Good news: “The Walking Dead” was almost interesting last night

posted at 10:10 pm on November 28, 2011 by Allahpundit

Last night was the half-season finale, a fine time to reflect on the question I asked last month: Is “The Walking Dead” a bad show? The answer after another five episodes: Yep, pretty bad. Maureen Ryan of AOL News explains why with pinpoint accuracy. It’s still good for one memorable moment per hour, but usually those moments have to do with the macabre tragedy of the zombies’ predicament, not the main characters’. There was more pathos to that scene a few weeks ago of the zombie in the tree who’d tried to hang himself after being bitten than there’s been in the thousand angsty conversations between Rick and Lori. I thought the best scene in last night’s show wasn’t the overrated final sequence, in fact, but Hershel and Rick trying to wrangle two zombies stuck in a bog with ketch poles. For one brief shining moment, everyone onscreen was sympathetic. With this crew, usually it’s the opposite.

Here’s the big ending, which benefited a lot from the contrast with what preceded it — another 55 minutes of chatty crapola. It’s fine as far as it goes, but even here you see the show’s weakness for melodrama. They don’t need music to underscore the emotion and they don’t need the characters lined up quite so theatrically to draw the analogy with a firing squad. If you need those cues to realize you’re supposed to be repulsed by the brutality and dehumanization of the zombie apocalypse, this isn’t the show for you. Even the not-so-surprising twist of Sophia emerging from the barn doesn’t pack much of a punch. Zombie kids are always sympathetic, but (a) Sophia had maybe three lines in the course of the series before she disappeared and (b) they’ve already gone to the “living person confronted by zombified loved one” well o’ tragedy twice before, once with Andrea’s sister and again in the very first episode with the man who spotted his dead wife through his rifle scope. That’s been a staple of zombie flicks since the daughter in “Night of the Living Dead” (and done most successfully with “Roger” in “Dawn of the Dead”). Are they out of ideas already? I fear what awaits us in February, my friends.

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Since my wife of 33 years passing away from cancer this past August, the subject of zombies is one I now find very offensive, repulsive, and disgusting. What really threw me for a loop this week is that I saw one high school in my area is presenting “Night Of The Living Dead” as a school play this December! Plus I found out recently that Marvel Comics now has a zombie graphic novel version of “A Christmas Carol” out! Yep, nothing says “Peace on Earth! Goodwill Toward Men!” like shambling, flesh-eating zombies!

Quite honestly, I wish the whole rotten genre would just disappear from society. I really do!

pilamaye on November 29, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Gave up on the show. First season was decent, but writers didn’t seem to know where to go from there. Terrible show.

blue13326 on November 29, 2011 at 8:24 AM

I will continue to enjoy the show; the rest of you can change the channel.

Disturb the Universe on November 29, 2011 at 8:29 AM

Zombies and Vampires -years back they were frightening subjects of horror flicks -today, with our corrupted Godless culture-they’re role models. Doesn’t anyone get it yet?

We’re a dying culture -real life moral zombies -we’ve died morally but we’re still stumbling around hungrey for flesh.

Don L on November 29, 2011 at 8:39 AM

The farm girl reminds me of a young Ashley Judd

get her more naked!

Sonosam on November 29, 2011 at 8:39 AM

I will continue to enjoy the show; the rest of you can change the channel.

Disturb the Universe on November 29, 2011 at 8:29 AM

Exactamundo.

john1schn on November 29, 2011 at 8:39 AM

zombie in the tree who’d tried to hang himself after being bitten

That’s the one where Daryl shoots it and then complains that it’s a waste of a good arrow. We’re supposed to believe he’s a full on hunting and tracking redneck who doesn’t know that crossbows fire bolts, not arrows.

Nitpicking, yes, but the devil is in the details.

John Deaux on November 29, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Granted, they need more zombie killing. They need more scenes where they are barricaded in a house surrounded by walkers. But I would not say it is a bad show. Any of those doctor sex shows are bad shows or anything on WB are bad shows. The Doctor sex shows are Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, etc. They consist of doctor who screw everyone they can, be it in a hospital, a private practice, jungle clinic, or combat hospital. And somehow they still have to always have at least one woman on the show getting artificially inseminated, even though she has slept with 30 guys over the past 2 weeks. Now I’m ranting on how dumb those shows are.

Walking Dead has had a theme for some time now. There are 2 opposing views: Every man for himself v help out everyone you can. All season we have heard them discuss that Rick is not made for the new zombie world. They say Rick needs to realize that you cannot try to find one person and put the whole group at risk. This is an interesting concept. I do believe that they are building to something the second half of the season.

jeffn21 on November 29, 2011 at 9:00 AM

It was awesome. Have to admit, the show has been a bit slow. But, Sunday’s episode made it worth while. Hopefully after the mid season break they will come back with more -death to the zombies- action.

nwpammy on November 29, 2011 at 9:16 AM

That’s the one where Daryl shoots it and then complains that it’s a waste of a good arrow. We’re supposed to believe he’s a full on hunting and tracking redneck who doesn’t know that crossbows fire bolts, not arrows.

Nitpicking, yes, but the devil is in the details.

John Deaux on November 29, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Agreed, but we also have to remember that the average viewer likely doesn’t know this.

john1schn on November 29, 2011 at 9:56 AM

We’re a dying culture -real life moral zombies -we’ve died morally but we’re still stumbling around hungrey for flesh.

Don L on November 29, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Speak for yourself and your family.

csdeven on November 29, 2011 at 10:05 AM

ZOMBIES — slow, noisy, brain dead creatures…

Except when a plot hole in The Walking Dead needs them to be FAST, organized and silent, Ninja Zombies, if you will…

So they can catch a couple of characters who allegedly have brains, causing one to shoot the other 10 yards from their escape vehicle…

NOBODY EXPECTS THE ZOMBIE INQUISITION…Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Undead…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again.

Jack Bauer on November 29, 2011 at 10:27 AM

…despite all your nitpicking this show is still so much better than anything else on TV…

Woody on November 29, 2011 at 6:00 AM

do NONE of you people get Discovery Channel? or History Channel? or Travel Channel? or Scifi channel? USA Network? I can name at least one show from each channel that is FAR more interesting than this schlock.

In fact, I think I shall:

1. Discovery Channel – Mythbusters. Wed nights at 9PM
2. History Channel – Pawn Stars. Mon nights at 10pm
3. Travel Channel – Bizzare foods. Thurs at 9pm
4. Scifi channel – Sanctuary. Fri at 10PM
5. USA Network – Covert Affairs. Tues at 10PM

And that’s just ONE show from each channel! You can easily fill an entire week of television JUST from those 5 channels. Toss in Fox News and a bit of Science channel and older shows on TBS and USA (love watching NCIS re-runs on USA myself.) and there is just NO reason to watch crappy television.

wearyman on November 29, 2011 at 10:42 AM

My goodness, what a bunch of Elitists we suddenly have around here. You Walking Dead haters remind me of snooty Liberals who say that they “only watch PBS because the rest of TV is so bad.”

I’ve been enjoying the series very much. Lots of good characters.

And yes, Maggie is HOT!

And to the fellow who is indignant and outraged over zombies because his wife died of cancer 30 years ago ( a non sequitor if I’ve ever seen one), I’m sorry that you lost your wife, but please spare us the faux indignation.

Old Fritz on November 29, 2011 at 10:48 AM

In the boring moments, and there are many, I daydream about how some Conservative Hollywood scriptwriters (I know but go with me here!) might treat a zombie apocalypse. I think they might have retold the history of America.

Instead of sitting around and yapping, the survivors in this alternate Walking Dead series would have staked out a fair and fruitful place, erected a stockade and begun to plant and provide for the other necessities of life. Bible in one hand, gun in the other, just like the early settlers. One theme in this Walking Dead would be that the even nicest civilizations must have bloody beginnings, as the American Indians and the Zombies would discover.

Another theme to get attention would be the conflict between your rights as an individual vs your duty to the commonwealth; we still haven’t got that one nailed down. But our imaginary scriptwriters would take inspiration from our early Republic to present a sane course between free range libertarianism and collectivism. Under the circumstances, there wouldn’t be just a right to bear arms, for example, there’d be the sternest obligation to. (Personally, I’d have had the old chatterbox who made off with the guns, tried, sentenced and hanged.)

There’d definitely be more children among the survivors too, and great stress would be placed upon their upbringing. It’d be no fun being a kid, I’m afraid. They must bear arms as soon as they are able to, learn to farm or some useful skill, and still learn their 3 R’s. On the other hand, they get to marry as soon as their little hormones start to go snap, crackle & pop. Be fruitful and multiply. So there’s courage and optimism here. The whiny pregnant pain in the ass would probably prefer to hang with the zombies. Good riddance.

But we’re stuck with the Walking Dead the real Hollywood deals out to us. It’s 90% tiresome, but the debate between Hobbes and Rousseau in the final 10 minutes was very satisfying.

dhimwit on November 29, 2011 at 10:59 AM

I have to disagree Alah. While this season has been a little bit slower than the first season and yeah, there are some things that could be done better, there are not many good shows on TV these days and this one is a good one.

While the show is called “The Walking Dead” and it has zombies, I do not think it is referring to the zombies as being the walking dead. I think the humans that are still alive are the walking dead; it is only a matter of time before they end up dead or a zombie themselves.

zerodamage on November 29, 2011 at 12:58 PM

All I want to know is what’s Merle up to. Guess I’ll just have to keep watching.

Gang-of-One on November 29, 2011 at 1:15 PM

zerodamage on November 29, 2011 at 12:58 PM

I disliked the first season and stopped watching. I couldn’t tolerate the weeping, drama and guilt. I don’t mind overt stupidity. That is what makes horror movies work.

However I caught one episode this season and was hooked by the Talking Dead after-show that follows each episode, where zombie-ism is dissected. I have to watch the Walking Dead to participate in the post game show

The host of the aftershow Chris Hardwick is silly (although unecessarily dirty like all television), giving ‘helpful hints on how to survive a zombie apocalypse’. Example: who knew zombies ate chicken? Joke: they taste just like people. The post-game program changed the context of the Walking Dead, making it more like a party game. It muted the horror element

The Walking Dead continues the attempted brainwashing of the American public into a guilt ridden crowd who cannot defend themselves without weeping for the pain of their attackers. However, the Talking Dead makes fun of the drama, and I find myself enjoying this rare attack on our self appointed handlers

entagor on November 29, 2011 at 1:36 PM

dhimwit on November 29, 2011 at 10:59 AM

dhimwit,

You are describing the show I wish this would be. I like the series, not love, but like it alright…but there are so many places I have to yell at the writers for messing up this zombie world.

Stake out a nice piece of farm land, find you a back-hoe, dig “mote” around it, 2 points of entry/exit to “my” land and start repopulating the earth.

And if you find good people in need of help, don’t turn them away…just expand your farm for them. :)

b4itsover on November 29, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Guess I’m just a simple guy that’s entertained way too easily.

gator70 on November 29, 2011 at 7:56 AM

Me too. I’m a cheap TV date.

Extrafishy on November 29, 2011 at 2:29 PM

I thought the best scene in last night’s show wasn’t the overrated final sequence, in fact, but Hershel and Rick trying to wrangle two zombies stuck in a bog with ketch poles. For one brief shining moment, everyone onscreen was sympathetic.

Maybe I’m too into the zombie thing, but I was actually annoyed by this scene. These people are acting like they’re trying to die. These things have been trying to kill them since day one, and they’re leading these things on a leash like they’re puppies.

One of the things that’s annoyed me most about this show is how horrible these people are at surviving and how wrong it is that they’re alive and other people are dead.

Esthier on November 29, 2011 at 3:36 PM

I thought the biggest take-away from this episode is just how unbalanced Shane is, and what a threat he is to the safety of the rest of the group. What many critics of the show seem to be asking for is more of the same zombie stuff we’ve seen 1000 times in zombie movies. What I like about a protracted story line is that we get to see not only the day-to-day struggle for survival, but also the implications for the future of civilization.

ceruleanblue on November 29, 2011 at 4:34 PM

Old Fritz, perhaps you need to spend less time salivating over the WD and brush up on your reading skills… as pilamaye actually wrote that his wife of 33 years, died of cancer this past August. If anyone can be accused of faux indignation, and poor taste, I might add, it’s you. As a widow whose husband of almost 26 years died died in 2006 from a cancer, I can well understand why a show like the wD or the premise of death being treated so cheaply, or as a form of amusement would be cruel and hurtful to him. Try walking in his shoes for a little bit, instead of treating the subject so cavalierly.

WD has gone from being ok, to being as rotting as the zombies in the story. The plots are dull and plodding, the characters are little more than stereotypes, and as others have mentioned, it’s filled with Hweird’s much loved leftist axes to grind. I’d like to see some realistic characters, and better story writing going forward, or I’m going to stop watching. It’s simply not worth my time any more.

Ceolas on November 29, 2011 at 4:36 PM

What many critics of the show seem to be asking for is more of the same zombie stuff we’ve seen 1000 times in zombie movies.

No that is not what people are asking for, though having zombies in a zombie show isn’t an outrageous demand.

What I like about a protracted story line is that we get to see not only the day-to-day struggle for survival, but also the implications for the future of civilization.

ceruleanblue on November 29, 2011 at 4:34 PM

And that is exactly what they are not showing. They act as if they face no threat, they act as if getting infected is a non-existant possibility, they act as if they are on a camping trip gone wrong by a breakdown of their RV. They are unorganized, unprepared, and more concerned about their feelings and soap opera drama than about survival.

sharrukin on November 29, 2011 at 4:50 PM

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