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Series / Scream Queens (2015)

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"Itíll be fun, like a Friends episode... but someoneís trying to murder all the Friends."
Gigi Caldwell

Scream Queens is a 2015 Fox horror comedy series by Ryan Murphy. It features an ensemble cast including the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Skyler Samuels, Keke Palmer, and Abigail Breslin, with John Stamos and Taylor Lautner joining up in its second season. Nick Jonas, Ariana Grande, Colton Haynes, and more familiar pop culture faces appear in minor roles.

Season one revolves around the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority house, which becomes the target of a mysterious serial killer known as the Red Devil. With tensions running high on campus, it's a race to discover the killer's identity before he (or she) kills them — or they kill each other. What's more, the mystery of the Red Devil may tie into another mystery involving the death of a sorority sister twenty years ago.

Season two features a time skip of three years from season one, and moves the focus from Kappa Kappa Tau to a hospital bought out by Dean Munsch, staffed by Chanels One, Three, and Five, and Zayday.

The show is notable for its slick visual style, campy, surreal humor, and many of the characters being broad archetypes with occasional moments of hidden depth — this is a Ryan Murphy show, after all.

No relation to VH1 reality game show of the same name, or the trope (also) of the same name, for that matter.

The show was canceled after two seasons, although its anthology format left no real lingering story. However, Ryan Murphy confirmed in 2020 that he was working on a third season revival of the show.

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    General Tropes 
  • Abusive Parents:
    • While Chanel #5's parents can mostly be filed under neglectful as they keep avoiding her, they veer right into and beyond abuse in the season finale, when they voluntarily go along with Hester's plan to frame her as the other bathtub baby and Red Devil killer just because they find her annoying.
    • Chanel makes it clear that her own mother is far worse than her as she disowned a son at birth for having "crib hair" and a daughter for joining the Peace Corps. She even barred Chanel from attending her high school graduation because she felt the small zit Chanel had that day would "humiliate the family with her deformity." And in the finale, they legally disown her and sue for damages from her driving her jeep through the living room once.
  • Action Girl: Several of the women on the show turn out to be a lot better in a fight than anyone would expect.
    • The Dean turns out to be a superior hand-to-hand fighter. She's able to singlehandedly kick the crap out of two Red Devils and an Antonin Scalia impersonator and sends them running. It's explained in "Mommie Dearest" that when she was a junior in college, she spent a year abroad and had an affair with a "beautiful Eurasian man" who taught her everything he knew about fighting in return for her teaching him everything she knew about making love.
    • Chanel herself, while not that tough, is no slouch in the physical department.
    • Grace fights the last Red Devil quite evenly before getting overpowered.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Advertising by Association: Ryan Murphy's show is "from the creators of Glee and American Horror Story." All three do share the same crew, nearly in its entirety, as well as a mix of the casts of both shows.
  • Affectionate Parody: The entire series is one for the slasher genre as a whole. Everyone is an idiot, villain, Jerkass, or Asshole Victim but that just makes it more entertaining when the slasher carves them all up. The plots are also completely nonsensical—which only adds to the appeal.
  • Alpha Bitch: Chanel, Emma Roberts' character. When you're named after a line of expensive handbags and you're a member of a sorority that, in the original version of the script, was literally called KNT, it doesn't leave much to subtlety.
  • Anyone Can Die: Murphy has stated there would be a major character death in each episode, narrowing the suspects in the process. As of episode 5, only minor characters or characters introduced in the very same episode have died, making that statement a total lie.
    • The first regular death is in episode 9, but it's still a very minor character.
  • Artistic License Ė Law: A lot of the more questionable things in this show can be explained by the local police being utter morons. That said, it's harder to explain why a woman in an insane asylum was able to keep two children she had no biological relationship to with her for two decades, without either of them being required to attend school.
  • Asshole Victim: Considering every other character is kind of a jerk, this seems to be the trademark, but it has subverted with most of the victims as of yet:
    • "Pilot": Ms. Bean, the long-suffering KKT housekeeper, Chanel #2, who didn't really do anything, and 'Deaf Taylor Swift', whose only big crime was liking Taylor Swift.
    • In the season finale, Chanels #1, 3, and 5 are all framed for the Red Devil killings by Hester (the last surviving real killer), and sent to an asylum for life.
  • Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: The remaining Chanels pledge to murder Chanel #1 to stop putting up with her tyranny. When Chanel confronts them on this, they cave and admit it, since they couldn't even agree on an effective way of doing it.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The Chanels and the Dicky Dollar Scholars, who are all incredibly attractive and wealthy.
  • Beta Bitch: Chanels #2, #3, and #5 qualify, playing second to Chanel Oberlin's Alpha Bitch.
  • Big Fancy House: Chanel #2's mansion in Bel Air, it's so big that Denise even asks her parents whether she (who everyone but the Chanels and Hester thinks is missing, but actually dead) is hiding somewhere around there, and they haven't found her.
  • Black Comedy: The general humor used very frequently throughout the show and it is nasty.
  • Camp: The show is jam-packed with it, its part of the charm.
  • Casting Gag: In "Dorkus", the Chanels think they've captured the Red Devil, but when they unmask him, it's just some pizza delivery guy who was forced to wear the costume and was fitted with a dynamite vest. Said pizza delivery guy is played by Riley Schmidt, who is the man under the mask every time the Red Devil appears to kill someone.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Sam dropped a few Straw Feminist lines in her introduction - finding heterosexual sex disgusting and protesting against the hiring of a security guard because "I feel uncomfortable with a man protecting me". These traits are dropped after the pilot and she's portrayed as a more aloof loner.
    • A huge part of Chad's character in the first few episodes is that he's turned on by death, presumably to set him up as a Red Herring. After it's proved he's not the bathtub baby, this side of him quietly disappears.
  • Color Motif: Besides wearing all red, the Red Devils weapons also incorporate the color red, and not just from blood.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • Denise. She varies wildly between utter incompetence and surprisingly good detective work. She was able to deduce both that there was more than one killer, and that Chanel #2 was dead. However, her case against Zayday was (mostly) insane.
    • Actually, anyone who isn't a straight-up Magnificent Bastard seems to fall into this category. Chad deduced that Boone didn't kill himself, Chanel #1 was able to explain why her underlings attempts to kill her would have failed, and a surprising large number of general morons have shown skills that let them survive encounters with the Red Devil.
    • Caulfield, is like the rest of the DDS (except Boone) a Dumb Jock, however he proves to be incredibly resilient.
  • Death as Comedy: Constantly, such as how Chanel #2 texts her dying screams for help on her phone rather than audibly.
  • Dean Bitterman: Dean Cathy Munsch, who despises young people in general and holds a long-standing grudge against sororities in particular, possibly stemming from an incident in her past.
  • Expy: The Chanels are one for the three Heathers from Heathers.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Chad thinks of himself as this and even thinks animals in the zoo and plants want him as well.
  • Everyone Has Lots of Sex: So far the show hasn't gone fifteen minutes without portraying characters having sex or discussing their sex lives.
  • Flexibility Equals Sex Ability: Implied as why Wes has really good sex with Cathy.
  • Girl Posse: Chanel has her own Mean Girls-style posse. With three other Chanels, to boot.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: As bad as Chanel is, she insists her own mother was far worse. Apparently, she disowned a son at birth for "cradle cap", Chanel's sister for joining the Peace Corps, and praised Chanel's ability to hurt people as a child but still kept her from attending her own high school graduation because her small zit would "embarrass the family with her deformity."
  • Identically Named Group: Invoked with the Chanels, a group of sorority girls who go by "Chanel" followed by a number. However, only Chanel #1 is actually named Chanel; the rest took the names on after being inducted into Kappa Kappa Tau.
  • Lovable Jock: While Chad may be a womaniser, he seems to be an all-round decent guy who's very supportive of his gay best friend and it's revealed that he does ultimately feel something for Chanel. The Dickie Dollar Scholars ultimately seem to be decent guys, if a little ditzy.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The killer wears a Devil's mask, and is it the campus' mascot to boot.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: This show has a surprisingly complicated morality, with no group being pure good or bad:
  • The Napoleon: Chanel #1 is barely 5'2'' but she has a massive ego and a volcanic temper that makes her go off on people at the slightest provocation. This is Lampshaded by her immediate predecessor as KKT president in her "The Reason You Suck" Speech towards her, when she explicitly compares her to Napoleon.
  • The Nicknamer: Chanel Oberlin can't be bothered to remember most people's names, so she comes up with nicknames for them. And even when she does know someone's name she often uses nicknames to belittle people.
  • Nightmare Fetishist:
    • Hester, who shows extensive knowledge on how to hide and dispose of dead bodies when the sorority is faced with that very problem.
    • Chad gets turned on by death.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: In any other jurisdiction making Denise the chief of police would be the definition of insanity. She's a rent-a-cop, and not an especially good one. However, the sheer ineptitude of the existing police means she comes closer to actually apprehending the killer than any previous law enforcement official on the show. She even notes that she would have succeeded if she had shot him and not stopped to brag about it.
  • Old Money: Chad's family, The Radwells, are one of the oldest bloodlines in the USA.
  • One-Steve Limit: inverted. Chanel renamed all of the other sisters "Chanel" with a number to differentiate them.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Chanels #2 thru #5. Chanel Oberlin named them after herself because she couldnít be bothered to learn their real names and every other character goes along with it, even after their real names are revealed.
  • Open Secret: It's common knowledge on campus that Chad has slept with all the Chanels.
  • Overprotective Dad: Grace's father becomes the teacher of her film studies class to keep an eye on her. He is not even a film studies professor.
  • Playing Sick: Hester, aka "Neckbrace", turns out to be pretending to be a girl with scoliosis. Her neckbrace is not really hers; she stole it, as revealed in the finale.
  • Plenty of Blondes: Out of the four Chanels, only one is brunette. Grace and Deaf Taylor Swift add two more blondes to Kappa House.
  • Police Are Useless: One of the most triumphant examples in modern television.
    • The police investigate a decapitation with a lawnmower in the KKT backyard but somehow manage to completely miss the dead body of Chanel #2 in plain sight inside the house and the blood-soaked bathtub in the basement.
    • "Security guard" Denise would give rent-a-cops a bad name.
    • Their entire handling of Boone's death pushes this trope up to eleven: For starters they manage to process the crime scene and move the body to the morgue without ever realizing that Boone is alive and the gash on his neck is fake. Then they rule the death a suicide... where the victim had a slashed throat and there are bloody footprints all over the crime scene. All of this of course, without the benefit of an autopsy, since the body disappeared from the morgue and they havenít told anyone.
    • Of all people, Denise is the one who finds Chanel #2's blood on the bedroom floor and her texts detailing her own murder yet somehow the authorities assume she just left town.
    • Episode 4 drives this trope home and back when the cop Zayday calls to report the dead bodies in the haunted house flat out states it's not worth investigating, and that he himself was excited to see them after his shift.
    • Dean Munsch's plan to frame Feather Mccarthy for the murder and dismemberment of the Dean's ex-husband nearly failed and backfired on her because the police were too sloppy, lazy and incompetent to find the evidence she had carefully planted on their own.
    • Several episode later, the incompetent 911 cop who took Zayday's call has been replaced by an even worse automated version.
    • So far, the only effective police on the show have been a pair that Chanel hires from Scotland Yard. And even then, they point out to Chanel that they have no jurisdiction, and only go along with it because she bribes/extorts them.
    • Episode 9 reveals that the police were working on a theory as to why they were never able to catch the Red Devil: they believed that they were dealing with a ghost. Even Dean Munsch realizes at that point it's time to call in the FBI rather than deal with these morons.
    • Deconstructed in Episode 11 as the Chief of Police and the entire homicide division are fired en masse for their incredible incompetence. Of course, that just ends up leaving Denise in charge...
    • And right back to played straight as, in her first move as chief, Denise has the Red Devil at gunpoint but wastes time bragging about knowing its Zayday, allowing the Red Devil to kill another cop with a crossbow before running off. Denise openly lampshades "why didn't I just shoot him instead of wasting time talking?"
    • It's soon shown that Denise has hired male strippers as cops, complete with skimpy uniforms.
    • And finally, Denise totally buys Hester's explanation that the Chanels are the Red Devil despite the fact the "evidence" is barely enough to merit even a courtesy investigation, let alone any arrests.
    • Season 2 continues it with a cop coming up with a wild theory of a killer and when asked by Munsch if "you need to complete high school to be a cop," answers no.
    • When Dean Munsch is met up by Chanel #5 facing the killer, she says to call the police but then quickly corrects herself. "No, the police are morons!"
    • Denise still thinks Zayday is the killer.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: All the sorority sisters and frat brothers are less than PC to one degree or another, but Chanel Oberlin takes it up to eleven. She's shown to be racist, classist, homophobic and prejudiced against the fat, the deaf, the uglyÖ and thatís just in the first episode.
  • Preppy Name: Chad Radwell is the quintessential example on the show, but his whole family qualifies: His father Tad Radwell, his mother Bunny Radwell, his brothers Brad and Thad and his sister-in-law Muffy.
  • Pretty in Mink: There are several girls who are part of rich families, and their wardrobes include quite a few furs.
  • Rich Bitch: Chanel #1 is definitely this. More evident in this quote:
    [after Chanel #1 bribing her KKT sisters to cover her involvement in Ms.Bean's death]
    Grace: You're an awful person.
    Chanel #1: Maybe, but I'm rich and I'm pretty, so it doesn't really matter.
  • School Is Murder: The sisters of KKT are targeted as they try to rise up the ranks of the school popularity ladder.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Chanel Oberlin believes this to the core of her being. It influences everything she does.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Denise is a big proponent of this, recommending to the girls that they run if they encounter the killer. And she follows her own advice as soon as she comes across a corpse.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: It is closer to the "comedy" end than Murphy's other series, American Horror Story.
  • Small Reference Pools:
  • Twofer Token Minority: Earl Grey is the only black guy in the Dickie Dollar Scholars. He's also English.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: The Chanels, particularly Chanel #1, who thinks of her closet as her second vagina, even has Karl Lagerfeld coming every fall with trunks full of clothes for her to try on and she burns all of her old outfits everytime she gets the new ones.
    • Surprisingly, despite becoming poor in Season 2, it seems to be the same for them.
  • Wacky Americans Have Wacky Names: The Oberlin family, with mother Happy and her children Harvard, Muffet and Chanel.
  • Weight Woe: There are multiple references to the Chanels engaging in bulimic behavior from time-to-time, and eating cotton balls to try to get rid of hunger, despite the fact that they're all already quite skinny.
  • You Are Number 6:
    • Chanels #2 through #5, going hand in hand with Only Known by Their Nickname. Most of the time the other girls just refer to them by number.
    • This literally happens with Hester, when she become Chanel #6.
    • In the second season, several more Chanels are recruited in order to act as human shields for the main three.

    Season One Tropes 
  • Abduction Is Love: The Red Devil Boone abducts Zayday because he is infatuated with her.
  • Affectionate Parody: Chanel-o-ween is a lighthearted jab at Taylor Swift and her Swiftmas.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Parodied. At Chanel #2's funeral, #5 laments that now they'll never find out what ethnicity she actually is. Her actress, Ariana Grande, is of Italian descent, for the record.
  • A House Divided: Many of the pledges are very against the Chanels, and that's not taking into account the power struggle between them. It reaches a point where Zayday runs for house president, and the vote is tied evenly between her and Chanel. Chanel takes advantage of this trope so Zayday can be elected president and be a bigger target for the Red Devil.
  • An Arm and a Leg: The Red Devil uses a chainsaw to cut off both the arms of Dickie Dollar Caulfield.
  • Annoying Arrows: The Red Devil shoots Chanel Oberlin in the shoulder with a crossbow in "Black Friday." Aside from falling to the ground, she barely has any reaction to her injury. Granted, it missed vital arteries, but she seems more concerned with talking the Red Devil down.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The last episode ends with the Red Devil about to stab Chanel Oberlin in her bed in the asylum. Season 2 reveals that was just Chad pranking her.
  • Artistic License Ė History: In episode 5, Chad gives a speech about the importance of courage... he identifies JFK Jr. as our 60th President, and the source of the quote "All we have to fear is fear itself." It ends with the Dean saying she has no idea how he got into the college.
  • Artistic License Ė Law: Judges cannot just declare people found guilty of murder to be insane. The Chanels would be going to prison. Heck, to extend on that, why were the Chanels, three convicted murderers being kept in the same room of the same Asylum as Gigi, a woman who, when first committed, had suffered a mental breakdown following her sister's suicide?
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Not only does Hester - who is the female twin in the bath tub - get her revenge as the Red Devil killer, she successfully convinces people that Chanels number 1, 3, and 5 are the Red Devil killers that plotted the whole thing together. Even after she is confronted by the Dean, who reveals that she knew Hester was the female twin all along, Hester is able to convince her to forget about telling, because she could prove the murders that the Dean committed, and how she set up Feather. In the end, Hester gets her happy ending, and the Chanels get sent to the insane asylum where she came from. She shoots herself in the foot immediately in Season 2, confessing to everything on camera, thinking she couldn't be convicted.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The opening scene features a girl running into a sorority party with her hands covered in blood, dramatically sayig that it isn't hers. Given the whole premise of the show, it's rather a surprise when it's actually from a pledge who just had a baby while not even having been aware that she was pregnant and thinking she had just gained 'the freshman fifteen'. And then subverted, since the girl bleeds out and dies thanks to the sorority sisters neglecting to get her any medical help.
  • Big Bad: Gigi is revealed to be the mastermind behind the Red Devil killings, but is ultimately replaced by Hester.
  • Black Dude Dies First:
    • Averted for much of the first season's run, with its few black characters surviving with no trouble with several others getting killed, but then...
    • ...downplayed as in "Ghost Stories", with the first series regular to be offed being Earl Grey, a black guy. Also counts as We Hardly Knew Ye since he spent his whole existence on the show being barely more than eye-candy.
  • Bland-Name Product: Chanel #3's family fortune comes from Swenson's TV dinners, a play on Swanson's. Though it's subverted in that they mention the real product in the same scene where this is revealed.
  • Bottle Episode: Seven Minutes in Hell. The episode barely leaves the Sorority House grounds, and a surprising number of main characters either don't appear, or have very minimal appearances.
  • Breather Episode: The Red Devil does not show up in "Beware of Young Girls" and no attack occurs in "Thanksgiving".
  • Broken Pedestal: Grace goes through this when she finds out her mother wasn't a saintly Nice Girl like her father had told her, but a nasty Alpha Bitch that later spiraled into alcoholism, drug addiction and crime. She does not take it well.
  • Brownface: Ariana Grande is much darker-skinned in this than real life to portray Chanel #2. Presumably, #2 likes tanning.
  • Butch Lesbian: Sam ticks every box of this stereotype.
  • Cassandra Truth: Denise actually spells out in the third episode how Chanel #2 is dead by the pool of blood on the bedroom floor and her texts detailing her murder yet Grace and Zayday are unsure it's true.
  • Chainsaw Good: The third episode, which is actually called "Chainsaw", features the Red Devil(s) using a chainsaw exclusively as a means of killing their victims. Zayday is also revealed to have one, a gift from her grandmother to use in place of a taser.
  • Connected All Along:
    • Many characters are revealed to have ties to the incident in 1995: Dean Munsch and Miss Bean were there, and helped cover it all up; Gigi was the sister of a sorority sister involved with the incident, Grace's mom, Bethany was the girl whose negligence lead to the death of the girl in the bathtub; Wes Gardner fathered Grace through Bethany, was a student at the university, and is also the father of the bathtub twins.
    • On a lighter note, a flashback reveals that Grace briefly met Chanel, #3 and #5 when she was taking a campus tour before the series began. Denise is also revealed to have been a pledge who was not allowed into Kappa because of her skin color.
  • Cooked to Death: Miss Bean is killed when Chanel pushes her face into a deep-fryer, which she didn't realize was on. The boiling oil burned her face off, killing her quickly.
  • Creepy Twins: Boone and Hester, the bathtub babies responsible for most of the murders
  • Cruel Twist Ending: The first season ends with the Red Devil about to stab Chanel #1 who thought to be safe in the asylum.
  • Dark Secret: KKT has been sitting on one for 20 years, namely that a sorority sister once gave birth during a party, only to bleed out since the other girls cared more about the party than helping her, all of which Dean Munsch then covered up. Grace is convinced that this has something to do with the Red Devil killings.
  • Danger Takes A Back Seat: In "Hell Week" one of the security guards is stabbed to death by the killer hiding in the back of her patrol car.
  • Dead Star Walking: In the pilot, Ariana Grande. Nick Jonas is a subversion, getting the same "special guest star" credit as Ariana Grande and apparently dying by the end of the two-hour premiere, only for the final scene to show him alive and in cahoots with the killer.
  • Discriminate and Switch: The start of the sixth episode has Chanel #1 chew out Chanel #3 for her friendship with Sam. She does make some disparaging remarks about Sam's sexuality, but she's clearly angry at Chanel #3 for befriending a pledge.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Chanel #1 isn't just pissed off by the fact that the other Chanels wanted to kill her, but also by how utterly incompetent they were going about it.
  • Downer Ending: Hester, the surviving Red Devil Killer gets away with everything and frames the Chanels for her crime. In the wake of their arrest and sentencing to being sent to a mental institution for life (with it strongly implied Hester eventually drops by to finish the job and kill at least, Channel Oberlin), Kappa undergoes a rapid transformation... to the exact same corrupt institution it was. The new Kappa Kappa Tau is inclusive to everyone... except conservatives and firmly has the support of the ultra-corrupt and equally guilty Dean Munsch, who has finally become the powerful overlord she wished she was in her monologue at the start of the season. She has used the murders to launch a career as a Third Wave Feminist writer, penning a best seller which is all about how men are evil and how women are "better than men". More to the point, when she confronts Hester over her villainy, she immediately agrees to continue covering up Hester's crimes because she refuses to do the right thing and fall on her own sword, in order to bring Hester to justice and free the Chanels. Even Grace and Zayday are utterly compromised; they knows Dean Munsch murdered her husband and framed her husband's new girlfriend for the crime (and used Grace to do so) but have decided to let Feather rot in an insane asylum (and not the nice part of the asylum the Chanels are locked up in) for no other reason than because they just don't care. In short, the corruption still reigns supreme and the only difference is that it's left-leaning corruption as opposed to Channel Oberlin's right-leaning corruption.
    • The only killer who actually receives justice is Chanel and she only killed someone via manslaughter.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Though not a long-running series, the first season does have some moments of this. Throughout the show, Chanel #3 always wears earmuffs, eventually explaining in "Seven Minutes in Hell" that she has to wear them for fear of an ex-boyfriend cutting them off. The first and second episodes, however, each include a scene with an earmuff-less #3, apparently before the backstory was solidly decided upon.
  • End of an Age: The end of the season. The conservative, right-wing, traditional (meaning that you had to pledge and not everyone could join) lily white Kappa Kappa Tau which bucked the system and flaunted it's disrespect for authority is dead. It has been replaced with a social justice warrior version of Kappa with an open door policy for anyone to join (so long as you do not hold any conservative views), a stated upfront prejudice against anyone not politically liberal, a black President, and the college's Dean is firmly in their back pockets to cover their crimes, including mass murder. Also, the school's sole fraternity has all but completely slaughtered, with Chad Radwell the only member of the Dickie Dollar Scholars left alive by the time the season ends.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: When Boone's death is ruled a suicide, Chad's observation of footprints in the crime scene lead him to the entirely reasonable conclusion that he was murdered. His logic is completely solid but he happens to be wrong.
    Chad: Which means that if Boone did kill himself, he slit his own throat, laid down to die, realized he had used the bathroom and so he walked down the stairs, urinated... and then walked to the exact same place he was laying before, and then died.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: According to Murphy, and much like in the first Scream, any of the characters could be the killer.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Chanel outright admits she can't understand how Grace can be confident in herself without stepping on other people or being on antidepressants.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Even before the Red Devil starts killing people this is in full effect. The KKT sisters are racist, classist, homophobic bitches of the first order, but the dean who wants to shut them down is a bitter, resentful borderline rapist who hates the students.
  • Exact Words: Hester insists that the only person she ever killed was Pete, which is true... if one doesn't count the fact that she turned on the fryer in the pilot episode, making sure that Chanel Oberlin killed Ms. Bean by accident. Or all the people whose death she was complicit in.
    • Actually, it's probably a lie regardless. All indications suggest that she was the one in the Red Devil costume when Gigi gets killed; Boone's dialogue just before his death suggests that he and Hester were planning to kill Gigi, and Pete's confession not only doesn't mention killing Gigi, it suggests that he didn't think Gigi was a threat without Boone and this is why she was spared at that time.
    • Considering that Hester was the only Red Devil still alive to kill the pizza delivery guy, she must have been the one to kill him to frame the Chanels, so yes, she was definitely lying.
  • Fake Pregnancy: Hester tries to claim she has Chad's baby but is found out when Chanel gets her to eat cheese and drink champagne...this despite how Chanel openly tells Hester what this is, then calls her on eating and drinking that can be damaging to the baby. Hester tries to do it again when she arrives at Chad's family home for dinner but Chad's mother isn't fooled, warning her the family has an entire legal team ready to take care of fake paternity claims.
  • Faking the Dead: Boone is seemingly killed by the Red Devil, but is revealed at the end of the pilot to still be alive, and apparently working with the killer.
  • Female Gaze: The camera ogles Boone during his shirtless workout scene, panning slowly over his bare torso.
  • Fiction 500:
    • The Chanels are implied to come from very wealthy families, especially by Chanel Oberlin, who burns all her old clothes everytime she gets the new ones, hires Scotland Yard detectives all the way from England to find infomation on Zayday and Grace's possibilities of being the Red Devil, buys all of the Chanels new smartphones, and also in one episode, she is about to buy the Chanels matching pink jeeps on Black Friday, before being attacked by Red Devil.
    • Also seen with Chanel #3, who bails Chanel out of prison for three hundred thousand dollars, because her dad can't bail her due to not wanting a bad rep.
  • Final Girl: Grace is set up as this, based on the trailers, sharing many traits with other final girls. In particular, she's a Nice Girl, she's enemies with the Alpha Bitch, she has a prior connection to the sorority which she is trying to learn more about, and she's the Girl Next Door. However, in the end several young female characters survive the series, including Grace, Zayday, Hester, and all three remaining Chanels.
    • Zayday takes up this mantle from Grace when the latter doesn't return in Season 2, though once again, the season ends with the Chanels and Hester also making it out alive.
  • 555: The number for Denise's security service is 1-866-KLJ-0199. All three letters correspond to the 5 key.
  • Follow the Leader: There's no question that the show is HEAVILY influenced by slasher sendups particularly the Scream franchise. It doesn't help that it premiered right after a television adaptation of said franchise on MTV.
  • A Fool for a Client: One of the best examples of why this is a bad idea is the first season finale. The Chanels are on trial and the evidence is actually pretty flimsy. But their decision to defend themselves backfires as Chanel's "strategy" involves simply yelling at people and demanding to be set free. Even then, it looks like they'll be acquitted... until Chanel stands up in court to bad mouth every member of the jury who then turns in a guilty verdict. If the Chanels had just bothered to get a half-decent lawyer, they would have gotten out scot-free.
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": In the episode "Mommy Dearest", when Dean Munsch tries to call 911 to report an attack by the Red Devil, she gets a recently implemented one of these, much to her annoyance. Though to be fair, an earlier episode had proved that even when the cops had an actual operator, they weren't all that useful either.
  • Frame-Up:
    • Dean Munsch is seemingly the victim of this by her ex-husband's new girlfriend, in regards to his murder but it's actually the other way around.
    • In the season finale, Hester reveals that she has been systematically setting up the Chanels to take the fall for the Red Devil killings all season, and it works.
  • Full-Circle Revolution:
    • At the end of the season, the Kappas have basically changed from a group of snotty right wing sorority girls to a bunch of homicidal (and homicidal maniac enabling) left wingers, meaning nothing was changed save for the political affiliation of the leadership caste. It get's worse: Zayday, Hester, and Grace also have Dean Munsch on their side, whereas with the Chanels, they were clearly at odds with the administration and Munsch, allowing them "cool rebel" status. And given that Hester is a mass murderer, who has MAD level blackmail material on Munsch? God help the students of Wallace University, since Munsch will probably continue to cover up Hester's crimes, if she ever kills again since Hester can destroy Munsch in a heartbeat.
    • Adding to the From Bad to Worse factor is the fact that by continuing to cover up Dean Munsch's murder of her ex-husband, Grace has proven that she's just as horrible as her meth-addicted, thieving, carjacking, letting-her-sorority-sister-die-in-a-bathtub-after-birthing-a-child-so-she-could-dance-to-"Waterfalls" mother.
  • Giving Them the Strip: In "Pilot", after Chanel knocks down the Red Devil, he grabs her from the floor. She escapes by taking off her house coat.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Numerous times
    • One attempt by Chad and his friends to kill the Red Devil just leads to several murdered instead.
    • Notably, Dean Munsch kills her cheating ex-husband and frames the man's lover for his murder. However, the cops are so lazy and incompetent that they fail to see the evidence Munsch planted and she's the one who ends up in jail.
    • Chanel offers Denise a big payday to get evidence on Grace and hang around the house...only for Denise to make herself "housemother," trash Chanel and even reveal her affair with Chad.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: In an episode featuring two instances of skin being dissolved and/or peeled off a person's body, the only thing we see of Deaf Taylor Swift's murder is a blood splatter. Not even a bloody stump afterwards.
  • Groin Attack: Grace does this (with a taser) to someone she thinks is the killer, but is just a student using the Red Devil costume as a disguise while he stole food from a store.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Despite Chad and Boone saying the Dicky Dollar Society wouldn't be accepting of gays they are later shown to be both devastated and hungry for revenge when they discover that Boone was murdered, even after finding out he was gay. While they were at first surprised they quickly got over it and joined Chad in taking steroids, binge drinking, and hitting the streets with baseball bats looking for the Red Devil to avenge their fallen DDS brother. For a group of Jerk Jocks they show a surprising amount of care and devotion to each other.
    • During the fight with the 2 Red Devils when it looked like Chad was going to be murdered by one of them, one of the DDS members quickly charged the RD standing menacingly above Chad with his baseball bat. Even after getting one of his arms cut off he still fights to protect Chad by picking up the baseball bat from his now severed arm and tried to continue the fight. Now only are these jocks surprisingly loyal to each other they're badasses too.
  • His Name Is...: In "Dorkus", the Red Devil kills Pete right when he was about to reveal his identity to Grace.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Chanel Oberlin's big mouth and sociopath behavior finally caught up with her during the season finale. First she writes an insulting letter to her sisters, that the Red Devil Hester makes public for the whole internet to see. It ruins her Villain with Good Publicity status, causing the whole campus to turn against her. Then while their on trial for the Red Devil murders, thanks to Hester's gambit, Oberlin's mouth seals their fate. Despite representing themselves during the Red Devil murder trial, and sleeping through most of the trial, and Oberlin insulting the jury when they were awake, that the jury was still going to find them innocent, until Oberlin opens her mouth and insults the jury one too many times, causing them to change their vote to guilty.
  • Hollywood Board Games: Chad's family is as misogynistic, self-centered, and nasty as him. So much, even Alpha Bitch Chanel is scandalized by their treatment of herself and Hester, her protégé during the Radwells' thanksgiving dinner. Chanel describes their Pictionary game as the most mean-spirited one in the history of Pictionary. Anyone would think that after spending a game full of scathing remarks, vulgar guesses, and demeaning drawings.
  • The State: Played for Laughs when two of the boys play the strip version of Battleship, totally no homo, of course. One of them comments that the game would be more enticing if they actually wanted to see each other naked. They still have a good time.
  • Implausible Deniability: The Dean's attempts to deny the fact that there's a serial killer loose on campus become ridiculously transparent pretty quickly.
  • In-Universe Factoid Failure: In-Universe in "Pumpkin Patch," Chad gives a speech about John F. Kennedy. During the speech, he refers to Kennedy as the 60th president, says he served in Vietnam, and attributes Franklin Roosevelt's "fear itself" quote to him. Calling Kennedy "John Fitzpatrick Kennedy, Jr." (President Kennedy's son is "Jr." and the F is actually for Fitzgerald) is the least glaring mistake he makes. Munsch can only express amazement that he managed to get into college.
  • Initiation Ceremony: The pledges are forced through hazing in Hell Week to scare away the undesirables. Chanel uses it as a (not very effective) bargaining chip later.
    If any of you die while protecting a sister you are allowed to skip the rest of Hell Week.
  • Insistent Terminology: After having seen him without his "Joaquin Phoenix disguise", Chanel #3 repeatedly warns about the "Ghost of Dead Gay Boone".
  • Insult Backfire: When the girls are flinging accusations about, we get this:
    Chanel #1: If anyone's a psychopath, it's probably Neckbrace!
    Hester: Thank you.
  • It's All About Me: Dean Munsch does nothing but obstruct the investigation on the Red Devil killer... until the Red Devil targets her, which is when she decides to start cooperating.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!: Unlike most slashers, the Red Devil is very meticulous about cleaning after himself, leading to several people returning to find the bodies they'd just seen gone.
  • Jerk Jock: Boone (Nick Jonas) and Chad (Glen Powell) both fit into this archetype, to the point that one of their main sources of entertainment is bullying "hippies".
  • Karma Houdini: Both Dean Munsch and Hester get away with the various killings they've both performed, with the mutual assured destruction of knowing each other's secrets keeping either from turning in the other.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: It is revealed in "Haunted House" that the secret of what happened in 1995 destroyed the lives of the 4 sorority sisters who covered it up: One of them became a reclusive shut-in, one of them became a crazy woman who stole milk and diapers, another killed herself and the last one became an anchor for Fox News.
  • Klingon Promotion: How everyone assumes Chanel #1 got to be president of KKT. Her predecessor was disfigured when her spray tan was mixed with hydrochloric acid. The incident was ruled an accident but everyone is sure Chanel was responsible.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: When the Chanels beat the living crap out of a couple of obnoxious douche-bag frat boys in the cafeteria, everyone starts to cheer them.
  • Kinky Role-Playing: Subverted. When they first met, Pete had a huge crush on Chanel, and she took him back to the sorority house for sex. She told him that her kink was him dressing up and acting like a Native American warrior, so he ran into the room naked and acting like a fool... in front of the other Chanels, because the whole thing was just a scheme to humiliate him, and she wasn't interested in the role-play at all.
  • The Makeover: Chanel #1 gives one to Hester and makes her Chanel #6.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Two instances in the "Beware of Young Girls".
    • The Ouija Board the Chanels use to contact Chanel #2. Was it really her spirit communicating with them or were the girls messing with each other?
    • Chanel #1's vision of the ghost of Chanel #2 coming to apologize and warn her of danger. It could be an actual visit from a spirit or a simply manifestation of Chanel's subconscious during a laxative induced dream. The fact that the spirit told her only things Chanel wanted to hear or could've deduced on her own complicates matters further.
  • Meaningful Echo: In "Seven Minutes in Hell," when Chanel and Zayday plan to use the secret Kappa tunnels to get help, Chad tells Chanel that if she were to die, that he'll "never bang anyone as hard as [he has] banged [her]." In "The Final Girl(S)," after the Time Skip, Chad tells Denise the exact same thing as she prepares to train for the FBI.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Up to 1x11, the vast majority of the show's murder victims, despite the Serial Killer's main focus being the KKT sorority, have been male.
  • Mood Whiplash: In the finale, Dean Munsch confronts Hester about the murders, knowing that she's guilty and wanting to turn her in. The two share a tense conversation and Dean Munsch ultimately decides to keep her mouth shut. Immediately after that, the two part ways as if nothing had happened, cheerily telling each other to take care.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Happens twice in "Ghost stories": Boone murders Earl Grey who was involved with Zayday and later Chanel #1 attempts to murder Hester who was trying to steal Chad.
  • Never Found the Body: Invoked, as the Red Devil starts stealing the bodies of his/her victims.
  • Nice Girl: Grace easily qualifies, standing up for the other pledges when Chanel #1 attempts to haze them.
  • Noodle Implements: All the bizarre junk that is stored in the locked room of KKT. It's all evidence of all of the sorority's secrets, but the audience only gets to know the relevance of the bloody bathtub.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The party where a goat got drunk and screwed a human (or at least, that's how Chanel tells it.)
    • Chanel #3's pistol duel with her brother during Thanksgiving dinner in 2008.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: When apologizing to Grace for the horrible things she said about her mother, Chanel says that they both have horrible mothers in an attempt to say they're similar.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: On "Thanksgiving" Chanel gets to know Chad's family, each member being insufferable in their own way, even by her standards.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: The stuntman who wears the Red Devil costume is 6 feet tall, significantly taller than any of the characters who are eventually revealed to have worn the costume in-universe.note 
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: The Red Devil steals Chanel #2's body and poses it to fake photos on Instagram indicating the dead victim is still alive to fool parents and police.
  • Off with Her Head!: Twice, first with a lawnmower. Then with an axe.
  • Orgy of Evidence: Subverted as Dean Munsch plants slews of evidence to make it look like her ex-husband's mistress killed him. To her shock, the detectives are too lazy and incompetent to notice any of it and Munsch is nearly arrested herself.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: After several episodes believed dead, Boone pops up at a gym in a terrible beard. He talks on the phone to someone about how he's "totally incognito," oblivious to how everyone around him is taking his picture, believing him to be Joaquin Phoenix. At one point, he even signs an autograph using his own name.
    • Freeze-frame reveals that he actually signed "Wakeen Feenix".
  • "Psycho" Shower Murder Parody: "Mommie Dearest" has Dean doing a shot-for-shot homage of the famous scene. But she averts the Deadly Bath part when the killer attempts to kill her, as she has In-Universe seen Psycho 50 times.
  • Punctuated Pounding: While the Dean is beating up the killer disguised as Justice Antonin Scalia she punctuates each punch with a Take That! to one of Scalia's conservative opinions.
  • Red Herring: Everyone is a suspect for the Red Devil, but placing Denise at KKT in 1995 was likely an attempt to set her up as the Hag for the audience. This was disproved by the end of the episode.
  • The Reveal: In "Ghost Stories", we learn that the girl who died in the bathtub actually had twins.
  • Reverse Whodunit:
    • Played With. For most of the season the audience knows far more about the identity of the killers than the characters. At the end of episode 2 we find out Boone is one of them. A few episodes later we find out Gigi is as well. However, we find out the motives of the killers at the same time the characters do, and in episode 9 and 10 Boone'syet unrevealed sister kills both him and Gigi, meaning the audience will go into the finale as a pure Who Dun It.
    • And then returned to Reverse Whodunit in Part 2 of the finale, which opens with a Flash Forward in which Hester confesses to being the killer, and says she got away with everything, and framed the Chanels.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Who killed Gigi? Boone was already dead and both Pete and Hester omit her when listing the people that they did kill.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons:
    • Based on what he saw in the crime scene, Chad concludes that Booneís death couldn't have been a suicide. He is right of course, but it's not because his death was murder but because Boone faked his own death.
    • The police arrest Dean Munsch for the murder of her ex-husband on the most circumstantial of evidence. They're right, but not for the reasons they think.
  • Running Gag: Every time Pete tries to pick a lock stealthily he ends up demolishing the doorís glass.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Chanel #2, who dies before the pilot episode even ends. Boone seems to count as well, but is a subversion, as he's revealed to have faked his death and is working with the killer.
  • Scenery Porn: The Kappa house was designed with meticulous detail.
  • Scotland Yard: Chanel resorts to bribing / extorting a couple of Scotland Yard detectives to try to prove Zayday and Grace are the killers. They notably display more competence in the 24 hours they're in town that the entire local police force shows in the entire season.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: The Dickie Dollar Scholars put the girls of KKT to shame with their shrieks when they find Boone dead body in their frat house.
  • Separated by a Common Language: A British-accented Dickie Dollar Scholar says he's going to get "pissed" at a party, only for Chad to say the rest of them were going to get drunk and wonder about his "anger issues".
  • Serial Killings, Specific Target: Dean Munsch decides to take advantage of the Red Devil rampage to kill her ex-husband, correctly assuming that the police will just attribute the killing to the Red Devil. For added bonus she frames her ex-husband's new girlfriend as the Red Devil.
  • Shouldn't We Be In School Right Now?: Grace has been spending almost all her time and effort in trying to catch the killer that her GPA has dropped to a 1.4. That is, if you take Gigi's word for it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Wallace University is presumably named after scream queen actress Dee Wallace.
    • In the flashback to Melanie Dorkis's demise, when she collapses, she grabs the shower curtain and pulls it down with her like Marion does in Psycho
    • One to Halloween happens in Episode 4, When Chad and Hester find the dead bodies all set up throughout the haunted house. Complete with Ms. Bean posed on the bed, Chanel #2 behind a door, and Mandy Greenwell suspended from above, like the three corpses in the original film.
    • The episode "Pumpkin Patches" has several:
      • Zayday being trapped in a basement with no way up and out of the hole above, and the Red Devil wearing infrared goggles that allow him to see in pitch black, are both tips of the hat to Silence of the Lambs.
      • Chanel explicitly wants Hell-oween to include a recreation of the hedge maze from The Shining. And sure enough, the Red Devil chases Libby and the twins through it. Libby even mentions using the backtrack trick to throw off the Red Devil, but it doesn't work out for Dodger.
      • The scene where Dodger quickly looks left and right before going left, only to be followed by the Red Devil with large shears held shoulder high and pointing forwards. That's a Shout-Out to the famous scene where the Gemini Killer murdered a nurse in The Exorcist III.
    • The episode "Mommie Dearest" has two:
      Munsch: I've watched that movie 50 times!.
      • Dean Munsch learned her superior hand-to-hand fighting skills from "the grand champion of the Hong Kong illegal fighting pits, the bloosport."
  • Sibling Team: The two Red Devils are revealed to be fraternal twins.
  • Sinister Sorority Sisters: Kappa Kappa Tau is a sorority mentioned to have a long history of "mean girl" behavior, and at the start of the show it is run by the heinous and misanthropic queen bee, Chanel #1. Chanel is so self-centred she forces her sisters to also rename themselves Chanel, and she is too blase about her sorority sisters and pledges getting offed by a serial killer, and one of the killers is her new recruit.
  • Slashers Prefer Blondes: Inverted. The first victim of the Chanels is the lone brunette among the three blondes. Tiffany (Deaf Taylor Swift) is the only blonde victim in Season 1.
  • Stealth Pun: Chanel #5, specifically, is a reference to the perfume of the same name. note  It's a reference to the high fashion of the Chanels.
  • Straight Gay: Boone, much to the surprise of most of his frat brothers. In 'Ghost Stories' he reveals he was just pretending to be gay.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: Many of the early teasers resembled a cross between Glee and American Horror Story, with perky sorority imagery and upbeat pop-rock combined with murder and similarly dark subject matter.
  • Summation Gathering: The first half of the first season finale is taken up by one of these, where all the named characters are gathered at the Kappa house, where Hester lays out her version of the murders and how the Chanels are responsible.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: At the beginning of the season a Kappa Kappa Tau pledge successfully gives birth in a bathtub...but since the sorority sisters prioritize having fun at the party downstairs over calling an ambulance or getting her any medical help whatsoever, she quickly bleeds out and dies. Likely due to her having had twins.
  • Take That!:
    • When Hester tries to convince Chanel that Ouija boards work, she asks her if she saw "the movie." Chanel says that she didn't, no one did.
    • Grace's reaction to Pete's rationalizations for his actions:
      Grace: You're quoting Nietzsche? You're already a murderer, Pete. You don't have to be a douche as well!
  • That Came Out Wrong: Hester cusses out Chanel #5 to appeal to Chanel #1, but later tries to work with her in order to bring down Chanel #1. When questioned why, Hester says that she's a "Switch Hitter." Chanel #5 gets what she's trying to say, but points out that a switch hitter is someone who is bisexual.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After twelve episodes of horrific and selfish behavior, Chanel finally gets hers when the judge at their trial, after finding them guilty, lashes out on how she and the other Chanels are the worst people he's ever met: brutal, selfish, racist and outright insane.
  • These Gloves Are Made for Killin': Hester wears a black leather glove as she pushes the activation button for the deep fat fryer to avoid leaving her fingerprint. Somewhat subverted in that she didn't kill Ms Bean by dunking her head in the fryer. She just tricked Chanel into doing it.
    • Dean Munsch wears black nitrile gloves as she murders her husband and frames the student he was having an affair with.
  • Token Minority Couple: Zayday's love interest is the lone black guy in the Dickie Dollar Scholars. But subverted later on, as white Boone is revealed to fancy her. The season finale also shows a fling that happened between white Chad and black Denise.
  • Twenty Minutes with Jerks: Due to the comedy being mostly hit-or-miss, it quite often turns out to be this, not helped by the intention of making the characters absolutely obnoxious. In-fact, the entire first half of the first season plays out like a normal slasher film. Most of those episodes developed the characters and killed off minor characters, before the remaining of the season played out with a much normal tone.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Munsch only became Dean at the start of the series after her predecessor's death. She immediately makes herself an enemy of Chanel #1 by trying to revoke KKT's charter, forcing their acceptance of all pledges and overall trying to clean up the Greek system.
  • Undying Loyalty: In the third episode when the Dicky Dollar Society are fighting the two Red Devils it looked like Chad was going to be murdered by one of them. Upon seeing this one of the DDS members immediately charges the serial killer and trys to save Chad. Even after having one of his arms cut off the frat boy doesn't stop or even acknowledge the pain he's feeling and picks up the bat from his severed arm to continue fighting to protecting Chad. He does save Chad... at the cost of his other arm.
  • The Unfettered:
    • Pete has pretty few scruples when it comes to pursuing his journalistic aims.
    • Hester is willing to stab herself in the eye in order to stop being a suspect and frame someone else.
  • Unishment: After the Chanels sentenced to spend life in an insane asylum after their trial, they actually find happiness in the asylum. Chanel #3 fell love with one of the lesbian nurses, Chanel and Chanel #5 become best friends after the psychiatrists put the latter on medications that turn her into someone the former actually likes, and Chanel is voted "Asylum" president. Unfortunately for them it doesn't last.
    Chanel: And now here we were, about to spend the rest of our lives trapped with a bunch of mentally unstable women totally divorced from any sense of reality and therefore capable of anything. From the second we set foot in that asylum, I knew we were gonna feel right at home.
  • Unreliable Narrator:
    • The flashbacks have a tendency to show the same scene in subtlely different ways (ie with slightly different dialogue), or show characters in 1995 as they appear in 2015, hinting that they may not be taken at face value.
    • After both Pete and Hester explain their involvement in the Red Devil killings it becomes apparent that both versions can't be true, since they contradict each other in a key detail: Hester claims that the only person she killed directly was Pete, but Pete left Gigi out of the list of people that he did kill. One of them has to be lying, because one of them had to kill Gigi.
    • Hester's flashbacks imply that Boone was completely incompetent as a killer. While he died clutching the Idiot Ball, it's hard to believe she wasn't exaggerating. Especially since she also claims to have only killed one person, which is in-and-of itself unlikely, but also makes him seem far more competent as the primary Devil.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Everyone involved in the Red Devil murders (except for Gigi, who seems hung up on the revenge angle) justifies their actions primarily by saying it's necessary to take down the corrupt elitism of the Greek System represented by Kappa Kappa Tau. The Time Skip suggests that things are much worse, but in all of the opposite ways. The new Kappa Kappa Tau is inclusive to everyone... except conservatives. Grace uses her position for a vanity pregnancy help line she forces her fellow sisters to man and confesses to her dad that she's not gotten a single call. Oh and the whole thing with her being perfectly fine with covering up Dean Munsch killing her husband and framing an innocent woman. And Dean Munsch, has used the murders to gain the God-like power and status she so craved. Not only has she become famous for writing a book that basically bashes men and calls them inferior to women, but also is using her newfound status as a leading figure in Third Wave Feminism/Social Justice Warrior movement to punish people like Jerry Seinfeld (who famously attacked SJWs for being too easily offended) by revoking his invitation to speak at commencement "because he once made a joke about a woman". And that's not even counting her continuing to be a corrupt administrator; only instead of covering up college girls dying in childbirth, she's covering up a serial killer who framed three innocent women for murder simply for the sake of protecting her own ass. In short, the corruption still reigns supreme and the only difference is that it's left leaning corruption as opposed to Channel Oberlin's right leaning corruption.
  • Wham Line:
    • Mainly for Chanel, who reacts in an appropriate manner.
      Munsch: This year, Kappa will be required to accept anyone who wants to become a pledge.
      Chanel: What fresh Hell is this?
    • On a much more serious note...
      Hester: I am pregnant!
    • Oh, of all the things that could've come out of Black Friday, right before Grace hooked up with him...
      Pete: I don't want your first time to be with a murderer.
    • The finale also has a big one. After the previous episode implied that Chanel #5 was the murderer (with a Wham Line that turns out to be a fake out), we're suddenly hit with this little monologue right at the beginning of the next one:
      Hester: The advantage of stabbing yourself in the eye with a stiletto heel is you know just where to jab in order to miss your important organs, like your optic nerve or your brain. You might have noticed that Iím the only Chanel left. Thatís because... I got away with it. It was a plan twenty years in the making, and it worked.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The location of Wallace University is never stated, with license plates left deliberately vague. The preppy environment of the campus is reminiscent of many small, private liberal arts colleges on the Eastern Seaboard, but the clues get contradictory from there. Gigi's reference to the region having once been glaciated implies that it's in the Northeast, but Chanel referring to The American Civil War as the "War of Northern Aggression", along with the stadium being named after Jesse Helms, suggest the South (though the former could be more a joke about her reactionary Alpha Bitch nature and tendency toward casual racism, especially given that her accent is generic American).
  • White Sheep: Chad turns out to be significantly nicer than his family, as revealed in the Thanksgiving episode. Seems to be a similar case with Chanel #3, as shown in the same episode.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In "Ghost Stories", Boone tries to pull this on Gigi, only to be killed himself by one of the other Red Devils, Pete.
  • Your Son All Along: A DNA test proves that Weston Gardner is the father of Boone and Hester.

    Season Two Tropes 
  • 0% Approval Rating: Dr. Lovin is such a Bad Boss that when she's a victim of Accidental Murder, her crew's primary concern is finding a replacement show host.
  • The Ace: After graduating from Wallace in only two years, Zayday's now training to be a doctor at Munsch's hospital.
  • Anyone Can Die: What happens when you discover that someone may be a serial killer, and you go and confront them on your own without backup? If you're lucky, you just get kidnapped; if not, you DIE. The first one happened to Zayday, and the latter unfortunately happened to Chamberlain.
  • Asshole Victim: While trying to escape in the finale, Nurse Hoffel falls into quicksand. Due to her string of murders, and just being an awful person, everyone just lets her drown.
  • Ball Cannon: In "Drain the Swamp", one of the Green Meanies attempts to murder the Chanels with a pitching machine. This is not effective, and only succeeds in injuring one of the Chanels.
  • Beautiful All Along: When Catherine is cured of her werewolf condition and all the hair has fallen out, she's revealed to be a pretty girl.
  • Berserk Button: Dr. Brock does not take it well when someone brings up his surgically transplanted hand not being part of him.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: There are three Green Meanie killers (one of whom is just The Dragon to his mother), plus Hester trying to take advantage of the situation to her own advantage.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Zayday lets out a scream when she sees the Chanels at the hospital.
    • The Chanels let out a unified scream of horror when Munsch makes it clear they are not getting paid for any of the work they do.
  • Body Horror: The patient in Episode 2, with full body boils.
    • A lot of the patients seen over the course of the season qualify.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Dr. Brock is just as stupid as anyone else in this series, but actually is an extremely talented doctor.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Nurse Hoffel is after the Chanels because she's Miss Bean's sister and wants revenge for her death. When she reveals this, the Chanels have no idea what she's talking about.
  • Call-Back: Several are made to season one in 2x05 'Halloween Blues', such as Chanel's Jackie Kennedy costume (1x04 'Pumpkin Patch'), the Ouija board- and Chanel #2's "gaslighting" with it- (1x07 'Beware of Young Girls'), and of course, The Radwell family (1x09 'Black Friday).
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Season 1 ended with Chanel Oberlin about to be stabbed by a Red Devil. In the second season premiere, not only is Chanel fine but the attack is not even mentioned. Subverted, as Episode 2 reveals that that Red Devil was just Chad, having broken in as a bizarre prank. Called back in the final scene of the series, when Chanel sees another Red Devil sitting in the back seat of her car.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Denise has apparently learned from her encounters with the Red Devil — when she's confronted by the Green Meanie, she whips out a gun and immediately starts taking shots.
  • Consulting a Convicted Killer: This is done with Hester, to try and understand the new killer.
  • Cooked to Death: The Green Meanies try and kill Chanel with a bath of boiling fry oil, as revenge for what she did to Miss Bean. This plan fails, but someone does end up getting fried to death- Wes, who gets forced into the tub when his allies turn on him.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Chanel #9's death at the hands of the Green Meanie (Cassidy) with the help of Dr. Hoffel in the episode "Blood Drive". Chanel #9 had an extreme fear of needles, and Chanel Oberlin decided to help her cure her fear by taking her blood, while holding her down on a table (at the same time, she would get blood for a blood drive that she was eager to win). When Chanel left the room, the Green Meanie and Dr. Hoffel stuck her full of needles, leaving her to bleed to death. When her body is discovered, it's as disturbing as you might guess.
  • Disney Death: Denise is seemingly killed, and her body hidden in a cryo-tube. But when it's unplugged, she awakes, the cold having somehow allowed her body to heal. This gets lampshaded, as the character in question Hand Waves a partial explanation for their otherwise Unexplained Recovery.
  • Dr. Jerk: Packed full of them from the doctor in the flashbacks who lets a patient die and dumps the body into a swamp just so he can attend a Halloween party.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Denise still isn't all that bright, but she's accurately able to explain to Hester why double jeopardy doesn't protect her.
  • Engineered Public Confession: The Chanels were exonerated after Denise goaded Hester into confessing to the Red Devil killings on tape.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Amazingly, a talk with Chanel allows Brock to figure out how testerone can be used to help a patient.
  • Evil Laugh: Hester indulges in these now that she doesn't need to hide behind a Mask of Sanity anymore.
  • Eviler than Thou:
    • Chanel is truly afraid when Dr. Hoffel makes it clear that she will literally kill the girls if they get in her way.
    • Hester also states that the new killer is far worse than the Red Devil ever was. Which might be a moot point, considering that Hester is revealed to be working with the Green Meanie.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When Wes realizes that Hoffel and Cassidy are planning to kill him and pin all of the Green Meanie murders on him in order to lull everyone into a false sense of security, he doesn't fight, and instead takes his own life with (relative) grace.
  • Fallen Princess: The Chanels, from rich and popular girls to poor and hated by everyone. Due to being the supposed suspects of the murder on campus from previous season, they've been disowned by their wealthy parents and are put into an asylum. Even though later an award-winning Netflix documentary based on the murder proves them to be innocent, thus they're out of the asylum, it's even worse for them, as they're hated by public due to being awful (and they're still poor). They're all back on top by the end of the season, with Chanel getting her own show, #3 being her executive producer, and #5 gaining a successful medical career.
  • Fanservice:
  • Genius Ditz: Chanel #5, as it turns out, is an amazing doctor.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Brock's procedure manages to remove the excess hair from a "werewolf girl." However, it also removes all her hair, leaving her bald over her entire body.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Tyler, who is now covered in warts, shows a picture of what he looked like before his disease.
  • Idiot Ball: Hester confesses on videotape to being the killer and setting up the Chanels and boasts she can't be tried because of "double jeopardy." Denise points out that Hester was never tried for the crime once and it doesn't apply but Hester insists that "someone was convicted" so it counts.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Hester's expired at some point during the Time Skip, as Denise is able to goad her into confessing her crimes in front of a camera.
    • She gets a new one in the finale, not only escaping captivity and recapture for her part in the Green Meanie killings, but also stealing all of Munsch's money and running away with Brock to a deserted island to hunt the most dangerous game.
  • Like Goes with Like: Zayday's second Love Interest is another black man.
  • Makeover Montage: The hospital's first patient is given a makeover by the Chanels after a seemingly successful medical procedure goes wrong.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Chanels discover that even though they were exonerated as the killers, the exposure of their absolutely horrible behavior has turned them into social pariahs. Also, they're still disowned from their families and forced to live in a crappy apartment.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: While Chanel is far from a hero, she did have good intentions when she set Chamberlain's phone to temporarily block Zayday's number. Too bad that the lack of communication leads to both him and Zayday going alone to confront murder suspects and getting killed/kidnapped respectively.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In the finale, Hoffel unplugs the cryo-tube containing Denise in order to power her bomb, but this wakes Denise up and lets her save everyone by disabling the bomb.
  • Orgasmatron: Sheila Baumgartner, one of the patients of the week, suffered from having spontaneous and uncontrollable orgasms after practicing yoga. Cassidy manages to fix her, but she gets decapitated by the Green Meanie shortly after.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • After Tyler is murdered, Chanel and #3 don't mock #5 for the loss of her lover - and give him as close as Due to the Dead as is probably possible with them.
      • Subverted seconds later by Chanel (in the beginning of the next episode) when she claims that Chanel #5 must be the killer and insults her.
    • After Dean Munsch discovers that she has a fatal illness, Zayday hugs and comforts her.
  • Put on a Bus: Despite surviving season one, Grace didn't appear. This is due to Skyler Samuels opting to take a break from acting to finish college.; it's eventually revealed that Grace was institutionalized from the trauma of season 1.
  • Retcon: Chanel #5 acts as if she's never had any kind of boyfriend - which ignores the fact that she dated both Roger and Dodger in college. She doesn't even mention that twin brothers were interested in her.
  • Right Hand Versus Left Hand: In the penultimate episode, the three Green Meanies all go after the Chanels and once, and just end up getting in each other's way. They subsequently team up to try and dial this down.
  • Running Gag:
    • Mention is once again made of #5's supposed "vagina teeth". In the season finale, facing death, she admits she has them.
    • Denise is still convinced that Zayday is a killer.
  • Secretly Dying: Munsch, as a result of accidentally partaking in cannibalism while on vacation in Papua New Guinea and contracting kuru. It turns out that she never actually ate human brains, isn't sick, and is just massively dehydrated.
  • Shout-Out: The entirety of visiting Hester to consult her on the new killings is clearly based on Silence of the Lambs. Likewise, one of the inmates flings cake into Chanel's hair. This is in reference of Multiple Miggs and him "biting" himself and flinging his "blood" into Clarice's hair.
  • Show Within a Show: Lovin' the D, a TV doctor show that the Chanels love.
  • Snap Back: Remember Chanel and #5 becoming close friends while all three were stuck in the asylum at the end of last season? Well, Chanel can't stand #5 anymore. (It at least, is justified by the fact that without the medication that was making her more likable, #5 has gone back to her old shrill personality.)
  • Surrounded by Idiots:
    • Chanel openly tells Brock her plans to find a cure for a patient are marred by her realization the other two Chanels are idiots.
    • It doesn't take Zayday long to figure out that her co-workers aren't much brighter than any of her former college classmates.
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: Chanel #5 discovers how hot Tyler used to be before his disease and campaigns for funding to get an operation to fix it. The other Chanels point out that she should try to fall for him before he gets cured. The two fall in love sincerely - and Chanel then reveals that she asked Chad for the money to fund the operation. Of course then Tyler gets murdered before he can have the surgery.
  • Take That!:
    • Munsch's honorary doctorate is the one that was stripped from Bill Cosby.
    • The Chanels got communications degrees because "they're the easiest to get". But they also turn out to be worthless.
    • Chanel specifically wants to work for Fox News Channel.
    • Donald Trump's family get a ton of shots thrown at them in Episode 4.
    • Brock's Halloween costume is him wearing a bunch of bloody rags, which he says represents the script for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
    Zayday: It looks like a bloody mess.
    Brock: Exactly!
    • In the season finale, Nurse Hoffel claims that the explosive they've made to destroy the hospital will be a "bigger bomb than Cloud Atlas".
  • Taking the Bullet: Or machete, as the case may be, as in the season finale Cassidy does this for Chanel #3. It's also Deconstructed as a Stupid Sacrifice, since they could have just pushed the intended victim out of the way.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 3: Chad proposes to Chanel, only to be murdered right before the wedding.
    • Episode 4: The Green Meanie stabs Chanel #5 and leaves her to bleed out, and apparently kills Denise with a defibrillator.
    • Episode 8: Wes returns, and reveals that Grace has been put in an insane asylum, due to all the trauma of season one. Zayday figures out that Jane bought the original Green Meanie costumes (in the process learning that Jane's now dead brother, not Jane herself, committed the murders in '86) and is promptly drugged and kidnapped by the Green Meanies. Chamberlain finds out that Wes is the third Green Meanie, and Wes kills him. Oh, and Brock and Munsch begin an affair behind Chanel and Wes's backs.
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: Since Chanel is actually a cold fish in bed, Brock ends up thinking about Munsch while they're having sex and ends up shouting her name, much to Chanel's disgust.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Munsch's reaction when #3 and Cassidy show up just in time to interrupt her unmasking of the Green Meanie, as well as give him/her a chance to escape.


Video Example(s):


Meet the Chanels

Chanel Oberlin is the queen bee of her sorority, to the point of renaming her minions Chanel.

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5 (8 votes)

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Main / IdenticallyNamedGroup

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