things about. It’s vigil time.
  • Emma’s relationship with Will—who we know cheated on her and is also a child pornographer—began as a bet, because this show really, really wants us to care about Emma.

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