Oh man, Devin, I don’t know. I mean, I like it when the underdog comes from behind as much as the next sports fan, but the gratuitousness of the opening scene was almost too much for me. And not the flipping Lori over, but the way she ditches the group just to help shine Shane’s shaft. Episode one hit it hard over the head that we’re not supposed to like Shane, but at this point I’m wondering how the series is going to win me over toward Lori. Right now I’m hoping Rick ditches her ass and hooks up with Amy or Andrea instead.
I mean, yes, it’s the end of the world, and she assumes her husband is dead. And no one can fault someone for needing to find a way to connect with another human being in that situation. But there could be zombies in those woods! And Carl’s just hanging out back at the camp, where zombies could attack at any time! Maybe I’m just a romantic, but I’d handle it better if we got to see them connecting emotionally first, and if they didn’t need to sneak around. Because really, why do they need to sneak around? EVERYONE has got to think that Rick’s dead. They all know that Shane’s broken nose look can be appealing to certain types. No one would be upset, and I’m sure the group as a whole could help protect Carl from the fact that his mom is tangoing with a new man.
That situation would also make for better drama when Rick inevitably rejoins the group, wouldn’t it? Then everyone could make their “Oh shit!” face together, and we’d watch as they all struggle to decide who should hand him the So You’re a Cuckold handbook (I imagine it looks a lot like the Handbook for the Recently Deceased).
But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe we’ll still get a flashback that shows the origin story of Lori loves Shane.
Or maybe Lori will become a zombie and I won’t have to worry about not liking her. I would be fine with that. I just won’t like it if I have to watch her be all whiny with her hands on her hips all the time but I don’t get to hang out with Morgan and Dwayne anymore. They were awesome! What’s going on back in their small town? Are they safe in the house? And why didn’t they just stay in the police station where there were more guns and hot water?? Those are the questions I kept asking myself during the brief time when we were with the gang at the RV.
As for the scenes in Atlanta, I thought the action itself was fantastic. I love the shambling through the zombies with guts on scene in the comic, and while there’s no denying it’s similarity to the greatest scene in
>Shaun of the Dead (man, I wanted Glenn to make some moaning and groaning sounds, too), everything about that sequence still worked for me. Even the organ donor line, which was a little over the top, served to cut the tension while they cut up the body and smeared it on them.
But speaking of guts, is it really true that there are no governing bodies limiting the amount of gore and adult issues on cable channels? I always figured we never saw Don Draper and his lady friends really getting freaky because Mad Men is on AMC and they can’t play as free as HBO can. If they *can* show us boobies, I can’t imagine any reason why they wouldn’t!
Because, yes, the guts and the gore are at a level that I can’t remember seeing on any other TV show in recent memory. But the main thing that stuck out for me was that people actually said the word nigger on TV. And it was a white guy! I mean, I feel like an asshole just typing it out here instead of referring to it as the n-word. Did I mishear, though, or did that really happen? And if it did - can we really say that on TV these days? Because fucking a, we should drop a lot more f-bombs into this show if that’s the case.
Other than the shock value of actually hearing the word and not having a stereotypical cardboard cutout of a white supremacist resort to calling the black man he hated “negro,” though, no, there was nothing compelling in the Dixon and T-Dog bullshit. The social commentary in Romero’s movies worked for me when I was fourteen and totally into the idea that shopping at the mall made us all like zombies anyway. Even though we’re in a zombie apocalypse that follows most of his rules, at this point I could do without the Romero way of cramming a moral lesson down my throat. Yes, racism is bad. Yes, in times of crisis we should all just get along but if we don’t manage to get rid of the prejudices we’ve carried with us through our years in the normal world we’ll never make it in the world of the geeks… Thank you, TV; I get it. Now please get back to having Rick smash heads in with an axe.
All in all, though, I still liked the episode. Introducing the new characters, as one-dimensional as some of them may be, is yet another way the writers are clearly letting us know that we’re leaving the world of the comic behind. And they’re allowing for more people to get killed off, which is nice. This episode felt like the beginning of the second season of NBC’s version of The Office, when I started to see that they were going to go off in their own direction and decided to give it a shot after all.
But I’ll leave off for now on that note, and let me take a second to introduce a new writer to the Badass Digest, and someone who I’d like to hear chime in on some of these issues. Meredith Borders, you’ve been obsessed with the comics and with Frank Darabont for you years - how’d Guts go for you? Were you excited at having new characters in the world, or did the action in Atlanta leave you yearning for the simplicity of black and white line drawings?
Also, do you think Devin is being too hard on the book and its expository dialogue, or should I save that rant for my next post?