Monday, November 14, 2011

The Walking Dead--a rant...

This is an image from AMC's "The Walking Dead" and they have all the copyrights, etc. etc.  I am just using this to have a relevant image for this post.

Anyhow, I forgot the magic word—or shortened word (Decaf, in case you are wondering) when I picked up my Starbucks at 1:45 yesterday afternoon, so I am wide awake and it’s the middle of the night and I’m too jittery to pick up a paintbrush (although I have SOLVED the “trampoline for the eyes” problem of my last post!)…

But my typing speed is SPECTACULAR.

And, typically for me after watching TV last night, I am thinking about zombies.

(Just a sideline; did you ever wonder about how many HUGE real-world problems might be solved if people actually spent their time solving real-world problems instead of fanwanking about zombies?  Probably a lot.  Clearly zombie fiction is the cause of current societal downfall.  Or maybe it’s vampire fiction.  If you ask me, there is NOTHING MORE TERRIFYING and telling about our current low standards for literacy and storytelling and expectations for boyfriends than the “Twilight” series’ success..)

But again, I digress.

If you haven’t watched the 11/13 episode of TWD, I am going to spill the beans.  So go elsewhere or suck it up.

I started out LOVING TWD. And what I LOVED about the show really has to do with WHO THE REAL MONSTERS ARE.

Hint:  They’re not always the undead.

In fact, they’re USUALLY NOT.

But lately, it’s been getting on my last nerve.  Here are the reasons:

Reason #1:
The pace of the writing is GLACIAL. 

Our Gang of Zombie Survivors has been looking for that idiotic child, Sophia, for what seems like YEARS now. Dale should have died OF OLD AGE in the space of time these people have been hanging out and sponging off of Veterinarian Hershel, using up his antibiotics, losing his horses, screwing his daughter, and SOMEHOW TOTALLY MISSING THE FACT  (until last night) THAT HE HAS A BARN FULL OF ZOMBIES.

Which kind of makes me hate the show more.  Just as I’m about to un-DVR it, SOMETHING KIND OF MIND-BLOWING happens like that and I’m sucked in for another few weeks of nothing happening except for extremely idiotic characters getting pregnant, arguments about the presence of God, etc.  And a few zombies for window dressing.

It’s almost as bad as “Ringer,” which I only started watching because I was a “Buffy” fan and now I’m realizing why Joss Whedon and Sarah Michelle Gellar never talk much about each other.  

They clearly have REALLY DIFFERENT IDEAS of what’s GOOD.

Sigh.  At least with TWD, the zombies LOOK like zombies.  In “Ringer,” they’re just very pretty people all ACTING like zombies.

Anyhow, back to TWD.  I could get all Doc Jensen-y here and ramble on for PAGES about the metaphorical significance of Sophia, “Sophia” being the Greek word for wisdom.  And the show is a big MESSAGE, possibly about our lifelong search for wisdom, blah blah blah, until death comes for us, probably in the form of a lot of rotting, staggering things who catch us and gnaw us to death because someone we THOUGHT WAS OUR ALLY used his last bullet to SHOOT US IN THE LEG so he could get away.

But I’ll leave that to Doc Jensen.
Which leads to…

Reason #2:



It’s been bothering me ALL WEEK that the ONLY character that I even remotely want to survive TWD’s zombie apocalypse is a bigoted, crossbow-toting redneck.  Then I watched last night’s episode, and, in addition to being bigoted, here are some of Darryl’s OTHER qualities:

  • AND HE’S STARTING TO GET VISITED BY HIS PSYCHOTIC (and presumably dead) BROTHER MERLE, who cut off his own HAND last season to escape the zombies, kind of like Gaius Baltar’s visits from HeadSix on Battlestar Galactica.

All this makes Darryl EVEN MORE AWESOME TO ME.

Maybe I’ll keep watching it, just to check out Darryl and HeadMerle.

Because everyone else is an IDIOT.  And I don't CARE about them.

Shane is a self-serving, friend-shooting, best-friend’s-wife-screwing hothead whom I suspect is carrying a stash of steroids (which would explain some of his behavior).  The wife in question is both vapid and opinionated (although she is NOT, contrary to typical Hollywood casting, blonde), and she’s a package deal with the kid, who would be much more interesting if he got zombified. 

There IS a blonde who used to be interesting but is now mainly a compelling argument for gun control, since she is always yelling about her Second Amendment rights but could not pass a Hunter Safety course even if she slept with the instructor, and who, in fact, once she GOT her gun and learned how to point it, shot DARRYL instead of one of the undead. 

Glen, whom I used to like, got very uninteresting once he discovered sex (lost his virginity?) with the vet’s daughter, although he did just discover the secret barnload full of zombies…and then there are other characters that I resent too much even to list.

Although—GREAT LINES OF DIALOGUE between Glen and the vet’s daughter:

GLEN:  “What would you say if I told you we had 11 condoms left?”
DAUGHTER:  “I’d say that was 11 more minutes of my life I’d never get back.”

Unfortunately, examples of this type of dialogue are few and far between. 

And Rick, the main character, went from being a real person to an allegorical mouthpiece for hope (as well as… atheism???) in about TWO EPISODES FLAT.  Let’s get real.  We could kill him off and SOME OTHER CHARACTER could say those lines, and we probably wouldn’t notice the difference.  After all, Rick has already given his sheriff’s hat to Carl, along with whatever personality he had.

It’s interesting though.  It makes me wonder if that’s the point of the show—to bring out the viewers’ intolerances of others.  After all, I don’t TYPICALLY dislike people.  Real people, that is.  But this show is bringing out the monster in me – which is a horror theme at LEAST as old as Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”

Or maybe it’s just too much caffeine.


  1. I think it was an io9 blogger who said the show does the zombies great, but then the characters start talking... and talking... and talking. After an entire season, I still can't name all the characters -- and really, they could all get eaten (starting w/the annoying children, please) and I wouldn't care...

    But the zombies... they keep me watching. :)

  2. I'm with you, Chris--the zombies, ironically, are what make this show watchable at all. In some ways, they're the LEAST repulsive aspect of it! That swollen-up zombie in the well last week--that one was kind of awesome!