Saturday, October 31, 2015

Character Equivalents: A Look at Ryan Murphy's "Scream Queens" and "Glee"

I love "Scream Queens". :D

How fitting that my October blog post is about "Scream Queens", which is a new anthology series whose first season is about the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority of Wallace University being terrorized by the school's Red Devil mascot that keeps murdering a character or two every week.

It's so stupid and corny, but at the same time I love the show for that reason. It's the point of the show, parodying '80s and '90s slasher films. I also love mysteries and twists, and this show provides them. Every episode provides new clues to help us viewers figure out the Red Devil's identity. It's my new favorite show. I look forward to it every Tuesday night on FOX. I was looking forward to it since I first heard about it.

The more I watch it, the more I realize that it is EXACTLY like "Glee", which makes sense because it has the same creators: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan. It's literally the same humor with the same plot with the same characters. It's the same exact show! The only difference is that they replaced musical numbers with bloody murders. It seems to me that Murphy might be having some "Glee" withdrawals.

It's funny because "Glee" used to be the only primetime dramedy show I watched. The TV I normally usually watch is dance competition shows. I guess I just really like Ryan Murphy's stuff. I don't appreciate gore at all but for some reason the gore in this show isn't as severe or it just doesn't bother me much. I think the humor balances it out.

Do you ever notice that certain TV shows or movies tend to have the same character lineup, as if each show needs the same character structure? I do, so therefore "Character Equivalents" is now a new "Taking it One 'Stef' at a Time" series. :)

Comparing and contrasting "Scream Queens" and "Glee" is our first installment. I'm going to prove to you that this is the same exact show. Given that the shows have the same creators, the similarities are a bit understandable.

Yep. This is going to be one of my long analytical essays. I know you've missed them. ;)

"The Domineering Authority"

"Scream Queens" Character: Dean Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis)
"Glee" Equivalent: Coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch)

This is literally the most obvious one, so I'll start with it. Both women are in positions of power and they hate the students with whom they are forced to deal: Munsch, the Kappas, and Sylvester, the New Directions. Their main goal is to shut down these groups because of their fiery hatred of them. Heck, Curtis even delivers her lines the same way Lynch did. That same dry flawless sarcasm. Their characters even mirror each other based on the strangeness of things they like.

Plus, they both don short hair.

"The New Hot Male Teacher"

"Scream Queens" Character: Wes Gardner (Oliver Hudson)
"Glee" Equivalent: Will Shuester (Matthew Morrison)

The hot new male teacher, basically. The hot new male teacher with the SAME OUTFIT AND THE SAME HAIR. OMG. LOOK AT THEM. THEY'RE TWINS.

One of my favorite aspects of "Scream Queens" is that Munsch has the obvious hots for Wes, so it's funny to me to picture Sue Sylvester feeling the same way about Will considering how much she hated him. lol

Other than that though, they still do serve a purpose. They're the father figures, literally for Wes and figuratively for Will.

Omg. Both of their name are short and start with "W" too. I just noticed that now.

Okay! Now they're getting TOO equivalent! NEXT!

"The Student Caretaker and Teacher Love Interest"

"Scream Queens" Character: Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad)
"Glee" Equivalent: Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays)

It has been made clear in more recent episodes that Gigi should not be trusted, but I'm going to give her a pass for now because I don't know her full motives. Basically she and Emma are the "big sisters" of the student characters and often look out for them. Gigi is the sorority's national chapter president and Emma is William McKinley High School's guidance counselor. But even though they are given this role of guardian, they both have some issues of their own and it is questionable sometimes if they are capable of being decent caretakers. Both also get into a relationship with "The New Hot Male Teacher" and have strained relationships with "The Domineering Authority".

"The Leading Lady"

"Scream Queens" Character: Grace Gardner (Skyler Samuels)
"Glee" Equivalent: Marley Rose (Melissa Benoist)

Honestly, Marley came into the show around the time I had stopped watching it, so I'm not going to pretend like I am an expert about her, but I know enough about her to compare her to Grace.

They both are relatively the most "normal" characters of them all...meaning that they lack the significant quirks that the others have and are actually kind of the least entertaining because of that. They are the "straight (wo)man" of comedy, the constant while everyone else runs amok. They both are the leading ladies of their short seasons and have significant relationships with their mothers. They both also have parents who happen to work at their schools.

In addition, they both also wear the same type of hat and in general dress in the same style.

"The Queen Bee"

"Scream Queens" Character: Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts)
"Glee" Equivalent: Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron)
(For fun) Mean Girls Equivalent: Regina George

We've seen these characters plenty of times, like practically everywhere. The popular, bitchy, wealthy, blonde, white girls. They are our ringleaders, the Queen Bees. The typical mean girls. They also date the dumb guys with hearts of gold (Addition included 11/5/15 9:35 PM) and can be pretty naive when it comes to relationships. (End addition.)

Surprisingly there's not that much more to say. The only difference is that Quinn does EVENTUALLY kinda redeem herself, after many trials, whereas Chanel is pretty much still just an awful person. Only time will tell.

"The Second-in-Command"

"Scream Queens" Character: Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin)
"Glee" Equivalent: Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera)
(For fun) Mean Girls Equivalent: Gretchen Wieners

Much like Quinn and Santana, Chanel and Chanel #5 are constantly at each other's throats. But, they are "friends." Frenemies, more like it.

Both Santana and Chanel #5 contradict "The Queen Bees" and plot to overthrow them to take the thrown for themselves. They are very opinionated, outspoken, and the most sexually experienced of the group. (Addition included 11/5/15 9:20 PM) They too date or hook up with the dumb guys with hearts of gold, or have done this in the past, sometimes not to knowledge of "The Queen Bees". (End addition.) 

Seriously, I never expected to see Abigail Breslin in a role like this. I remember her as a child actress. I keep replaying her uttering the words "Eiffel Tower" in my mind and it just doesn't sound right coming from her. lol

Then again, now that I remember, I did recently see her in the film August: Osage County a few years ago, which was a somewhat adult role for her even though she played a teenager.

"The Dumb, Other 'Mean' Girl" aka "The Minions"

"Scream Queens" Character: Chanel #2/Sonya Herffman (Ariana Grande)/Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd)
"Glee" Equivalent: Brittany Pierce (Heather Morris)/Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera)
(For fun) Mean Girls Equivalent: Karen Smith/Gretchen Wieners

Mean girls tend to come in trios and Ryan Murphy seems to love following this tradition. These are "The Queen Bee's" minions. These are the girls who, along with "The Queen Bees" and other women in the series, stand for feminism and make feminist points, sometimes telling off a jerky guy as a group. (Addition included 11/5/15 9:20 PM) Like "The Second-in-Command", they too date or hook up with the dumb guys with hearts of gold, or have done so in the past, sometimes not to knowledge of "The Queen Bees". (End addition.) 

I've always connected Chanel #2 with Brittany, but I've also seen people compare Chanel #3 to her, so I've considered this. The only similarity the two seem to have to me is the way they deliver their strange memorable one-liners with deep, breathy voices. Other than that, I'm sticking with Chanel #2 as Brittany's official "Glee" equivalent.

We don't see her in action much, but like Brittany and Karen from Mean Girls, she's kinda the ditzy, sweet, non-mean girl in the mean girl clique who's just along for the ride. She's not a threat when compared to her more vicious companions. She's the one who is more likely going to be nice to you or pity you when the other girls aren't.

I included Santana again in this section for Chanel #3's sake, considering Santana is a lesbian and Chanel #3 has exhibited some lesbian tendencies. (She can also be connected to Brittany for this reason as well.) Like Santana was originally, Chanel #3 is confused about her feelings.

"The Promiscuous Jerk with a Heart of Gold"

"Scream Queens" Character: Chad Radwell (Glen Powell)
"Glee" Equivalent: Noah "Puck" Puckerman (Mark Salling)

Let me start off by saying that I LOVE these guys! They are my favorite characters of both shows! They're hilarious!!!

They are the dumb guys who date "The Queen Bees" that I was talking about earlier. They "get with" every woman they can and are very much aware and proud of their abilities. They also tend to say offensive things in innocence. Even though they may come across as jerks, they are actually pretty kind characters. The only contrast between them is that Puck is a bully at the start of his series whereas Chad really isn't. Puck goes on to join the military and Chad is just a prestigious scholar and golfer for the time being.

I will say though that I don't think sleeping with Sue Sylvester has EVER crossed Puck's mind...

Chad pushed the envelope further than Puck? Wow.

WHOA! Wait a minute! I JUST thought of something! Puck DID sleep with an authority figure! Idina Menzel's character! Shelby!

So...I guess there really isn't that much of a difference between them then after all...

"The Obsessed, Neurotic Girl with an Agenda" 

"Scream Queens" Character: Hester Ulrich (Lea Michele)
"Glee" Equivalent: Rachel Berry (Lea Michele)

Believe it or not, Lea Michele plays the exact same character in "Scream Queens" that she did in "Glee", only I guess Rachel is a bit less horrifying. Their obsessions and neuroticism is displayed over everything, Hester with Chanel and death and Rachel with being a star. Even Michele's delivery for both characters resemble each other. They both never stop until they get what they want and come out on top, usually not caring about who they tear down in order to get there.

"The Strong, Proud, Black Woman Leader"

"Scream Queens" Character: Zayday Williams (Keke Palmer)
"Glee" Equivalent: Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley)

They're both strong proud black women, I'll tell you that much! Even though there are other black characters in their series, I'd say that they are considered the main ones.

They're always trying to prove themselves as leaders and sometimes that means competing with other women who are already in that slot at the moment, such as Zayday challenging to replace Chanel as the new Kappa Kappa Tau president and Mercedes wanting to be the New Directions star singer instead of Rachel for a change. Much like "The Leading Lady", they are the most normalized characters and are good friends to the rest of the group.

"The Under-Developed Asian Woman"

"Scream Queens" Character: Sam (Jeanna Han)
"Glee" Equivalent: Tina Cohen-Chang (Jenna Ushkowitz)

I just found out now that the actresses playing them pretty much have the same first names.

So here we have the under-developed Asian woman characters. That's all.

I never felt a connection to Tina considering to me she is so under-developed, but I never really noticed it as much as I am now when comparing Sam to her and writing this piece. They have their own characteristics that make them unique, but neither of them have their own storylines. They are just sidelined and used as components for which the rest of the characters to bounce off. These women are more so known as the love interests of Chanel #3 and Artie, who are way more solid characters.

Sam is also the first main character to get killed by the Red Devil. I couldn't even find a photo of her from a cast photo shoot.

Thinking about this, if I were an Asian woman, I'm not sure if I'd be pleased with how Murphy's shows represented me.

"The 'Oh, Wow. He's Gay.' Guy with a Bigger Purpose"

"Scream Queens" Character: Boone Clemens (Nick Jonas)
"Glee" Equivalent: Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss)

Well, we all know that BOONE is up to something! Has Blaine ever been that suspicious?

Anyway, these guys are equivalent for the mere fact that they are both gay and we as an audience don't really know this until they tell another character or it is said about them, so therefore the revelations may come as a surprise and therefore cause some "Oh, wow. He's gay. Cool!" reactions among audience members. They would be considered the "Straight Gay" characters of their shows, according to TV Tropes.

Additionally, they also both seem to have a suaveness about them and somewhat even have the same design. They start off as minor characters but clearly serve a greater purpose later on. Plus, like "The New Hot Male Teacher," both of their names are almost the same length and start with the same letter, this time "B."

A connection between the guys who play them is that they both have previous musical backgrounds. Nick was a member of the Jonas Brothers and Darren is a member of Team StarKid.


There are so many other characters in both shows that I haven't included on this list who can possibly be each other's equivalents, but I feel like if I try to make more comparisons, I might be forcing counterparts that just aren't there for the sake of equating them. The supporting characters of these shows could very well be each other's equivalents anyway considering that they all have the Ryan Murphy style of individuality.

I've also noticed that a lot of the male characters from "Glee", such as Finn, Kurt, Artie, and Sam, don't have "Scream Queens" equivalents due to the lack of decently developed male characters on that show. I left Pete, the only well-developed male character left (except for maybe Earl, possibly), off of this list because I have no idea who his "Glee" equivalent is. I was thinking about comparing him to "Glee's" Jacob because they both write for the school newspaper, but I felt like that was kind of pushing it and not much to go by. Pete is a way more important character in his show than Jacob was in his, where he was pretty much a caricature, a gag character more than anything.

The thing too is that "Glee" during its six season run had way too many characters after awhile whereas "Scream Queens" only has an appropriate few to serve the single season's need, so therefore they can't all be matched up.

So what do you think about my comparisons? Did I hit it right? Am I a bit off? Can you think of any other character equivalents?


Happy Halloween, everyone! :)

1 comment:

  1. OMG, you guys! I just realized something! Technically Boone and Blaine aren't necessarily equivalents in a certain respect anymore because Boone was only pretending to be gay. lol

    A lot of people speculated that about him too actually, so it's cool that it was actually true. :)