Monday, February 27, 2012

What February 25th-27th Means To Me: Walking Dead and Sunday Night TV Thoughts

I have to admit I didn't even finish last night's episode, but that's more a reflection of yesterday's antsy mood, and not necessarily the quality of the show. Anyway, as much as it pains me to say it, I want to give credit where credit is due.  The Walking Dead actually caused me to think about something other than how I want Lori and Carl to die (though I'm still more than all for this). 

From day one, we've been reminded several times by all the characters that the world has "changed" (no shit), and that the "old rules" no longer apply in a society that's main goal is not growth, but mere survival.  This, of course, is a theme worthy of exploration, but it's too often conjured through boring, hackneyed dialogue, and rarely by the character's actual actions.  There's only so many times I can stand to listen to Dale's judgmental ramblings while staring at his furrowed brow. 

But last night's episode actually featured one moment that captured the "new world" beautifully, and it didn't even involve dialogue.  While driving 18 miles out of town, Shane, through the passenger window, stared at a solitary walker harmlessly ambling his way through an open field towards nothing in particular, much like a child would while watching passing scenery nine hours into a twenty-four hour car trip.  Shane's solemn face spoke volumes, as the sight of the walker registered no surprise or emotion, and was handled much in the same way you or I would had we seen a deer on the side of the road, which is to say we wouldn't react at all.  The moment was a well-placed metaphor for the entire show, and it achieved more in three seconds than all the previous, exhaustive dialogue did in two seasons.

Similarly, while Shane's character is an over-the-top proponent of safety through force, Rick comes the closest to displaying ambivilance, as he struggles with the push and pull of his "old world values" and "new world reality."  His years of protecting and serving in law enforcement runs in direct conflict with the Shane-inspired "shoot em if it moves" philosophy of taking zero chances when it comes to even remote possibilities of endangering their already tenuous lifestyle.  Rick's insistance that they save an unknown (and possibly dangerous) teenager's life, only to leave him for dead a few days later without any provocation, perfectly displays his inner struggle between figuring out his moral obligations to society and his family.  I'd say this is effective character development, but I don't really feel it's intended because 1) it's subtle, 2) The Walking Dead is never subtle.  If Rick were actually conflicted by his new emotions and instincts, I'm SURE this would be vocalized to Lori, who would then make it, once again, about Carl.

I wasn't even IN this episode, Brett.  FU

Additionally, and speaking of unintentional themes, I question the motivation behind Lori and Andrea's conversation about contributing to Herschel's farm.  The issue of gender roles has seeped to the forefront of The Walking Dead, most notably the place for women within this new primal society where it's implied that only the strong survive.  Lori personally retards the women's movement when she claims that Andrea should be helping with the cooking and laundry, and that the men can handle any of the safety issues regarding the infestation of walkers.  Naturally, Andrea is angered by the statements and, instead of targeting the issue head on, takes soap opera-esque shots at Lori's "infidelity."  Are the creators making a statement with the regression of gender roles in this new patriarchal/anarchistic society?  I'm not sure yet, but I suppose time will tell if this ground will be truly covered.  My guess is it will not, and the show will, once again, devolve into bullshit about the best ways to keep Carl safe.

God damnit, Brett
I look forward to Shane proclaiming, with shotgun raised high above his head, that all the men must impregnate the women in an effort to build society again.  And then, of course, Lori's subsequent, bug-eyed pleas to her husband to shoot Shane in the face because he's setting poor examples for Carl...who licks his chops while staring at Herschel's suidical daughter who finally got a few lines of dialogue this past episode. 


As always, the show rocks, but who was the short, fat, Argentine fellow standing next to Phil at the pitstop?  That wasn't Diego Maradona, was it?  One of the contestants mentioned that the gentleman was a "soccer legend," but...who was that?


I didn't watch them.  Though my downstairs neighbor had some sort of viewing party that often screamed with either delight or exasperation at the decisions that really make zero difference in anyone's lives.  OK, no more bitterness!

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