(Spoiler alerts for The Walking Dead)
1. Is it possible that everyone is surprised by The Walking Dead’s popularity not because it is a show about zombies or because there’s so much blood and pick-axes thwaped into foreheads, but simply because the show isn’t that good? What’s not to like? Don’t you like zombies, Clark? What’s wrong with you? Of course I like zombies. The first episode of Walking Dead was pretty cool. That scene where the Australian guy who plays a southern deputy gets trapped under a tank and is just about to blow his head off when he sees the hatch that leads up into the tank interior? That scene was intense. But then, the questions started:
2. How did the zombies get into the tank? Or, why did the soldiers leave the tank in the first place? Did they run out of gas there in the middle of the street? Why didn’t they stay inside and blast away from one of the dozen guns they had? That would’ve solved Atlanta’s zombie problem lickety-split. And once they were outside, why did they climb back up inside? And why was the guy inside not chewed up? And how long had he been sitting there waiting for some schmuck to climb into the tank so he could eat?
3. Speaking of turning into a zombie… who gets turned? They seem to eat most of their victims down to the bare bones. What is left to turn? Is it only the ones who only sort of get eaten? If so, a lot of people are just “bit” and not “eaten.” Why are their so many freakin’ zombies? And how come not everyone is eaten until they are goo? Is there an internal zombie code that stops a zombie from overeating a victim so that there will be more victims? C’mon, people! Iron this stuff out, okay?
4. Why didn’t the zombies eat the deputy when he was comatose? Why was he the only guy in the hospital that got a reprieve? Did they seem him there and think he was already dead? How did he survive and still have such great muscle tone? (note… this topic was addressed in the season finale. Apparently, the zombies, who can smell a live body from across the state, were thwarted by a roll away bed left in front of the hospital door. The soldiers at the hospital, in the meantime, were shooting live people and letting the zombies walk in the door as they were shooting and then forgetting to shoot the zombies. It seems that a few disciplined troops could have formed a perimeter and solved the problem before it even got started.)
5. Why are the people in the show so stupid? Seriously, stupid to the power of ten. In one episode, the zombies are trying to break through the plate glass storefront and the survivors just stand inside and watch them pound away. They even take time to shop! Plus, they just don’t know how to be careful or quiet. Someone gets all riled up about some perceived slight and then everyone is yelling and here come the zombies.
6. Why aren’t they more careful when they’re slicing up zombies? They are all covered in zombie blood. Isn’t it the blood that carries the disease? Does it have to be transferred by the actual bite? Why? They are panting and grunting with their efforts, so I can’t believe that a few whacks with an ax wouldn’t spatter blood randomly, perhaps into a mouth or cut. Is it just me, or are the people careless? I’d be wearing a wetsuit! I’d swipe ever available bottle of Purell and Wet/Dry Nap left in the post-civilized world.
7. Why in the world are they driving such shitty cars? Seriously, in a post apocalyptic world, I’d be driving the nicest rig. Or why are they not driving army vehicles? Get a tank, people! Or at least a big-ass armored truck. Or get a bus and go all “Gauntlet” on those zombies
Why are they driving in beat up Winnebagos and trucks held together with baling wire and duct tape? There are literally thousands of cars and trucks they could choose from. Same goes for houses. Get yourself a brick building that is easily defended. It’s not hard to get plywood onto a window. But no! They set up tents on top of a hill and string tin cans along the trees as alarms. Tents!
8. And why are they always short on gas? People! It’s the end of the world! There’s no need to worry about whether or not you’ll get caught siphoning! You pretty much ARE Exxon. The world is your gas station. Get yourself a length of hose and fill up at every stalled car.
9. And why the shortage of guns? In several scenes, the streets are lined with the bodies of dead soldiers and cops! Each one of those dead bodies comes with a gun. I’d have twenty guns. When one ran out of bullets, toss it away, pick a new one up around the block. The zombies don’t care about guns! Go to a gun shop! Live there! Most of them have gates and locks anyway. Better yet, find a gun shop that shares a common wall with a supermarket!
10. Plus—and this goes for every zombie movie, really—how in the world do zombies overrun the military? I can see them swarming a youth center or library and having a grand old feast, but how in the world do they decimate the guys flying the Cobra attack helicopters? How do they get close enough to the sharpshooters and the hundreds of thousands of troops? Plus, this is America, right? Isn’t every other house an arsenal? Or is this supposed to be some NRA fantasy that happens after the government has pried all the guns from the cold dead hands of would-be zombie killers? Plus, aren’t aircraft carriers that can pretty much survive anything? Where are they? Why don’t the survivors go toward navy bases?
11. And perhaps the reason I’m posting this on my writing blog is because what irks me the most about this show is the writing. Last night’s episode, for instance, took place in the survivor’s camp and it was simply slow as death. Each person had some stupid drama. The only guy in the whole camp who makes any sense is the redneck swinging the pick-axe into heads. The Australian/Southern deputy is all wound up about protecting his family and his best friend almost shoots him because… well, because I don’t know why he does! It’s nuts! Plus, one guy gets bit and even though he’s only been a minor player in the show’s first five episodes, everyone has to say goodbye and tell him how awesome he was and it was total boredom while he tried to make me believe that his body was undergoing some massive zombie-fever-shift by scrunching up his face and looking like he had bad gas. The blond woman caresses her dead sister’s hair for the whole show until the sister (surprise) wakes up as a zombie and then the sister shoots her in the head. Another family leaves the group and everyone’s weeping. I know they’ve been through trauma…but it doesn’t make their development any stronger. Ugh. It all just seems terribly sloppy. Maybe no one expected it to take off? Maybe since they’ve renewed it for a full season, the writing will have a bit more coherence? This, for example: back in Atlanta, the group runs into another group of survivors that seem to be doing okay. It’s tough, but they are getting along despite the awfulness of the situation (it was one of the shows better moments, but still predicated on a silly conflict—the two groups clash over a bag of guns. It’s Atlanta people! Just go to Outcast’s house! They’d have guns! Right?). If those people can make it work in Atlanta, why can’t this group find a similar place to hold up and wait out help? Or why don’t they go back to that group? Sloppy!
12. Okay, one last thought. After two episodes, the deputy finds his wife and son. The story arc is absolutely nil. Now all they can do is look at each other and talk about their feelings. “I got me a debt to pay.” “You left your family.” “This is who I am.” “I sure hope he don’t find out about my affair in the zombie apocalypse.” Then once he’s back, he says, “You don’t know what I had to go through to find my family.” And I’m thinking, It took like two days! Oh, the agony! Sure, he had to fight his way through a wall of zombies, but it’s not like he’s Ulysses on his way back from the Trojan war. He had maybe three “tests” to overcome. Then, when their van is stolen in Atlanta, he and his cronies RUN back to the camp. Seriously, it looks like twenty miles, but they make it by nightfall, just in time for the zombie shoot. Why didn’t they just take another freaking car? There’s still one episode left this season, but I don’t know if I can bring myself to watch it. True Blood is Gothic Soap Opera too, but it’s well-written trash. Still, if the writers can get a hold of this world, The Walking Dead has a great deal of possibility. Right now, however, it just seems like it’s merely walking wounded.