My wife and I have been watching "The Walking Dead." I tall started while AMC was running a Dead episodes while I was exercising a few months ago. I was surfing the channel while sweating and came across the show and kept watching, mostly from momentum.
We're not big zombie fans. We haven't meet any (that we know) so we can honestly say we have little idea what they're like in person. The ones on Dead seem very hungry, with little to do but eat and wait to eat. I bet they'd be very nice, once they got a full meal in them. I do enjoy the Cranberry song, "Zombie" and also enjoyed "Zombie Land".
Watching the Dead, though, we've noticed inconsistencies in zombie behavior. My wife is hyper-critical of these differences. "If they eat all the time, do they go to the bathroom, too?" she asked. "We know they can smell and they hear things. They seem to sleep. Do they have sex?"
I pondered zombie orgies for a moment before giving my standard response, "Good question, I don't know."
We're not so interested in the zombies. We're not even that interested in the characters. It's the survival situation that interests us. But my wife can't resist commenting on the zombies and the characters. "Those people are stupid," she exclaims. "Why did they do that?"
I'm more sanguine about it. The show is about entertainment. If everything was going great, why would anyone watch? People like reading about the bad things going on, like whether Rick is going crazy, and what will happen once Merle and Daryl return to the prison. Andrea seems to be getting disenchanted with Woodbury's governor. Will she take up sides against her old zombie hunters?
The story falls back to the fiction maxims about creating situations and characters to build tension. You beat them down to see what they'll do. Then, when they're low, you beat them a little harder.
I've told her that. "This story isn't about the zombies or why they are zombies or how to survive the collapse of civilization in America. It's about how these things affect people. Really, this is a soap set to the zombie apocalypse."
In that regard, "The Walking Dead" isn't much different from "Downton Abby". DA also dismays her because she's more interested in the tide of change going on in DA's era. She wants to hear in-depth discussions by the characters about women's rights, industrialization and the wars, and greater conflict in the characteres about how the world is changing, but that's not what the show is about. That's just the setting for the characters.
I'm not demeaning setting or situation in either case. Both add interesting elements to the action, and the characters aren't in isolation from what happens. That's just isn't the major thrust.
Which brings me to another zombie story to pitch: "Zombie Abby." Too much like "Jane Austen, Zombie Hunter"?
How about "Zombies in Congress"? The story begins when a young intern discovers that our elected politicians in Washington have had their brains eaten and are technically no longer human but are under some shadowy madwoman's control (she's probably from Alaska, California or Arkansas). Discovering this diabolical plot, this intern teems up with other interns and citizens to vanquish the Congressional Zombies.
Nah. It'd never work. People would probably mistake it for another reality show.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com