THE WALKING DEAD IS NOT THE JERSEY SHORE. EXPECT MORE, SOON!

[This article is in response to Dave’s response to Kevin’s response to the response to The Walking Dead. We all agree it’s getting ridiculous.]

[Editor’s Note: When you’re the editor-in-chief and someone writes an article making fun of you, the above is what you get to say at the top of their piece. Suck it, Kevin. Now onto his response.]

Given that you’re nearing 30, Dave, and still watch every MTV reality show, and that you actually admitted that you watch (and like!) Whitney, I’m somewhat very thankful that we disagree on good/bad television.

Seriously, Dave?

The points you raise in defense of The Walking Dead would make sense if AMC marketed and wrote the show as something more in line with Shaun of the Dead – a comedic or light-hearted romp with tons of arcade-style zombie killing and the occasional gratuitous boob shot. Unfortunately, that’s not what the show is – or more importantly, what it tries to be. Funny that AMC’s tagline is “Story matters here.” They must make an exception for The Walking Dead, because there’s really not much story at all (zing!).

I’m not demanding an Emmy-caliber actor for the show or even Emmy-level writing. Just give me writers that can create something plausible. Give me something that makes sense. Give me a little depth. Give me more than 3 minutes of entertainment per episode.  What kills me is that the writers didn’t have some impossible task on their hands here – they’re adapting the damn story from someone else’ s writing. Writing with pictures, no less!

You brought up Breaking Bad. Although that’s your comparison, not mine, I will admit that the two shows do have one similarity — an implausible story. Breaking Bad is about a quiet chemistry teacher turned major meth dealer/awesome criminal mastermind with a sweet hat. We look past the ridiculousness of the story because we care about the characters and what happens to them. When major plot twists occur, they’re that much more powerful because of the meaning and ramifications they cause and how it affects the characters. This is in large part due to the fact that an actual plot has been developed and characters have been shaped by writers with talent. The Walking Dead has none of that. If any of these characters die, I will be happy and relieved THAT SOMETHING MEANINGFUL ACTUALLY HAPPENED. And no, the death of a new character we’d never met or a little girl no one remembers doesn’t count.

Deliberately stolen from www.videogum.com. Check out their recaps of the show. They are hilarious.

The fact that you were entertained by the zombie in the well scene just shows the clear differences we have with the expectations of this show.  That scene DID meke me physically upset. It was so stupid that my wife and I had to hit pause and talk to each other about how terribly pointless it was:

Me: “Wait, are they really going to lower one of the few survivors they have left into a well, just so they can rope up a zombie?”

Sarah: “Looks like it. Has clean water been an issue before? Haven’t they been there for days already?”

Me: “And didn’t someone JUST SAY that there were 4 other perfectly safe, zombie-free wells on the property?!?”

Simultaneously: “This is so stupid.”

It made absolutely no sense. It was as if the writers sat around a room and thought about getting the Boomer from Left 4 Dead into the show. THEN they made up some random scene to get him in. “Screw whether this  makes any logical sense in the world we’ve created, we can pull him apart and his guts will fly everywhere! Huge ratings!” Ugh. Awful. See also the stupidly created scene where Andrea learns to shoot a gun. As noted in my original review, they got a dumb lead (from where?) about Sophia maybe being in a house. But the house was in the middle of a gigantic suburban neighborhood. This was written solely for the purpose of creating a tense moment that would require her to shoot a bunch of zombies in the face. It was the same as the well scene – dumb, lazy, and implausible in the world they had created up until that point.

I’m not expecting this show to be the best on TV as you seem to assume. It’s still early, which is why I continue to watch and hope that it can get better. I’m just arguing that it’s nowhere close to being good. It’s ratings-driven dreck that seeks only to capitalize on the recent resurrection of zombie popularity.  And that’s depressing given the awesome promise it had.

This guy didn't die from a zombie attack. He died listening to Lori complain for the 1,543rd time.

It was convenient that Frank Darabont’s “vision” for the season 2 premiere was released on the interwebs this week. It’s pretty much everything I was asking for (and expecting) after the start of season 1. It provided some relevant backstory. It provided a sense of scope and atmosphere about the world these characters are in. It provided some direct character development – for example, being able to see how Dale and Andrea started their journey, so as not to leave the audience wondering why the old creepy man has some weird fascination with the much younger blonde. And it would have been done in a way that didn’t require a rehash of the same 15 minute conversation that happens in every single episode between the same two characters. (I can’t really tell, is Lori unhappy?)

Sidebar! Really, it would have been stealing from Lost‘s premiere – set up a terrible, tense tragedy and give each character a small amount of screen time to set the stage for what their characters are going to be like – Jack the hero, Kate the follower/helper, Hugo the bumbling big teddy bear who wants to please/help everyone, Shannon the annoying rich bitch, etc. God, I miss watching that show when it was at its peak!) ANYWAY…

A Lost-Itype premiere would have added some DEPTH to the damn show – using an unknown character to connect with a great scene (the tank escape) to further the storytelling. The idea was eventually scrapped thanks to Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men demands (and probably some creative differences between Darabont and the suits at AMC), but it still shows you what the show COULD have been. Instead, we were stuck on a highway/in a forest/on a farm for seven episodes. As Alan Greenwald on Grantland put it: “This was an independent and wildly wrongheaded decision to transform a promising series about surviving a zombie apocalypse into an overheated soap opera about rural campsite tension.”

And that’s pretty much what we have. A boring ass soap opera with miserable, boring people talking about their miserable, boring lives. The occasional good part of the show – the zombie killing or tense escapes – lasts for mere minutes and doesn’t overcome the eye-gouging boredom the rest of the show offers.

So, yes, the zombies need to win. And soon.

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