The walking dead is a TV show. There are zombies. People run from them. These people are often dirty and mean to each other.
This is my five-year-old self explaining to my present self how predictably one-note The Walking Dead has become. Was it mind-blowing in the beginning? Yes. It was that and so many other things. Not only was it dramatic and creative and visually captivating, it came at a time when our collective consciousness wanted to explore the demise of our society. All the more reason to be fed up with how bad it is now.
***Spoilers Below…up to the 9th episode of Season 5.***
By season two, the show became horribly over-acted. We were introduced to the Rick Grimes Prolonged, Taught Stare of Drama-ness (RG-PTSD for short). I think we can all agree the show has introduced us to some great characters and some poignant moments since then. I think the Governor (especially in season four) was very strong, Carol has developed nicely, Michone and Eugene have consistently added spice. But what about overall character development?
Let me ask you this, Does Rick Grimes act predictably in any given situation? You know he does, because he is effectively the exact same man he was when the story began. He likes big motherf***ing revolvers, (which do not get me started on the impracticality of that), making dramatic speeches, yelling the word, “Carl!” and taking up, on average, fourteen minutes of air time each episode with a wild-eyed, sweaty-faced PTSD. What about Daryl, Carl? They’ve had little moments, but Daryl is basically just a shell of a man with a poncho, a crossbow and a bad attitude. We get it.
Here is the fundamental problem: The best character development has often occurred right before someone on the Walking Dead died. This was my biggest beef with the first half of this season. They spent all that time really fleshing Beth out, only to get a big dramatic “Oh no!” reaction on social media when they killed her off, basically with little preamble or plot justification.
It’s like instead of actually telling a gripping story, they are just pointing and saying “See guys? Drama! Look at all the drama we are doing!”
Then what do these chumps do in the second half premier the other night? 1) Spend that whole damn episode rambling incoherently about how Beth died, and how little it mattered what their response to it was. Which, doesn’t that just hammer home exactly what is wrong with this show? Too much dramatic nonsense combined with the fact that the story is as coherent as a late-stage Jenga game. 2) Having Tyreese opine about caring about his duty to the world, only to have him get bit, twice, then feel lulled into giving up on the world and just dying. Again, the dead characters trying to convince Tyreese to leave the show? Do these writers even realize what a parody of itself this show has become?
Tyreese only really had a poignant moment once before when he was with Carol, the two girls and Judith, then maybe one more earlier this season with gum-chewing-dude-in-the-ball-cap who kept telling Tyreese to kill him? WTF? So Tyreese shows us in these moments that he is an adaptable man and a fighter, only to what? Walk into the light after getting bit?
We could go on ad infinitum about the numerous examples of all this. Basically, The Walking Dead has lost sight of story-telling. (Not to mention, as a filmmaker friend said recently, it’s effectively a half hour program stretched to an hour for ad revenue.) It is a drama factory attempting to elicit emotions in exchange for ratings. It is the drama equivalent of a Michael Bay explosion. Even as a post-apocalyptic soap opera, it fails on multiple levels.
Let’s stop pretending this show is any good.
P.S. Is there even any debate that the Samurai sword is the best possible weapon for fighting zombies? Come on, son…