Monday, March 19, 2012

Dear Haters Of The Walking Dead,


**This post contains a few major spoilers here and there, so if you haven't seen the last couple episodes of this past season, perhaps you should stay away**

I've been meaning to go on a bit of a rant in regards to all the people who have been spewing hate about this season of The Walking Dead, and the last season for that matter, so here goes that. And no, I'm not gonna get on your case simply because you don't dig something that I love so much. I'm not like that. Though I personally see absolutely no reason why any horror/zombie fan would not be as in love with the show as I am, it's one common gripe that I hear all over Facebook all the time that I want to comment on. That gripe generally goes a little something like this ...

"Holy shit, this show sucks. It's so boring. There are barely even any zombies. It's just people talking. Fuckin' lame. They should rename it 'The Talking Living'. Har har."

And here's my translation of that ...

"The Walking Dead sucks because it wastes time telling a good story, when it should just focus on mindless nonstop zombie action. I don't want to care about any of the characters, I just want them to get eaten."

Or, in simpler terms ...

"This show is so good that it sucks really bad."

This sentiment reminds me a lot of Roger Ebert's reviews of horror movies he hates (which are most of them), wherein he says things like "You want gore, you get gore. Hatchet 2 plays less like a slasher movie than like the highlight reel from a slasher movie." In other words, dude's bitching about the one aspect of the material that anyone who that material is made for should be 100% embracing. And in doing so, he's ironically giving the utmost compliment to the movie, when he's trying to bash it.

Now the difference here is that while a film like Hatchet 2 isn't meant to be enjoyed by a dude like Roger Ebert, a show like The Walking Dead is totally made for folks like us, the horror and zombie enthusiasts of the world. And yet, there so many horror/zombie enthusiasts are, bitching and complaining about a show that each and every one of us should be thanking our lucky stars for. After hundreds upon hundreds of shitty zombie movies in the last several decades, rife with one dimensional characters that are nothing more than zombie food, here we have a classy show run by some of the most talented people in the business that truly taps into the idea of what it'd be like to be a survivor in the zombie apocalypse. A surprisingly human (how much do I owe ya for that, Animal Planet?) show that's title is as much a reference to the zombies as it is the survivors that it mostly centers around. Gadzooks, this is the kinda zombie material we've been waiting for, isn't it?!?

And yet, so much hate. Soooo. Much. Hate.

To those who find the human drama boring, do you even realize how boring and shitty the show would be if it focused entirely on the zombies, and people one after another being eaten by them? Of course you'd probably hate on the show if they went that direction too but come on, that just would not make for an interesting show, nor would it be possible for the show to even exist if a character were devoured every episode, like you seem to desire. If you want that shit, stick to your crappy low budget zombie flicks that are made by people who lack the talent to do anything but show zombies rip sausages and blood filled condoms out of people's stomachs for an hour and a half. Be my guest.

Now I think one thing all of us, even the haters, can agree on is that the last few episodes of Season 2 were absolutely epic, rife with zombies and character deaths. It's funny because even the people who have been hating on the show all season have been posting things on Facebook and Twitter saying things like, "Ya these final episodes have been good, since shit's finally happening, but that doesn't make up for the previous nine episodes." First off, why the F did you even make it this far into the season if you hate the show so much? Secondly, why can't you realize that the only reason the shit hitting the fan has any impact or meaning whatsoever is because so much time was spent investing us in these characters and this situation? They could've killed off Dale and/or Shane earlier in the season or had the farm get overrun the day after Rick and the gang arrived, sure. And zombie Sophia could've been found the night they went looking for her, yes. But that would've been poor writing, plan and simple. The only reason Sophia being found to be a zombie or Rick finally killing Shane meant anything or had any dramatic impact at all was because it was built up so much, to the point that we were nearly as invested in the outcome of it all as the fictional characters themselves were. The farm going up in zombie surrounded flames was so tragic and meaningful because we really understood how much that place meant to Hershel and what the end of that era meant for the hope of him and the remaining survivors. Same goes for Sophia. Same goes for Shane and Dale biting it. It's called building up to a payoff. It's something good movies and TV shows do.

If you don't care about the characters, and the situation they're in, then the show or movie or book or whatever the hell the material is just isn't any good. Kirkman and company have gone out of their way to give us a fully fleshed out world, filled with fully fleshed out characters, and people bitch about how there's not a zombie seen every two seconds? Pardon my language, but give me a fuckin' break.

I personally believe that the main reason so many horror fans don't like the show is because it's so mainstream. To see even non-horror fans the world over embracing a horror themed show pisses a lot of diehard horror fans off, which is really silly if ya think about it. If anything, it's really cool that zombies have been made so accessible to the masses, which is again all thanks to the focus on the human drama over the gut munching (...of which there is plenty of for us gorehounds, anyway). To see people who have never seen a Romero movie or have no idea what the hell a Lucio Fulci is embrace a show about zombies is really fuckin' cool, and a total testament to how good the show is. So get over it.

Oh and speaking of Romero. If you want to hate zombie material that focuses on humans and human issues, perhaps you should be hating on his movies too. Just sayin.

Again, I don't mean to condemn anyone for not liking something that I personally do. If you just don't like the show, that's totally fine. But if you continue watching it and continue bitching about how boring it is because there's too much humanity in it, then you either need to just stop watching altogether (there's an idea!) or come to the realization that you're bitching about the one aspect of the show that makes it so goddamn good. As far as I'm concerned, The Walking Dead is a gift from zombie heaven to all zombie fans, and it just really bums me out to see any horror fan not fully embrace it. I know haters are always gonna hate, but there's just really nothing about this show to hate, as far as I'm concerned. You haters out there are essentially hating on the show for being good, and incredibly well written and made, so just think about that for a second.

Not surprisingly, there's already a lot of hate being thrown around for Season 3, which hasn't even begun filming yet. I've already heard things like, "Michonne doesn't fit in with the other characters. Her and the other new characters are gonna ruin the show" and "Ugh, I bet they stay at the prison for the whole season." Good god, give it a rest will ya?!

Anyways. End rant.

I love you and I miss you already, Walking Dead.


Breeze X said...

i couldnt have said it better myself. But you forgot about the people that bitch about it not being like the comic. i say who cares ive never read the comic yet. but i know that you cant have it exactly like the book/comic. cause what works for one doesnt always work for another. plus a book/comic can go on for years and years but a episode/movie only has so much time to tell the story. so of course some things are gonna be changed or diffrent. Shanes character shouldve died a episode or two after Rick found his family but he didnt cause the Character was so good and it would have changed the whole show. Anyways I love The Walking Dead and im a zombie freak. i wish more zombie movies were more like this.

Kristin@BloodSweatandBooks said...

Rant away! Any true fan or really any zombie fan understands that even in a ZA it will not be all nonstop zombie action. Sometimes people will just need to do chores, other times it will be about whose screwing who. I think the Walking Dead blended those moments perfectly into the action.

Johnny said...

Breeze X - That's another no win situation. People bitch when the show strays too much from the comics and they bitch when it plays too closely to the comics. Ya just cannot win with the haters of the world.

Liz R. said...

Well said and definitely well written! I'll plead guilty to somewhat hating on the show every now and again, but it's rare and for differed reasons. It's hard for me to accept changes from the comics, but some of those surprises (whether good or bad) have made me grow fonder of the show and realize I don't want the same exact thing as the comics. However, I will remain bitchy about Andrea because can she be my most favorite character ever in the comics and be so craptastic in the AMC show?! Why Andrea...why?! That's me being over-dramatic though.

Plus, how true about people wanting more zombie action. In all honesty, The Walking Dead isn't even about zombies to never has. I like characters I can truly care for as they try and survive apocalyptic situations.

I honestly LOVE how non-horror fans are so into The Walking Dead. My face lights up whenever a friend or relative tells me they like it...and yet don't care for most horror. Anytime new possible horror and/or zombie fans can be recruited...I flippin' love it! Now instead of a small intimate circle of friends, I have so many I can share a Walking Dead convo with. :)

That's insane Michonne is already being hated on. Are you kidding me?! I was super giddy to see her last night and I am MEGA psyched for season 3. I believe things will just get better and better and I look forward to learning more about our survivors as they show progresses.

Jenicide said...

Exactly how I feel about it! I am so sick of the complaints, because this show has to have a story line! I understand it was a whole lot of blah blah blah for some people, but a good show has to have a deeper meaning. I was very sad at the loss of each character because I am actually invested in the story-not just the zombie flesh nom-noming.

ZedWord said...

I'm a fan of drama and character stories, but I still found the first half of this season to be woefully disappointing. I don't think I'd consider the Search for Sophia to be particularly compelling drama.

After the return from the mid-season hiatus, however, I felt that the show managed to amp up the action to replace the lackluster elements in the drama.

I agree with you that many people probably dislike the show because it's "too popular" or "too talky," but I think there's also a good case to be made that the writing and the drama in The Walking Dead hasn't been inconsistent and poorly written throughout the series

ZedWord said...

Oops. I meant to say that the writing and drama HAS been inconsistent and poorly written.