Making the world a better place, one show at a time.

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I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Walking Dead: A Show With Bite

Haha, I feel so punny this afternoon.

Okay, I'll stop.  Sorry, I'm sick and I think all my over the counter meds are making me loopy.  If this ends up making no sense, then I'll amend it when I'm not, ya know, on the verge of zombie-ism.

I had a professor who told my American Lit. class that he could write an entire book of analysis on the first sentence of Moby Dick.  This professor has since passed away, so out of respect for the dead, I won't repeat what I actually said about his claim, but I was rather dismissive.  Watching AMC's The Walking Dead last night, I realized that he might have been onto something, because the opening scene of the pilot seemed to be the whole show. (BSG was kind of like this too.)  In near silence, we watch a sheriff make his way through a fly-filled shanty town in search of gasoline, and coming upon a small girl zombie, he shoots her in the head.  In the most unimaginably changed circumstances we will adapt due to the innate human desire to survive, but how well we adapt, who we become in those circumstances, will depend on what core values we retain for the time we considered normal.

But, as they say, the devil is in the details.

The general details of the first three episodes are: the sheriff is Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) who awakens after a shooting to find out that a virus has ravaged the population and created a race of zombies ("walkers").  A nice man and son give him a run down of the situation, point him towards Atlanta, where survivors are gathering in safety and numbers under the benevolent care of the CDC.  Rick makes his way south, radio-ing out to anyone who can hear, which happens to be a camp that tries to warn him not to go to Atlanta, but they get cut off.  The camp is where his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), son Carl, and his partner Shane (Jon Bernthal) are, playing family, because Shane has stepped into Rick's role as husband and father.  Trapped in the zombie over-run Atlanta, Rick is rescued by a group of survivors in the city for supplies (on a mission from the camp) and when they all get trapped, he organizes an escape.  Too bad they leave a truly horrible redneck handcuffed to a pipe on the roof of the building, because no sooner is Rick reunited with his family at the happy camp in the woods, he decides to go back to the city to retrieve roof dude, who it tuns out has cut off his own hand to escape being eaten by zombies.  Lori puts an end to her fling with Shane, who, um, doesn't take it well, much to the detriment of asshole-Ed's face.

So far, this show is just plain cool.  As atmospheric as all AMC shows, but there isn't an imbalance of substance and style.  The zombies are gross, creepy, and perfectly nightmare-ish: the upper-half zombie crawling across the grass that Rick eventually shoots was super nasty.   The dialog is spare, precise, and purposeful: the fear of making too much noise and attracting the walkers puts a special emphasis on what is said and not.  The characters are determined to carry on but aware of the desperation of their situation; the discussion about the missing tools highlighted that while most recognize the necessity of co-operation to survive it doesn't make everyone into happy share-y people.  The whole thing comes together kind of like an excellent monster movie from times gone by: enough gore to make it exciting, enough intellect to make it interesting.  

While it kind of hurts to see her as a (unknowingly) cheating wife, I'm thrilled to see Sarah Wayne Callies again.  I missed her.

I have to say this though, I HATE SHANE.  I might get over this, I might be having an extreme reaction, he may turn into a great character, who knows.  Right now, I am in hate.  He obviously had feelings for Lori beforehand, and he used the aftermath of a plague to act upon them, which is so cowardly.  He told Lori Rick was dead for pete's sake, that is like premeditated creep.  (My conception of Shane's thought process: "The world is coming to an end and surviving would be a total win, but I think my number one priority should be nailing my best friend's wife.")  Now, I'm not saying that Ed didn't need to be dissuaded from abusing his wife and daughter, and that on that level there wouldn't have been a bit of vindictive joy in Shane kicking his ass, that is if Shane's actions had had anything to do with protecting Carol or the other members of the merry-band-in-the-woods!  But it didn't.  Angry at Lori's rejection Shane behaves just like Ed: physically dominating a party not responsible for his disappointment.  In fact, Shane might be worse than Ed, because Shane pretended that what he did was for the greater good, not the selfish brutality of a weak man that it was.  At least Ed is upfront that he is a piece of shit.

But doesn't every show need a character for me to hate?

The TV Girl

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