Monday, October 24, 2016

pointless thoughts + feelings: walking dead edition

I only started watching The Walking Dead a year or so ago, having dropped it at some point during the first season in real time because I hated every single character with my life. The summer before last I was on a very long flight that was showing the whole of Season 5 and I thought, okay, well, why not. As it happened the episode I picked up on involved most of the main characters kneeling over what I can only describe as a grisly murder trough, getting bopped on the head with a hammer and having their throats slit. I just sat there and openly wept like a lunatic while the lady sitting next to me looked on in embarrassment. Then I got wine drunk off two minis and watched Game of Thrones. Anyway that experience was upsetting enough that I came home and binge watched the whole show from the beginning. Apparently feeling super upset is what I look for in my entertainment choices.

The Walking Dead gets a lot of shit for being a terrible show, and it is--but only sometimes. About two-thirds of the time, it's truly the worst. But occasionally it's a very, very good show. Like shockingly good. As uneven as last season was, there were some brilliant moments: Carol becoming a double agent when the Wolves attacked their dumb gated community, Daryl and the nice gay guy coming upon that disco truck of zombies, and that time when Carl told that kid his dead dad was a total asshole--those were all A+. I think tonight's episode would've actually been okay if they'd had the courage to put it at the end of the last season instead of the dumb cliffhanger they ended up doing. It's not even about respecting your audience (though you really should do that), it's just an audience can smell a lack of narrative confidence like a horse smells fear. And Walking Dead has become a show with a total lack of narrative confidence. Killing Glenn after two fake outs would've sort of been genius as the cap on S6. Walking Dead isn't really capable of a genuinely risky move, so we have to settle for these little flashes of brilliance. I'm not really into TV on a technical level but I'm reasonably certain those flashes are connected to set design and...zombie choreography?...more than character or story. People say it's a good show for character but that's not really true. The only character who's well written is Carol. Just about everything else is to the credit/shame of the actors, who seem to be either really good or beyond terrible, which is confusing.

Tonight I watched the opener for Season 7 in real time, which I never do for anything, and I did so with the same fervent hope I take into every single episode: that they'd kill off Rick. They never will, and of course I know that, but a girl can dream. I want Rick to die because he's the absolute worst, but even more than that it's one of the few narrative moves the show has left that seems geninuely interesting. It's not brave or even unusual to kill off your core characters in this day and age, but to kill your protagonist...that'd be pretty ballsy.

I actually thought the person getting offed was going to be Daryl? Around the end of last season I read a bunch of news items that said the actor who plays him booked himself as the celebrity guest on a bunch of different sad-people cruises, but I guess Norman Reedus just has a gambling problem or something? Whatever. I was pretty sad about the prospect of Daryl dying. I'm from the South, so "problematic redneck prone to violence" rings all my bells. I just googled that actor to figure out if he's Southern because it both seems like he is and he isn't, which is confusing because my one superpower is knowing whether or not an actor is actually Southern. Turns out he's from Florida, which makes perfect sense.

A lot of people I know have stopped watching this show altogether but I'll definitely watch it at least through the end of this season because evidently there is a new character who has a tiger(?!). Now we're talking. A tiger, Denny Duquette, and an emotionally unavailable redneck? Yeah, I guess that'll do. One question, though: I've still got this channel on a few hours later and apparently there's a show with Kevin Smith sitting around with a bunch of ugly dudes doing a podcast where they talk about Superman? Occasionally they cut away to some comic shop where some of the ugly guys offer money to people who bring in their old comic books? I know that's the opposite of my thing but man, it's hard to imagine that literally anyone would find this compelling. I'd rather watch Mad Men and that's really saying something.

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