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Series: Scream Queens
Scream Queens was a VH-1 Reality Show that aired two seasons in 2008 and 2010. The setup: ten aspiring actresses compete in a series of challenges inspired by classic (and otherwise) horror films of yesterday and today, where they are judged by a panel consisting of acting coach John Homa, a Hollywood horror director (James Gunn in the first season, Tim Sullivan in the second), and a "scream queen", an actress with a solid background in the horror genre (Shawnee Smith in the first season, Jaime King in the second). The prize: a breakout role in the next installment in the Saw franchise.

Cue the blood, the screaming, the masked psychos, the jump scares, and all the reality show drama one would expect.

Season 1's winner, Tanedra Howard, went on to play Simone, the banker featured in the opening trap of Saw VI, while season 2's winner, Gabby West, had a comparatively smaller role as one of Jigsaw's victims in Saw 3D: The Final Chapter.

Tropes:

  • Apocalyptic Log: One of the challenges in the penultimate episode of season 1 has the contestants filming these, Blair Witch-style.
  • American Accents: In season 2, Sarah Alami's inability to cover up her thick Chicago accent during her performances actually became a point against her with the judges.
    • Shawnee Smith also proudly wears her native South Carolina accent throughout season 1.
  • Asian Airhead: Kylah Kim in season 1.
  • Berserk Button: After Tanedra listened to Michelle's racially-tinged impression of her during season 1's "altered states" challenge, where each contestant had to impersonate one of her rivals (emphasizing what they saw as the negative traits that were holding their rivals back), she retaliated with an impression of Michelle as a bigoted, airheaded bimbo. Michelle's apology came quickly.
  • Black Chick is Eliminated First: Inverted in season 1, where Inglewood's own Tanedra Howard wound up winning the entire competition. Season 2's Tai Davis likewise made it to the penultimate episode before her elimination.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Michelle in season 1 usually peppered her performances with far more obscenities than her competitors. No points for guessing that she's from Long Island.
  • Cute and Psycho: Jessica Palette in season 1. Her Establishing Character Moment was her screaming "I'm psycho!" during the very first challenge, and her fellow contestants and even the judges said she was nuts.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: This is John Homa's default teaching style, him being more than happy to chew out the contestants for not delivering quality performances.
  • Fanservice: Many challenges involve getting the contestants into their underwear, bikinis, and other sexy outfits.
  • Foreshadowing: In the season 2 premiere, one group of contestants tries to prepare for the next day's challenge by practicing screaming. Another group, committed to studying the script they'd been given, decides not to tell them to shut up despite how annoying it is, figuring that they'd wear out their voices and thus make it easier for their group to impress the judges. Sure enough, Gabby, one of the girls in the screaming group, delivered one of the worst performances in that challenge because her voice was hoarse from all the screaming she'd done the prior night.
  • Former Child Star: Lindsay Felton from Caitlin's Way was a contestant in season 1. She placed third, having made it all the way to the final episode.
  • Gilligan Cut: Kylah in season 1 bragged about "starring" in movies with such A-listers as Adam Sandler; the show helpfully, and happily, informs us that her roles were all bit parts. Cut to Kylah delivering the worst performance of that first challenge.
  • Jump Scare: The preferred method of delivering the contestants their acting challenge for the week was to send a guy in a monster costume in with it. Eventually, they started to anticipate it.
  • Narm: invoked Occurs frequently with the performances of some of the more hopeless contestants. When it's especially bad, the show often cuts to a Reaction Shot of the other contestants laughing backstage, and sometimes edits the footage to make it funnier; for example, one contestant's especially theatrical performance was overlaid with a grainy, black-and-white filter and made to look like a silent film.
    • Also invoked when Shawnee shows the season 1 contestants an unintentionally funny scene from The Brain That Wouldn't Die as the introduction to a horror-comedy challenge in which they'd be reenacting that scene.
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie: Occurs once in each season.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Michelle in season 1 found out the hard way that you do not call Tanedra this.
  • Self-Deprecation: During the camp horror challenge in season 1, Lindsay remarks about how her experience starring on a Nickelodeon show has prepared her to take on really corny dialogue. Naturally, she won that challenge.
  • Tempting Fate: Happened twice to Lina in the season 1 episode where they're shooting a trailer for a campy horror film. She didn't want to play the part where she had to make out with another woman, but felt that the judges would view her as too timid an actress if she voiced such concerns during the auditions. Naturally, she got picked for one half of the lesbian makeout couple. Then she decided that she would try to fake her way through the scene by not actually making out with her partner Angela, merely licking her face... only for James Gunn to tell her that he wants a full, passionate, spit-swapping, tongue-in-mouth kiss. While she was able to get out of doing the scene (Jessica was more than happy to replace her), her lying to Gunn about her unwillingness to do it was what got her eliminated that week.
  • The World's Expert on Getting Killed: Non-lethal, reality show elimination examples.
    • In season 1, Tanedra was the only contestant who did not have any prior training or experience in acting, yet she beat nine professional actresses in an acting competition.
    • In season 2, Lana Underwood bragged about her acting background and how it prepared her to dominate the show. She was the first one eliminated after delivering a truly dreadful performance.
  • You're Insane!: In season 1, John said as much to Jessica during one of the eliminations.
    "I would like to think that I can hire someone to play an axe murderer that's actually not going to kill me."

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alternative title(s): Scream Queens
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