I did a lot of catching up on various cultural pursuits over my winter break from work; mostly reading, but I also got myself hooked on yet another Sunday night show: The Walking Dead.
(Why does every good show play on Sunday nights? I’m looking at you, Downton Abbey, Mad Men and Once Upon a Time! Between these good shows, 60 Minutes and NFL football, hubby and I are in a tussle virtually every Sunday over who will DVR their favorites, who will watch live and which shows will DVR upon second showing instead of first. But, I digress.)
Hubby has been watching the show from the very beginning, and has been trying to get me to watch ever since. I thought the premise was hokey and too old-school horror for me. (Forgive me for being jaded where zombies are concerned; I’m a Pittsburgh native. It’s in my not-so-undead blood: zombies are our number two export, right after steel.) I watched bits and pieces of season two, but was more absorbed in my laptop than in the show. I finally decided to take the plunge when we gave my brother-in-law season one for Christmas.
Now, I’m addicted. (What do they call Walking Dead fans, anyway? “Talkers” instead of “walkers”?) I had some strong reactions to the characters on the show, stronger than the reactions I thought I’d have to the walkers themselves. The gore doesn’t really bother me; it’s the shades of gray in the humans that has me outraged that I have to wait until February 12 for more.
[SPOILER ALERT coming up for anyone who cares.]
My least favorite character, by far, is Lori Grimes. Perhaps an unusual choice, but I don’t find her sympathetic at all. She’s not a good wife or mother, though I suppose it’s hard to be those things when the world is in chaos. Who takes a man who has ulterior motives at his word when he says your husband is dead, especially when it’s known you were having marital problems prior to his sinking into a coma during a zombie apocalypse? I don’t think she really loves Rick, and I don’t think she deserves his protection or loyalty.
Rick is my favorite. He’s the only one who doesn’t seem to have ulterior motives. Sure, he may have a Gryffindor complex about him, putting himself and the group in unnecessary danger while playing the hero, but he is far more noble than the others. I also like the avuncular Dale, though it is a bit creepy that his interest in Andrea seems to pull more toward the romantic than the familial.
Shane, of course, is despicable. His only redeeming quality is that he is so determined to survive and protect Lori and Carl, though I suppose it could be argued that these are also fatal character flaws.
I wish the writers had given us more reasons to care for Sophia, Otis and Jacqui before their respective demises. Granted, I was shocked along with everyone else when Sophia emerged from Herschel’s barn during the mid-season finale, but I just wasn’t that worried about her during the preceding episodes. I feel like we didn’t have enough time to really hate her father, either, before he succumbed to the walkers.
Make me care, writers! I want to be emotionally moved by these fictional characters. I want to be as attached to them as a walker to a kicking, screaming chicken.