Wait, does this mean she was buried in Ugg boots and a hoodie? I question this zombie’s believability.
We begin this week’s Scream Queens with the ladies returning from elimination. Gabby returns to the house after another close call, but she’s not particular happy about her return. Really — can she be? She’s been on the chopping block far too many times. She just keeps coming back from the dead week after week.
Coincidentally today’s skills challenge has the ladies pretending to be zombies. Jaime tells the girls that it’ll be about something unique to horror — camp. Jessica’s reaction sums up my feelings too:
… because camp is a hard thing to master. It requires just the right amount of self-awareness and seriousness. In fact, I predict that everything leading up to this episode will prove campier than anything in this camp episode.
For their challenge the girls will need to bust out of a grave, get shot, and fall to the ground. Jaime brings out this guy…
…to explain why they should be careful around the explosives. “They explode on your boobs,” seems warning enough.
Jaime tells them to play it scary or play it silly, just make a choice. The best actress for this skills challenge will only win “praise” because there are no more guaranteed callbacks. Jaime’s icy, minimal praise seems hardly worth it, but the actresses throw themselves into the challenge.
Jessica goes first and plays her character pretty straight.
Sarah says she needs to make bold choices to get the judges to notice her, so her character is a zombie rocker.
It is too bold for Jaime.
“I know it’s camp week. But I know that the funniest moments in camp are serious. So I’m not going to try to be silly,” Tai says before her scene. She just gets it:
Gabby frets over not hitting her mark so much, that she does nothing except hit her mark:
Tai wins the challenge, because she was, as Jaime said, the only zombie that was believably “brain hungry.” “Callback or no callback, I felt awesome,” she interviews. Indeed I believe that Tai always, always feels awesome.
Back at the house Sarah has an emotional breakdown because she misses her young daughter, who is her support system. Surprisingly (if you saw her fight with Gabby last week), Tai is the kindest to her. “My daughter is the one person who accepts me with all of my flaws,” Sarah says between tears. It sounds she doesn’t know very many nice people.
At the start of class, John Homa tells the ladies that camp involves being funny, but that being funny is hard. Also, you know who doesn’t seem like a very funny guy?
So Homa brings in a guest comedy teacher from the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater in L.A. They’ll do various monster-based improv scenes in pairs. The basic premise? A world in which monsters are regular people.
Christine and Tai are up first. For their scene, Tai will play a meter maid giving Frankenstein — Christine — a ticket.
Tai’s main complaint? Christine keeps bumping into her. “Even if you’re Frankenstein you’re supposed to be a normal person…” she interviews. It’s hilarious that the thing she’s upset about is the logic of the scene. Nothing’s funnier than a logical series of totally normal events, right?
Sierra plays a mummy getting fitted for a wedding dress by Jessica. Mummies can’t get married (illegal). THIS SCENE ISN’T LOGICAL.
Actually, even within the context of the scene, this mummy doesn’t make much sense. There are laughs when they switch roles, which Jessica’s happy about, though Sierra really pulled out the scene’s funniest line.
The next is Gabby as a werewolf, and Sarah as a worker at a taco stand:
It doesn’t work, mostly because Gabby keeps cracking up, which Homa hates. I don’t know, it worked for Dom DeLuise. They switch roles, and Sarah once again makes confusing choices for her werewolf character.
They get their script for the Director’s Cut, and it’s a “western vampire thriller.” One good indication of camp — two genres full of stereotypes, just mashed together haphazardly. You know, like a sci-fi werewolf noir, or a vampire buddy road movie (Interview With A Vampire). The ladies gush warmly over the chance to all work together in one scene.
Tai decides that Christine should know that she’d be a great actress if she stopped wasting time taking care of Gabby. She also decides to tell Christine to her face.
It’s to Gabby’s face as well:
Goodwill erased. Moving on.
Their scene, which will work as an extended movie trailer, features two outlaw vampire ladies verses the four others. Sarah and Christine play the outlaws. They’re supposed to be tough, but their first take seems frightened. And really, what could outlaw vampire ladies be scared of?
A few takes later, and Christine still looks more scared than anything.
Sierra’s playing a nerd (though I believe back then they were called “spinsters” or “umarriageable”). As if the archetypes weren’t piled high enough for you, that makes her a Western vampire nerd. Fortunately she loves her character. Unfortunately it’s not quite the character Tim the character he wants.
Technical details threaten Gabby’s performance again, but she pulls through on the second take.
Next Gabby has to dunk Sarah’s head in a trough. Sarah gets stuck on a technical detail of her own, namely: trying to breathe underwater. Namely, she shouldn’t do that.
Sarah’s anxiety gets to her, and that, combined with the water and the cold, kills her performance.
Jessica’s performance isn’t worth talking about. Only because, as you might have guessed, she nails it quickly.
Tai also nails her scene on the second take. It’s become clear that Jessica and Tai are the actresses to beat.
The List appears, and without wasting any time on drama or suspense, the scroll tells Tai that she’s this week’s Leading Lady. Christine, Sarah, Gabby, and Sierra are all on the list to appear before the judges. Based on this week’s challenges, it seems like it’s a race for the bottom.
Inside the ballroom the ladies learn that they are all on the chopping block. Kind of foreboding, that the judges needed so much time to critique the actresses that they didn’t have time to give Tai a proper congratulations.
They each get their critique.
Christine admits to playing it safe. “I feel like I’m spending too much time making friends,” Christine says. I can’t decide if it’s safe or incredibly risky to blame Gabby, who is standing right behind her, for her acting difficulties. Either way, I don’t think Christine will have to worry about making friends any longer.
Sarah’s not progressing quickly enough for the judges, and Homa worries that she’s “tapped out” and has reached the limits of her range. Gabby is chastised for her disastrous skills test. Sierra needs more “depth” to her characters, because they’re all over-the-top and one-note for the judges. Truth: her nerd vampire was all nerd.
Sarah gets the axe. She is so gracious and sweet when she says goodbye to the judges that I had to rewind to make sure she hadn’t volunteered to go home.
“I’m sad that I’m leaving,” she interviews. “If I was being 100 percent honest, I didn’t think I could take one more day without [my daughter].” Noted: having friends isn’t nearly as good as having family.