The Walking Dead
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
This column has
on the “mainstreaming” of zombie fiction. With its graphic depictions
cannibalism and gore, the genre certainly is not every viewer’s cup of tea. Yet
where once such viewers simply had to avoid a couple movies playing at the
multiplex, today they are being forced to pay for explicit depictions of blood,
rotting flesh, and dangling viscera. For that reason – and because these
depictions are becoming increasingly graphic – the Sunday, November 7th
episode of AMC’s new program The Walking Dead (10:00 p.m. ET) is the
Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.
The basic precepts of zombie fiction are rigorously adhered to. In the wake of
some unspecified apocalypse, a tiny group of survivors must exist by scavenging
supplies while surrounded by millions of flesh-eating corpses. The cast of
characters in last week’s drama is also right out of Central Casting: a heroic
sheriff who is trying to find his wife and child; a tough-on-the-outside,
scared-on-the-inside woman; a teenaged computer geek; a woman with technical
knowledge; an easygoing African-American man, and, naturally, a bigoted white
redneck who hates blacks.. These characters endlessly rehash the “mixed group of
people thrown together by circumstance and forced to become allies” scenario
which was already a cliché of such movies decades ago.
Yet it is not the bland lack of creativity in the scripting that makes The
Walking Dead objectionable – it is the over-the-top gore. After a recap of
the previous episode (which shows a legless torso with exposed ribcage and
intestines dragging itself across the ground), and an opening scene of the
sheriff’s wife (ignorant of his continued existence after their separation
during the disaster) having explicit sex with her husband’s best friend. Because
what wife wouldn’t mourn her husband’s death by having sex with his best
Meanwhile, back in the city, viewers get to hear the white trash redneck beat
the black man senseless while making frequent use of the n-word and other
epithets such as “sugar t*ts” and “rug muncher,” and other characters flinging
around words like “dumba**” and “up s*** creek.” All this pleasantness
culminates in the sheriff’s plan: to get past the zombies, the humans must smell
like zombies. Taking a fire axe, he dismembers a corpse in excruciatingly
graphic closeup…then smears the blood and body matter from the corpse onto
himself and the geeky teen, draping an intestine over his shoulders and putting
severed hands and feet on a string, then hanging them around his neck.
And, making doubly certain to exercise proper responsibility, AMC has rated this
program TV-14 LSV, to be certain that teens are able to watch this feast of
profanity, sex, and hideously graphic gore.
As noted, movies have been employing such gore for years; but movies are shown
in theaters or must be rented for home viewing. AMC, by contrast, comes bundled
onto a cable “basic tier” --, thus forcing every home in America subscribes to
cable or satellite TV to pay for it.
Some people don’t care about sports. Some watch virtually nothing but sports.
Some people have no children and couldn’t care less about Hannah Montana, while
in other homes the Disney Channel is on almost constantly. And similarly, some
viewers enjoy graphic horror. But many do not. Why should ANYBODY be forced to
pay for entertainment they do not enjoy? Only when Cable Choice is a fact will
the entertainment industry truly be responsive to the wishes of its customers.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
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