WALKING BURNOUT

And you mindlessly shamble from plot point to plot point.
And you mindlessly shamble from plot point to plot point.

Okay. So it had to happen sooner or later. Pop culture and the moustache twirling bean counters at the steering wheel just have to overkill everything — that is, they beat you over the head with a stick until it’s popsicle sticks and then flip the popsicle sticks at you until they are splinters. Ten million super hero flicks attest to this fact and not to mention that we will soon be favored with yet another reboot of Spider-Man.

Kid becomes a super hero. Is a wiseass. Beats up dudes.in bad costumes. How in hell do they keep screwing that up?
Kid becomes a hero. Is a wiseass. Beats up dudes in bad costumes. How in hell do they keep screwing that up?

But it ain’t the spandex crowd that has my entertainment meter frazzled and in need of rewiring. It’s the hordes of ravenous undead and the human bozos they feast upon that has me tired and taking a vacation. For Will is fickle and doth not like that which sucks even unto the end of time.  Yes, I am disgruntled. I’m old and have credit cards and will take my frustrations out by not buying any of your fancy tie-in merch. Go ahead, make my day.

I am one of the generations for whom a zombie flick was a pretty rare thing, a good one even rarer than that. I recall watching Day of the Dead one rainy afternoon long ago (1990, boys and gals) and wondering if there would ever be a little more decent and steady influx of zombie goodies. Years older and six seasons into The Walking Dead I cry enough already! Please stop! No more!

See, I’ve figured something out.I don’t think the producers of The Walking Dead want you to know this but whatever story they started out telling has taken a long vacation. Is there a story? I guess it depends on what you would call a story. Personally, I don’t call an endless nihilistic parade of human suffering and bouncing from one safe place to another and discovering that it’s not-such-a-safe-place a story.

I know that a tale of a zombie apocalypse is not supposed to be puppies and kittens. There is supposed to be blood, suffering, death, fire and brimstone. But The walking dead is really laying it on pretty thick. darkness does not necessarily equate substance and darkness is not necessarily a story arc. Worse, it’s all dreadfully self-serious. Kids, it’s okay to have a laugh or two. It’s even okay to have a little fun. The Walking Dead is not actually a documentary of dire real world events.

We all love Carol, Daryl and Rick. However, they are not so far along as they were a couple of seasons past. Carol has become a badass warrior chick (kinda hot too). Darrel scowls at stuff, shoots arrows and eats gophers. Rick Grimes just wants to keep you alive, and that has something to do with doing anything Rick Grimes says. Everything has been variations on those themes, that is, when they bother to vary.

darrel

I would have mentioned Glen in all of that. He is one of the originals who has made it along this far, however, Glen may have caught a slight case of death. Which brings me to another thing… the show has offed so many characters at this point that the only real way to slam something home is to wrap it up in some kind of lameass mystery.

Whatever you say, Rick. You're the boss. Just don't goddam execute me.
Whatever you say, Rick. You’re the boss. Just don’t goddam execute me.

I think my problem with the show now stems from a format that was limited in the first place. You can keep it all an endless survival tale on the road, or you can make it an endless survival tale behind the walls of a not-so-safe place. The living is worse than the dead , so you toss a few human antagonists at the characters, each one worse than the last. You can examine character psychology all day and all night. If there is a question then the question is “when does a story end?”

In the case of a show like The Walking Dead, which generates the big bucks for its network, the answer is not bloody soon. Expect more walls, more zombies, more bad guys and more characters getting offed…except maybe not.
image

I’ll tell you what not to expect…don’t expect it to really go anywhere. Maybe eventually they’ll do something completely surprising and kill off Daryl. Fan girls will riot in the streets and burn the producers’ summer homes the ground. I will laugh maniacally and solve the energy crisis by harnessing the power of their sorrow.

Remember, the living is worse than the dead after all.

And I have credit cards.

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6 thoughts on “WALKING BURNOUT

  1. I think the problem with TWD, like any tale set in a post-apocalyptic landscape, is that you are essentially stuck with the central survivalist theme of man vs. everyone else, all while the landscape is saturated in its own sort of natural peril. In TWD’s case, there are zombie vermin everywhere. But what else can you do, where else can you go? Where is there to go? And the whom-do-you-trust trope is played out again and again because there is just nothing else. I approach my post-apoc. dramas, whether its Mad Max or TWD, with that sort of mindset — it’s just a character, or a bunch of characters, trying to get through the day and that’s all, really. What I DO enjoy about the television drama format for such works as TWD is that there is room to watch characters become dynamic rather than remain static. All of them have certainly changed, and we’ve been fortunate enough (in a matter of speaking) to watch them evolve into something else entirely.

    And I don’t care what you say…the pattern of generic, “big bad” antagonists or otherwise…I can’t wait to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know Negan…another absolute loon ala The Governor with fewer redeeming qualities. Lol define change…Rick is crazy Rick again. Daryl is Daryl. Carol is Carol — sure she evolved (same as she’s been for two years though now). Morgan is different from the last time Morgan appeared but no doubt he’ll be Crazy Morgan again shortly— and that’s sort of the thing, and why I’ve started to have doubts with this sort of story in a weekly long running format (more the long running part), with spinoffs and all that other stuff. Characters just start bouncing around hitting the same beats, not because of a lack of originality, but because there are only so many places you can take a character with these sorts of stories. Dollars to donuts Negan shows up and havoc Indies. People learn valuable lessons about themselves, confirm that the world is now indeed a crappy place, Rick will become less crazy….until it’s time to bounce back into being crazy Rick again. It’ll just go on and on lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What I mean by “evolved” is simply for character purposes — they’re not “static” characters. They have changed even if past behaviors come up again, their character has still become something different that what we’d originally started with. For ex., totally disagree about Carol. She has gone from Carol-as-victim (and-nurturer) to Carol as post-apocalyptic survivor (all tactics employed/all means necessary). Rick is not interesting in the slightest though (he’s as much of a parallel as the leaders of any of the asshole places they’ve encountered). Daryl has evolved, too — from run-of-the-mill redneck dirtbag (stock character) to a character in need of family and purpose. Daryl is the most interesting because he’s still inclined to resort to being alone due to his shitty childhood, but he is now uncertain of what to do. Michonne has also changed since being with Andrea. She’s going to undergo further growth soon.

        At any rate, this isn’t SOPHISTICATED apocalyptic drama, and you know that well. The stronger of our choices right now is actually The Leftovers as it solely deals with humanity at its most emotionally vulnerable (and utterly batshit).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I found ‘The Leftovers’ excruciatingly dull, if I can add my two cents here. The problem with post apocalyptic stuff is eventually, the story needs to end. No one needs a day by day, blow by blow recap of the New World being born – six seasons of “kill zombies, run, hide, meet new people, new people are bad/nice/dead is enough. Time to move on.
    The characters haven’t changed in three seasons, and that’s not great either.

    Shame, because I loved ‘The Walking Dead’. Now, it’s meh….

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d love, just once, for someone to do something to get rid of the zombies and say “I saw that in a movie…” Or “who’d’ve thought that wasting my youth reading comics and watching horror movies would pay off in useful life skills…” Just once.

        Like

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