In Defense Of The Walking Dead
These types of articles are the hardest to write since so much of it comes down to personal biases, but today I’ve gathered you all here to talk about a little show called The Walking Dead.
If you follow our site, you’ll know we are fans. In fact, it may be the only single show that each our writer’s collectively watch. AMC has proven that it’s a sheer powerhouse, successful beyond the network’s wildest dreams, generally snagging the #1 spot when each new episodes air. People talk about it Monday morning in my office religiously, you see t-shirts and other merchandise constantly and it’s all over social media. Zombies are basically everywhere. Yet, I’ve never seen so many people complain about a show who faithfully watch it every week. What gives?
If it wasn’t for my wife I would have never watched it. I don’t care for zombies…at all. They hold zero appeal to me. When the show started, I had never read the comics (part of my decades long exile), shit I had never even heard of it at all. As it slowly began to permeate pop culture it hit my radar but I still avoided it. Somewhere between the mid-season break of the 3rd season AMC ran a marathon. My wife really wanted to watch it so I reluctantly agreed to watch the first episode. I liked it enough to watch the second and from that point on I was hooked. I was pleased almost from the get go that this wasn’t a show centered around zombies. It is in a way, but zombies are more of a catalyst for a survival story and the people behind it.
Now for the record, I don’t think that The Walking Dead is an amazing piece of art. The acting certainly isn’t the best amongst other things, but I do believe it is an engaging show. My problem is when people who used to love it tell me they are going to stop watching it because it’s too boring or that not enough happens. That kind of criticism is often leveled against most serialized tv shows that are spreading out a story over an entire season. Some episodes are just going to be more intriguing than others. My favorite current show is AMC’s Mad Men which suffers from that same opinion much of the time. With Mad Men (at least for me) it’s different, because I love the characters so much and am so invested in them that watching them do anything is entertaining for me. So if there’s an episode that maybe doesn’t have far reaching effects on the overarching storyline at play, it doesn’t matter. When The Walking Dead attempts more character driven episodes these tend to get labeled by people as boring. This is interesting because as a whole we don’t know much about any of these character’s past lives so by watching their actions and responses in situations is how we get to piece together who they are or at least what they’ve become.
It appears to me that the detractors want the story to move forward all the time and want blood gushing zombie beat downs as much as possible. Any episode that strays away from this usually draws quite a bit of heat. Most notably is a good chunk of the second season where the crew is sequestered on Herschel’s farm and many of the episodes are based around searching for Sofia. The current season (season 4) has also come under fire with the two episodes specifically dealing with The Governor’s post Woodbury life. Both examples cited were to me some of the high points of the series. It lets the viewer get a glimpse into character’s personalities. Season 2 especially made Darryl into the sympathetic Wolverine like loner with his unrelenting search for Carol’s daughter. I would imagine this in particular helped spark one of the biggest fan favorite characters on the whole show, but I bet most people who love Daryl would tell you they hated season 2 because “nothing happened”.
The zombie throw downs are definitely not consistent from episode to episode there is some unthinkable amount of bloodshed in some episodes and barely any in others. I try to tell these people that they can’t forget above all else that they are watching an AMC Drama. The Walking Dead is basically a glorified Soap Opera set in the Zombie Apocalypse. If you want full on zombie brutality and bloodshed you’ll have to look elsewhere. It’s just not a blood and guts, gross out kind of show. There are moments like that for sure but if that’s what you’re expecting you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Maybe that’s what people think they are getting into when they watch it at first or perhaps that’s how it’s advertised, but the reality is it’s not.
If you don’t like the show or used to like it and don’t anymore simply stop watching it. That’s something I never understood. When I like a show no matter how much time I invested into it if it takes a turn that becomes painful for me to watch, I jump ship. It’s not worth the time, energy and potential pain it might cause (The Office, I’m looking in your direction). If you don’t like it anymore it’s pretty unlikely that something is going to happen on the show to change your opinion. I ask you kindly if you want to watch The Walking Dead watch it for what it is; not what you want it to be.
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