Here are a few good reasons why I love The Walking Dead and what I have learnt from it.
1. It’s educational
Last year I studied Group Dynamics in my Social Psychology module. I firmly believe that TWD should be set work for this course.
Through a need to survive and belong, love and be loved, this group of survivors takes shape and forms bonds that even Pratley would be proud of and then, presumably when the studio budget is reviewed, there is a filtering process and those with evil inclinations and bad manners are booted out, left handcuffed on a roof like a zombie buffet or shot. Those that play nice, get to stay and be part of the dysfunctional A team.
The group follows the reluctant leader, a small town sheriff named Rick, through thick, thin, lots of zombie/very bad people attacks, epidemics and nervous breakdowns/seeing dead people (other than zombie dead people). Even though some members moan and groan about his abilities and choices, they remain fiercely loyal to him.
The strongest characters have moments of weakness – their brittle fragility exposed through having to confront the horrors of this new world; clawing their way through their existence, losing most, if not all, of their loved ones. While they’re cracking up, the weaklings, in amongst all this chaos and sorrow and gore, somehow find their inner strength and turn into fierce survivors, willing to do anything to protect themselves and the group.
And then Rick, who previously would have risked everything to do the right and noble thing, becomes so hardened by tragedy and his role as the protector, that he loses all compassion for outsiders, leaving some to die on the side of the road rather than risk his group’s safety.
2. Hillbillies are super heroes too
Now don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not one of the ‘Íf Daryl dies, we riot’ brigade’ – yes, there really is such a group – but let me tell you that if he did die, I would be forced to write Robert Kirkman a very strongly worded letter.
When I first took notice of Daryl Dixon, he was shouting and performing at poor old Rick for leaving his brother handcuffed on a roof and I sighed heavily and wondered why on earth we had to endure this idiot.
The second time I took notice of him – somewhere in the 2nd season – I thought “wow, this scruffy, dirty, Harley riding, arrow shooting, squirrel eating southern boy knows how to kill zombies and he’s thoughtful and loyal and has integrity and … oh my holy hat, he’s hot!
And no, Daryl is not my favourite character.
3. It has Zombies in it
They’re ugly and they’re stupid and they eat people but you learn to love them. I find myself feeling quite sorry for the hideous creatures when, for example, they are hanging helpless in a tree making sorry Zombie sounds, starving, drooling for fresh flesh or they’re hobbling down the road with their intestines dragging along the floor, getting all dirty and everything, I just want to go and restore their dignity by stuffing those disgusting bits back into the gaping cavity which they just tumbled out of.
Important note (confession): I don’t always love the zombies. For instance, if one of them is coming up behind my favourite character, I start screaming ‘Daryl! Look behind you! Oooooh my Lord. Daryl! Would somebody just kill that stupid zombie already please. Please!’ SOMEBODY!’ – and then I faint from fear.
Ok, so what does this all mean?
Just because The Walking Dead has zombies in it, it’s not (just) about zombies.
It is possible to learn compassion and have tolerance for ugly, stupid things. Go on, just give it a try.
Never judge a hillbilly by their covers. Ask them to take the covers off and then judge them – if they’re cute.
Put a hottie in a zombie movie and you’ll have millions of girl fans and you can make a fortune out of selling them cool stuff that men won’t waste money on. Ridiculous women!
If there is a zombie apocolypse remember to:
- Make friends fast.
- Look for the guy with the bow and arrow and get behind him.
- Evolve or die.
By the way, if anyone knows where I can get a Daryl Dixon cover for my Nokia Lumia 1020 please let me know ASAP!