BY GREG CAPELLI
“The Walking Dead” has hit our TV culture harder thanMount Vesuvius hit Pompeii, destroying any idea that isn’t zombie related. I could list off all of the zombie-related plagues to our society that were sparked by AMC’s “Walking Dead,” but that would surely send me into ranting depths that can’t be contained in this word count. Yet as the zombie epidemic loses popularity elsewhere, “The Walking Dead” remains a huge hit. However, like all good things, it’s seriously time to wrap this show up. Here’s why:
Repetitive Story Lines:
If you have missed a season or more of “The Walking Dead” then have no fear, because the overall story can be summarized simply with: zombie attacks somebody, person kills zombie, person whines about having to kill zombie, person rests, repeat. Sure, there are some other details I am leaving out, such as character conflicts, but essentially the entire show follows this repeating pattern. Think about any episode you have ever seen. I would bet my future lottery winnings that in any episode a zombie attacks a person, then this person will kill the zombie, followed by 30 minutes of said person complaining about other characters and zombies or attempting to give advice to someone else when in reality all they are doing is complaining about zombies. Entire seasons are repetitive as well. Season one is about camping and trying to find a place to farm but with zombies. Season two is about being a farmer but with zombies. Season three and four are about going to prison and farming but with zombies.
Seriously, if “The Walking Dead” would stop with these Farmville shenanigans and get back to what made this show great, killing zombies, kicking ass and taking names, then there would be no problem here. Instead, the show traveled in a different direction, one that is as predictable as the sun rising every morning. Either the characters are farming or attempting to find someplace to farm. This season so far the characters have been nomadic. They scavenge expired food without fear of FDA disapproval, yet I promise that a character will plant something this season, just wait.
Let me start with something that should have been said a long time ago: how is every character so good with a handgun? Other than Rick and Shane, no character in the show has any real experience with weapons. So someone please explain to me then how amateur shooters are consistently dome-scoping zombies! Not only that, but often times, especially in the case of Rick, characters brandish weapons one handed, as if properly firing the weapon is way too easy. The only movie character I can imagine to accurately head-shot zombies consistently is Clint Eastwood’s Detective Hairy Callahan—and I do not want to live in a world where we think that Rick Grimes and Dirty Harry are on the same level of marksmanship.
Next, think about the quietest place you have ever been. Now think of somewhere that’s even quieter. That’s the level of silence that happens in a world without people, cars, machines or trains; so, basically, the world after a zombie outbreak. Now think back and imagine every time a bumbling stumbling zombie sneaks up on a “Walking Dead” character in the woods. This would never happen. Even someone deaf from listening to too much dubstep could hear the zombie coming, yet this series of events happens repeatedly in the series.
These questions are indicative of the show, leading to one of my biggest pet peeves of the series: Why are there only one or at the most two African-American characters on the show at a time, when the show is set in the greater Atlanta region, where the population is over 20% African-American? Seriously don’t even get me started on that.
This is an issue that really outweighs all others. What makes any story great is how much resonance characters have with their audiences. The best characters spark interest in the audience; they inspire; they cause controversy, and they are cheered for. These are traits that “The Walking Dead” has quickly lost. Watching the show, I consistently think to myself, “wow that was a stupid decision,” or “there is no way I would have done that.”
Spoilers for those not caught up in the season yet are incoming. Glenn is the perfect example of the decline in good characters. Starting season one as the quick thinking urban scavenger, Glenn has devolved into a sick love puppy for his new wife Maggie. This concept wouldn’t be too bad because, hey, people do fall in love, except for the fact that Glenn possibly does the dumbest thing imaginable in the new season. Confronted by a new group, led by bad boy Abraham, Glenn is asked to assist in a mission to bring the cure of the zombie outbreak to Washington D.C. Instead, Glenn tells his rescuer and future American hero Abraham to stick it, telling him he’d rather travel the country side searching for Maggie. Not only that, but he starts a fistfight with Abraham, resulting in the destruction of the transportation mode to D.C. With the entire human race at stake, any true hero, a hero we can cheer for, would jump at the chance to help. Instead, Glenn does literally the opposite.
“The Walking Dead” is probably the first show in television history to choose to have a wimp in its star role, Rick. Rick takes crap from everyone, defaulted from any leadership position possible while in the prison, and is far from the total badass we would like to see. The show made its biggest mistake by having Rick’s partner and complete bad boy Shane killed off in season two after weeks of deliberation. I’m not saying that Shane should have killed Rick instead, but I am asking why the show chose to display arguably its wimpiest character as the major protagonist, instead of one of its best survivors, Shane. In my eyes, the story line still suffers from the loss of Shane, with no definitive leader or ultimate survivor taking his place since. There are very few actions characters take that inspire the audience, and frankly, there are very few characters I would not like to see eaten alive by zombies. Maybe that’s why I continue to check up on the show every few weeks–to see if some of these idiots are dead yet, and maybe that’s how the show keeps people watching.