In The Walking Dead a disease breaks out which kills you and then turns you into a zombie. Once you are a zombie you can infect other people by biting them. It's rough. But in a Lost-like post-catastrophic restructuring of society the dynamics of community and leadership are intriguing to watch. I'm a sucker for any Lord of the Flies scenario and will enthusiastically root for the emergent leader whether his name is Ralph, Jack Shepherd, or Rick Grimes.
I like the look of the show and the music and the actors and the writing, except for one thing--its misogynist tendencies. The women's parts are terrible and none of the women are likable. There is literally a scene where women are washing in a river while men look on and they say that now that society is starting over, this is just the way it is--women wash clothes and men shoot zombies. I'm not sure if it was ironic or subverting social norms by asserting them or something interesting like that but I think it wasn't. I'm worried that it wasn't because the first scene of season 1 of The Walking Dead depicts some sexist banter between two redneck cops. They talk about how women are so perplexing (typical guy talk!) but Rick--our protagonist--goes on to say that women are capable of much more cruelty than men because his wife argues with him in front of their son.
Interesting, you'd think. Like it's turning the stereotype of the nurturing mother on it's head. But throughout the season they fall back on that stereotype again and again. So mostly it's just bothersome because while Shane (half of the redneck duo in the first scene) turns out to be the type of person who would spout misogyny, Rick is our hero! It's sexist on two counts--the women are only good for washing clothes but they are also demanding, mean, and cruel. I mean, usually when we're left to do the laundry we are at least exalted for being good moms. It's like we get the short end of two sticks in The Walking Dead. I hate it. I want them to fix that. Because the rest of the story is so great.
And to everyone else who hasn't seen the show and so you are woefully unprepared should this zombie-disease situation actually occur: Don't think of them as people. You can't treat the zombies like people. They aren't.
(You can start catching up on it on Sundays--what better day to contemplate the big questions The Walking Dead poses?)
SPOILER DISCUSSION FOR PEOPLE WHO SAW THE LAST EPISODE:
So, Rick is totally hard core, is he not? He made a judgment call about those two guys and he protected himself, his family, and the doc who is going to deliver his baby--unless Lori loses the baby as a result of her car crash! (First she gets pregnant and now she gets in a car wreck. See how women are just a liability on this show?)
The scene in the bar with Rick and the two strangers reminded me of Gideon choosing the men who used their hands to drink water rather than drinking straight from the stream. The guys in the bar demonstrate that they have no respect for the rules Rick and Hershel cling to. No matter how bad things get, we don't go to the bathroom on the floor. They speak disrespectfully. They call walkers "lame brains." They aren't good.
Under normal circumstances, I'm a big fan of due process but in a zombie apocalypse I want someone with good judgment to act fast and protect me. I don't think I would have SPOILER shot those guys but I wish I would have the guts to do it because I think it was right and admirable given the situation. The reason I wouldn't have shot them is that I would be afraid to face the consequences of killing someone. I wouldn't trust my judgment enough and be brave enough to take on the burden of killing someone. And I'm sure those guys would have gone on to take advantage of me and trash Hershel's farm. I've thought for a while that Glenn is sort of the "everyman" on the show and it is Glenn who I relate to the most. Glenn was relieved but freaked out by Rick. It's scary to have to depend on someone like that but let's be honest, we want Jack Nicholson sitting on that wall. OK, if it's real life and it's George Bush it makes me a little nervous. But if it's a TV show and it's Rick--I LOVE! His existence while grotesque and incomprehensible to you saves lives. Shane too--though his brand of justice is amoral and undisciplined.
What's that? You don't watch TV? Don't "have time" for it? I use words like "Tivo," "Pause," "Loyalty." I use these words as the backbone of a lifetime spent defending TV. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to people who rise and sleep under the blanket of the very recaps I provide and then question the manner in which I provide them. I would rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise I suggest you create your own blog and start to post. Either way. . . actually, I do hope you keep reading my blog. But you don't have to watch The Walking Dead unless you want to.