Sometimes I think about what I would say if for some reason I became famous enough to sit on the celebrity couch in Chris Hardwick’s fake studio apartment. Lately, the guests (and Chris) have been doing fairly well at focusing on The Walking Dead instead of promoting their own work and making dirty jokes. But there are some topics nobody has broached that I think need to be addressed.
- Negan is not a good role model or even a cool guy. I made this quite clear in my post from a year ago entitled why I hate Negan, so I won’t belabor the point now. At the time, I said he was an engaging character, but now I find his swagger contrived (which it is, of course–it’s a post-apocalyptic persona) and his relentless unkindness, even to his own terrified followers, almost unbearable to watch. Yet convention attendees are still dressing their little kids up in Negan costumes. It’s troubling, to say the least. I wish Rick (or anyone, really) would kill him ASAP–next Sunday, preferably–but I’m sure he won’t die until the end of this season, if even then, because he seems to have surpassed Darryl as the darling of ratings.
- The most interesting characters are the people who seem to have nothing to offer–the ones considered dead weight or even liabilities according to the masculine contribution-value paradigm I wrote about in another post. Sure, we need people like Rick who have gun skills and leadership abilities, and people like Carol whose past traumas have made them tough, but we also need people like Father Gabriel, who had to go through a serious worldview shift in order to even comprehend what was happening, and people like Eugene, who concocted the (end of the) world’s biggest lie because he was so afraid of being cast out or killed by people he knew were more capable and prepared. People like these latter two, perhaps my favorite characters right now, provide a necessary non-majority perspective and are able to empathize with others who aren’t brave or bad-ass and yet have worth just by being human. (Well, Father Gabriel is able to empathize. Eugene’s not great at people skills, but he’s improving.) I often think back to Dale in Seasons 1 and 2 and that bewildered look he would get, which I affectionately refer to as The Dale Face. Dale clearly was having trouble reconciling his understanding of the world with the horror he was seeing around him. I would have the same trouble, and I’m glad to think I would. The people who aren’t troubled by the zombie apocalypse are the people who scare me. And even some of our most confident and capable characters have had to go through periods of retreat and reflection–Morgan, most notably, but also Rick when he went through his gardening phase. (By the way, I was annoyed with all the fans who mocked “Farmer Rick.” Besides processing his own grief, he was also creating a sustainable food source for his community. Since when is that a bad thing?)
- King Ezekiel, his tiger, and his kingdom have turned this show into a bizarre mashup of a gritty, hyper-realistic road story set in the near future and a faux-medieval high fantasy, Lord of the Rings style, and I love it. He’s the best thing that’s happened to this show in a while.
- Please, someone, wash and cut Carl’s and Darryl’s hair. I can hardly stand to look at them.