Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back to The Walking Dead

Yes, I still watch The Walking Dead.  I think I need to tell you now why, especially since my wife now refuses to watch it due to how awful it is.  I feel I need to watch it.  I know that sounds silly, but really, how many zombie shows are they going to make?  Yes, there is Death Valley, which you need to watch before you watch The Walking Dead.  And, yes, hopefully they will make Bite Me into a TV show, which would be completely awesome, but is that even still enough?

Anyway, I've been watching the new season of The Walking Dead, and talking about it with others, and I've come to my current conclusion on why I don't like it.  You see, in most zombie shows/movies/books the antagonists are the zombies, and sometimes other random groups of living people, and the protagonists are the main characters.  Granted, you can have the zombies be the protagonists, the antagonists be the main characters, or really any other grouping you'd like.  The real problem with The Walking Dead is that the protagonists are the antagonists.  The zombies are really just extra to the show.

Now, I love Breaking Bad, and part of that is where the line between the concepts of protagonist and antagonist are blurred.  That's intentional.  The show still makes you want to root for Walter even though he does things that most of us consider immoral and still makes you root against Gus even though he may occasionally do good.  In The Walking Dead it seems rather unintentional that the zombies are neither good nor bad.  Rather, it seems that they're just a plot device to move the story to more crying.  They're extraneous to the plot entirely; you could replace "zombies" with any other widget that causes death and disease and the plot would be identical.  The real bad guys in the show are the main characters, who constantly make bad decisions and do absolutely nothing to try to make better choices.

Please don't get me started on the not one, but two, prayer scenes in the first episode of the new season.

"Hey, God.  I know this is a totally hackneyed plot device, but the thing is is that I'm not sure that the viewers know my motivations for what I'm doing.  If I can completely break character, and the manner in which most people pray, please allow to vocally express my hopes and fears to/for you."  Multiply that by two and you're at the first episode of the second season.  Multiply THAT by two and you're almost at the level of disgust I feel for this show building in my stomach.

In addition to the zombies, what I consider the most worth while character in the show is also just a plot device: the hillbilly.  At first he was racist, then he was mad that the rest of the characters allowed his brother to die.  Now he's just the only useful member of their merry band.  Not only that, he's done more to help those that let his brother die than his original character should naturally suggest.  Don't get me wrong, this is why I like him: he can rise above the situation and be a better person.  The problem I have is that every other character on the show has pontificated, in extreme depth, on his or her actions when they have been slight in comparison.  We saw the blonde's sister die and were subjected to in depth, play-by-play analysis on the subject.  The hillbilly's brother was handcuffed to a pipe and left to die, by the other characters, and all we hear is that he often got the clap.

Something else alarming about the show: there is no strong female character.  The main character's wife is a whore who was willing to jump into bed with his best friend at the first sign of trouble.  And then lie about it.  The blonde is suicidal and complaining that nobody will give her a gun that she doesn't know how to assemble.  The other mother allowed her daughter to be molested, repeatedly.  These are not the actions of strong women.  Let me say this again: these are not the actions of strong women.  You can run around all you want and say "Oh, she's so strong," but it doesn't make it true.  A strong widow doesn't sleep with whatever alpha male is around a month after her husband dies.  A strong woman knows how to assemble her weapon, especially when her life depends on it.  A strong woman doesn't allow someone to continually hurt her child.  I don't mind someone crying, that's not a sign of weakness, but the actions of the women in this show exemplify those of the weakest women imaginable.

I have rays of hope through this cloud of awful, though.  The veterinarian and his daughter both seem like pretty solid characters.  The vet's thought of how the zombie virus is the same as all the other ones man has seen throughout history is pretty cool; I like it.  Honestly, the vet's daughter seems like a good match for the hillbilly: they're both competent and seem able to handle the kind of BS that the other characters exude.

Bottom line: it's an awful show but I still feel obligated to watch.

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