Ethics Dunces: “The Walking Dead”

Fool me once, shame on you...

Fool me once, shame on you…

The producers and writers of  AMC’s “The Walking Dead” must be all puffed up with pride, squeezing three weeks of artificially-goosed ratings by faking the death of a major character and then bringing him back safe and sound tonight as blithely as they used to do with Pearl White in the old “Perils of Pauline” serials after the previous episode ended with a buzz-saw  inches from bisecting her, or with a speeding locamotive yards away with Pearl lashed to the tracks. (No, damn you, I’m not THAT old!)

Well, they can be proud without me. I don’t appreciated any show treating me like a fool, and that’s exactly what “The Walking Dead” did with this cheapest of cheap stunts. This is drama, not “Die Hard,” not “Days of Our Lives,” and not Gilbert and Sullivan. Silly resolutions of crises are expected in those and other genres, and an audience is forewarned and consents to the absurdities to come; it’s part of the fun. “The Walking Dead,” in contrast, has presented itself as an uncompromising, raw, nihilistic survivalist study of a hopeless and deadly world where death is lurking everywhere, and even heroes (who are barely heroes anyway) aren’t safe. It is the constant threat of a horrible death that give the show its legitimacy and its characters weight.

Take that away, and the the show is pointless gore, just a special effects exhibition with a repetitious plot attached. I know most people don’t demand integrity from their elected leaders or their entertainment, but I do. The producers and writers of “The Walking Dead” think lying is cute and profitable. I supposed its ovine fans will prove them right.

I say its unethical, and I say to hell with them.

Update: Actor Steven Yuen, who plays the now miraculously alive character, said after the show aired:

“I think it proves that this world still can take that story of the good guy winning sometimes. I really like the fact that it’s not this bent of always seeking out something miserable happening on television or something terrible and sulking on that and rather just really accepting the fact that sometimes good guys survive.”

Baloney. What this proves is that this world, which knows that good guys die all the time, can be gulled into caring about the demise of a fictional character as if that character is worth caring about, when it is is in fact just a tool of commerce and emotional manipulation by a creative force that has no interest in any artistic or philosphicaltruths, only a cynical commercial one.


28 thoughts on “Ethics Dunces: “The Walking Dead”

    • Since the Family Guy routinely ends episodes with irreversible conditions existing that it completely ignores in following installments, and has phony flashbacks and fantasy scenes that are impossible and just for the sake of a gag, and because Brian is a talking dog, and because in integrity terms, The Family Guy makes The Simpsons look like 60 Minutes, it didn’t trouble me at all.

  1. What rationalization would it be to say “anyone who thought Glen was actully dead these past three weeks and this wasn’t just a suspense gag deserves to be annoyed by him being alive”?

    Is that the rapist’s defense?

      • I do however feel vindicated, though not a direct prediction, I did note: why did those morons allow a TALL building right on the OUTSIDE of the perimeter stay standing?

        Either route the wall around it and include it or demolish the structure.

  2. ““The Walking Dead,” in contrast, has presented itself as an uncompromising, raw, nihilistic survivalist study of a hopeless and deadly world where death is lurking everywhere,”

    They may present it that way but anyone who thinks it is that is a fool. Its a soap opera. That’s all its ever been. And soap operas pull this crap all the time.

      • You do not disagree with me? Someone needs to check your garden for a pod.

        I don’t like the casting of all these Brits either and think the argument that Americans are not as well trained is bullshit. The casting agents just are not calling the right actors in.

        Between the two Brits Andrew Lincoln and Lennie James in the show Lincoln has a terrible American accent and bag of tricks so shallow and limited that I can predict exactly what he is going to do both vocally and physically in every scene.

        Lennie James is such an amazing actor that I would cast him in anything. Plus he has lived in this country a long time.

        I don’t count Lauren Cohan as one as she was born here and lived in the states until she was 13.

        • Let’s be clear about their casting calls… When WD was first a dream it was risky venture. With not a lot of promised payoff, it’s harder to get more expensive actors.

          Once however the show took off, it’s a bit more difficult.

          Additional mitigation, along the lines of the style of this show: I don’t think they wanted mainstream actors anyway.

          • The majority of the actors in the first season are very experienced and not cheap actors. Most of them also have a connection to the original show runner Frank Darabont who was fired after the first season when he objected to having his budget cut in half while the number of episodes doubled.

  3. One look at Glenn’s open wide mouthed screaming was ALL the proof you needed than it wasn’t the consumption of his body feeding the insatiable greedy mouthpits, not a speck of red on his tongue, teeth, throat, inner cheek, etc. Handy dandy dumpster to crawl beneath, too shallow for too many icks to crawl in &
    get themselves good & stuck, stench keeps all else at bay.

    HAD THEY decided to use these lackluster scenes to SERVE as Glenn’s death out, AFTER all the poster stabbing back & forth rants & RATINGS estimates on Glenn’s return episode, for grossly higher advertising opportunities, it would’ve tarnished the gild the fans have kept polished & gleaming in respectful admiration for some really rousing, fully satisfying writing, acting, directing.
    G(Glenn) L(Loves) E(Everyone) N(Needing) N(Nurturing). It’s what he does, aids growth in others to surpass obstacles & SURVIVE.

  4. If smearing zombie guts all over you is enough to camouflage yourself to walk AMONG the zombies, which according to the season mid-finale, it is, then I think about 50-75 people who have at some point been part of Rick’s group would have LOVED to know that before their particular demises.

    By the way, the zombie-guts-camo trick has been known since about season 1 episode 2…

    Also: I think if you wanted to summarize ALL of Rick’s plans since the beginning into one scene, it would be the scene where Rick lays the soon-to-be-zombified mayor down NEXT TO HIS INFANT and leaves the room literally 10 seconds after Rick walked in the room and thought the Mayor had turned and was eating his infant…

    • You are nicely confirming my decisions to check out. I did get shown the Mayor’s demise, which was very Alamo-esque, she even managed to imitate Billy Bob Thornton’s version of Davy going down surrounded by Mexicans after being captured.

      • Oh that Mayor. In her younger days, she was a Maggie type character in a miniseries that also gripped the nation’s attention in the 1970s. I wonder if she’s compared her (freedom) fighting for survival starring role 40+ years ago in the Holocaust slaughtering of people to her present fight for survival role. Nazis & zombies, the worst enemies to face & overcome.

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