November 26th, 2010
|07:53 pm - Walking Dead 1-6|
There is an article just gone up on the Guardian website about The Walking Dead. The verdict is very positive.
I've watched four episodes now, and I have some reservations, but that's because the quality is high. The issues you might have with it are the result of being able to watch it at a level of engagement rather than making embarrassed excuses. Andrew Lincoln does a really good job I think, and the new character Daryl seems to be a welcome addition - a working class man who isn't servile or dumb as rocks. So pretty hot in my opinion. Alas the female characters continue to be dreadful. I feel the whole thing is quite conservative. Frank Darabont directed Shawshank and The Green Mile: so that sort of soft conservative.
My thought is that all shows where groups of people are fighting inhuman monsters allow us guilt-free return to our killer roots - for example the Alien films seem to be nostalgic for the paleolithic (to me). I think the nostalgia in Walking Dead is for a Feudal society built around war: small scale hand-to-hand-combat war. Those societies are probably in all history those where the warrior class of men have the most clear cut authority over all other people - because they put themselves on the line every day to defend the group - and there was no doubt that their fighting was good and necessary. How much simpler then.
In The Walking Dead the women, like a chorus, often repeat 'Civilisation has ended', 'The world has come to an end'. But it's not a new world now, it's an old world come back. It may be Darabont thinks he is portraying the primal human world, the stripped down core. I don't think he is; I think this is just one of the ways that humans can be. There is no primal human reason why women can only mourn and never fight. In countries where there are vicious animals women will pick up weapons; they never do (so far) in this show. It's more Ancient Greek than it's Paleolithic.
So why am I going on about this aspect? I suppose because it interests me. Not just in relation to this show, but the way that genre shows seem to recreate real or imagined pasts. And you know, clearly there is meat in a show which allows you to ruminate in this way. Meat!
At least they showed some guts
I still haven't plucked up the courage to watch the first ep of this. I love zombies but I hate nightmares, and your post a while back saying you had to step away from the first ep because it was so frightening has put me off a bit!
It is genuinely one of the most scary TV shows I have ever seen. But then zombies do scare me a lot.
Great post, thank you. I watched episode 3 last night and was incredibly frustrated with the scene with all the women washing clothes by the river, gossiping about their vibrators, and then the whole thing with the abusive husband comes along and how the battered wife falls all over him as soon as the other guy stopped beating him up. I couldn't articulate why that scene frustrated me so much except that, as you said, all the female characters are just dreadful at this point, and seem to just have submitted themselves to a specific role without even questioning it. (I suspect the frustration also comes from the fact that you can see shades of it now, just in life in general, in the office etc.)
The feeling also struck me earlier in the episode where they found the lone zombie eating that deer and all the men circle around bashing it while the women sort of just clutch each other and look on. It's frustrating to see how quickly we take to that kind of gender-specific division in this kind of society, probably even more frustrating because I suspect it is how it would play out, by and large, if we got put into the same situation.
My thought is that all shows where groups of people are fighting inhuman monsters allow us guilt-free return to our killer roots
Totally agreed. And the fact that they're not doing that, just yet, is actually making me disengage because I simply can't empathise with why, say, they'd go back for Marle (Merle?) when he's so clearly a liability to the survival of the group at large. I'd argue that this kind of world is not at all suited to the morality principles we've built up in society, and that we need to adapt as soon as possible to the new way of things because god knows the old ways aren't coming back.
Yes, I have a contradictory feeling, which is both that women wouldn't really behave like that, and that it is an annoying dramatisation of a gender dynamic that you do see, as you say in the office or wherever.
I am pretty sure in countries where there are, you know, bears or something, a woman would pick up a gun and shoot the damn thing if it came in her house.