Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Zombies, So Vexing

The Walking Dead is a TV show that I really like.  Would you like it too? Hard to say. Do you like this?
It's very graphic. Sometimes it's too much for Christian. Sometimes Law and Order SVU is too much for me. We're all different. That's what makes this world so beautiful and, in the case of an apocalypse, so frightening.

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.
To my fellow Walking Dead fans, WHAT DID THAT GUY WHISPER TO RICK AT THE CDC? Do we know? Have they addressed that? Did I miss something? What do you think?

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?)


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.


  1. As soon as Lori crashed I thought, "Are you KIDDING me?! Women can't even drive without crashing? They're so helpless they can't even read a map and drive on an empty road without crashing?!" that was the moment when I couldn't suspend my disbelief that this show depicts women poorly. BUT, like you, I accept it (I don't like it) because I love the show and the storyline. This could be a really long post, but I'm just going to call you instead. BUT I'm leaving this comment here to let your readers know that I watch tv and I"m as invested as you (I speak of them as if they're real). You're not alone, Kacy. One last thought: RICK HAD NO OTHER CHOICE! I would have invited them back and hoped for the best and I WOULD BE DEAD. This is why Topher and I have food storage but no guns. We hope for the best, but if the world ends in chaos and martial law, we're dead.

  2. I just imagine some wandering gang of lawless, immoral, dirty men eating my granola bars. That's what the end of the world looks like.

  3. I love Walking Dead. And to be honest, I'd never thought of how they depict women, but you've made some very good points. Though, I think you need a better example then them doing laundry, wasn't the guy who said it the abusive husband? I figured that was just to make us not like him even more and be more sympathetic to Carol.

    As for Lori crashing this car. I really don't like her (and I honestly don't mind the rest of the women). But I wasn't sad she crashed. In fact, I hope she gets eaten. Though seriously, why did she feel like she had to go into town and get Rick? I mean, doesn't she trust him? It's not like he'd be loitering around with no reason. He knows that girl needs Herschel.

    Okay, now I'm done. Overall it's a good show. For me in the case of a zombie attack, I'm going to steal someone's large yacht and wait it out in the middle of the ocean. We'd go to port and brave the walkers to resupply and then head back out. Plus we can fish and stuff.

    Sorry for the long post. But I've given this lots of thought since watching this show.

  4. Did you get the keywords misogynist tendencies from the movie Clueless? Just wondering.

  5. Okay, I read this, and thought, well-played, Every Day I Write the Book:

    >>Under normal circumstances, I'm a big fan of due process

    but then I read this, and I laughed out loud, and now, as far as I am concerned, you are the genius of the blogworld for this entire day:

    >>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.

  6. I haven't seen the latest episode, but I'm a fan. Although I think the show has gotten a little slower ever since they settled down at Little Expository Farm on the Prairie. I'm ready for them to meander on down the road again. I enjoy the show when they're having to really deal with the zombie acopolypse, not just talk about dealing with it.

    They haven't told us what the guy at the CDC said yet. I'm waiting for it.

    "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. "

    Yep. In the real world I'd never want a Daryl, but in the context of the show - bring it on.

    Regarding Lori - I think she's a horrible character. So unlikable and inconsistent. There really are no good female characters on this show.

  7. You know, I hadn't thought too much about the women, either, except for the fact that none of them are funny and/or ever talk about cheeseburgers or TV. I guess it's because all of us who like cheeseburgers and TV would have been eaten because either A)we would have braved the walkers to try and get our cheeseburger fix or B)we would have been watching TV and not noticed they had come into our house.

    Lori is pretty annoying. I think they're trying to make Andrea tough, but it's not working for me.

    My favorite is also Glenn, ever since we first met him. I think he's WD's Hurley.

  8. And also, this is why I'm going to make a zombie movie where the women teach the men how to fight. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. Ask Lisa.

  9. Cool, I had no idea that you are a big fan of the Walking Dead as well.

  10. I had never thought about the way they treat women on the show either, but now that I think about it- you are right.
    The thing that bothers me most about the series is the way the actors speak. They all use gravelly, raspy, whispery, mumbly, fast talk. People don't talk like that. I am constantly yelling at the tv, "Hey Rick Grimes, clear your throat and speak up!"


    And I was INCREDIBLY annoyed that last night all of the people were so stupid about what is happening to Herschl's daughter. "She's in some sort of catatonic state!" Oh PLEASE! You all just saw her get scratched and clawed by her zombie mother- you think she is just in shock? I am insulted as a viewer that they think I'm so dumb. (Although I didn't see Sophia in the barn coming.-I'll give them that one.)

  11. So I stumbled on your blog when I saw on Hailey's blog the title: Zombies, so vexing in her blog roll. Since Hailey turned me onto Walking Dead over Christmas Break, I have been completely obsessed, as in watching every episode of Season 1 on Netflix, and then not having anyway of watching Season 2 (we currently live in Japan-no cable) shelling out the money to buy it off itunes and watching them all in one week the end of Jan. Feb 12th (the 13
    th here) couldn't have come sooner for my husband and I.

    Anyway, my point is that on itunes they have this recap if you will. It's about 5 mins where the real actors talk about their character. It's very informative. The moment Rick speaks you can definitely tell he is British. Maybe that is why he speaks in that raspy whispery voice? I get that they are supposed to talk hick because they are from the south, but it does sound like a Nick Cage movie on occasion.

    It really ticks me off in that scene that they were surrendering to the men by doing laundry. I agree with your assessment. And Lori is so obnoxious and inconsistent. She bugs bad, but after watching Season 2's commentary on behind the scenes on itunes, I can kinda see why she is the way she is, as explained by the actress. There is no way she will be off'ed from the show despite my euphoria when her car crashed. She talks to much like she's the producer's pet.

    Shane's character really intrigues me. I find I relate a lot to him, but I'm ashamed to admit it because he is supposed to be the a-hole antagonist. Is he an honorable character? No, but is he smart? Yes. Unlike, Rick who thinks it is a good idea to search for a little girl and the people searching for her are near death constantly (Daryl seriously injuring himself) just by looking for her. What makes anyone think a little girl can survive if the adults can barely? That is why Rick bugs me, sorry to tarnish your imagine of him. Even Jack had flaws. ;) He makes bad judgment calls, and seems to be addicted to being needed except when it is his family, in that case he'll trump up another humanitarian mission so he can abandon his pregnant wife and child. I don't get it.

    My opinion is that Shane and Rick are equally dangerous in that Rick will honorably lead you to your death for the good of the group (going along with Herschel's zombies in the barn plan--um, hello?), and Shane is a wild card and it may be you who he needs to kill next in order to survive.

    And why, may I ask, is this farm immune from all the zombies? Why is it different from the neighboring farm, and why can't the group set up there next to Herschel's farm so they can still have the benefit of his medical skills? Win-win, right? Oh that's right, because the show would get boring. Seriously people?

    Does anyone else think Dale is super creepy and off his rocker? And was the scene really necessary that shows Andrea riding in the back of the truck with the zombies when there is a perfectly good seat in the cab of the truck? She can be a bit ridiculous too. We get it, hot chick with a gun. Sheesh.

    I get it though, the writing has to be tedious and annoying sometimes in order to create an interest for the viewer. It is interesting how the zombie gore was almost too much to handle in the beginning, and now it ain't no thang splitting zombies heads open. Makes you relate more with the characters and the desensitization their going through.

  12. (I had to break my comment up because they said it was too long, oopsies)

    I mentioned to Hailey that I could see them making this show a college course. End of the world Ethics and Values 101. The law and order vs survival aspect fascinates me. When I think about what I would do in certain circumstances, I agree with Lisa in that it wouldn't matter because I would already be dead. I couldn't do what those people have to do to survive. What's so bad about dying anyway? ;)

    It did shock me that Rick shot those 2 men. It's about time he did something-I would say manly, but righteous dominion sounds better. ha! k, I'll shut up now.

  13. I have a really hard time with the female characters, too. Lori's car crash, like others have mentioned, was the ultimate eye roll. Really, now they're stereotypical horrible drivers too? And Andrea always gets "Hot Horror Chick" - "Look I'm shooting things! Now I'm carelessly throwing a zombie arm! And always sexy!" Lori, Andrea and Maggie seem to only have two character traits - desperately trying to be alpha-female one minute, then being emotional and can only be consoled by a man the next. Carol is the most unlikeable to me.

    And all the men are muscular, toned, healthy. But particularly the mothers on this show - Lori and Carol - look like they are going to die if they miss a meal. The skeleton-like moms are a sharp contrast to the buff, healthy men.

    My latest theory - the blonde farmer's daughter who is stuck in bed because of "shock" - I think the next horror is there's some sort of delayed zombie transformation that can be transferred by close contact or zombie blood ingestion like "28 Days." (Remember Hershel's daughter and zombie mom scene earlier that day?)

  14. i haven't seen this show, but i've given this a lot of thought in the past couple of days (and since i watched "attack the block" for the first time)—in a zombie (or alien) apocalypse, i'd like for you to be on my side.

  15. The comic explains what the CDC man told Rick, even though the timing is different in the comic. SPOILER!!! He told rick that he's a carrier of the disease but that he is immune! Does that mean Rick's kids could be too? The plot thickens.

  16. Haven't caught up on the most recent episode, but I did watch the whole last season and the first episode of this one. I'm a little disappointed by the lack of zombies. I couldn't care less about Lori being pregnant, her relationship with Shane, Glen and whatever that chicks name is. All I care about is zombies. And the first episode of this season, there was literally only 1 zombie! I know they had to cut back last season due to budget issues, but seriously? How are you gonna have a show about zombies without zombies??? I'm so sick of the soap-opera drama. And I hate hate Lori. She's so annoying. But maybe it is due to the misogynistic attitude. Eh.


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