THE WALKING DEAD: SOMEBODY NEEDS TO PUT A LARGE CALIBER BULLET IN ITS SKULL

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The mid-season break of TWD has come and gone and 13 episodes of poorly thought out drivel and melodrama worthy of Desperate Housewives or a soap opera has rightly cost Frank Darabont his job. The absolutely heartbreaking thing about TWD is that there are glimpses and glimmers of a good show in among all the crap on screen. Almost every episode has one decent, good or interesting thing happen in it. Unfortunately the few good things are surrounded by 20 or 30 awful ideas, bad story choices, horrible writing or illogical and dumb antics by our less than plucky or interesting, for the most part, band of survivors. TWD has much in common with the ultra crappy NBC superhero suckfest Heroes first season. They give you just enough decent stuff in certain episodes to keep a viewer interested or a cliffhanger that makes you think hey they finally got it! Then the next episode, it kicks you square in the nuts with dumbness and gives you a Nelson Muntz HA HA.

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The purpose of this post is me taking our weekly watching/goofing (meaning work) on the TWD and shit all over what could have been a great show. There is so much wrong with it that I’m just going to hit what I think are the highlights of dumbness that get squirted out on screen week in and week out. There will be spoilers galore so if you were planning to watch TWD or for that matter, read the comic strip, get out of here now. You have been properly warned so no crying about spoilers you mamma boys.

THE WRITING/PLOTTING

The writing on the TWD is generally awful and the plotting even worse and all that falls on the shoulders of Frank Darabont. He decided to take an avant-garde approach to writing the first season instead of the classic way TV programs are written. This approach cost the first season writing staff their jobs and put Darabont’s position as the big cheese on the clock. I think the problem here is that Darabont can’t divorce himself from being a movie director. TV with its short turnaround demands a different approach than movies. Maureen Ryan at AOL TV summed it perfectly:

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about film veterans like Darabont is that they apparently believe characters, structures and formats that work in the movies will work on TV. Sometimes they do, but more often, the attention paid to individual episodes or characters is inconsistent or lacking in some fundamental way. It’s hard to balance overall arcs, episodic stories and character journeys, especially if the show is an ensemble piece, but that’s why the people who are good at doing all those things are usually paid via large truckloads of money. It’s really difficult to manage all the competing demands of episodic television — to give individual hours payoffs while building to an overall destination in which the emotional and even physical stakes for the characters are credible and high — and those are not skills you generally hone by writing and directing feature films, which require two or three hours of sustained tension and progression, not 12 or 13.

tumblr_lvmz8cNXR71r5d224o1_500My hope is that veteran show runner Glen Mazzara, who is replacing Darabont, will bring in the proper focus and ruthlessness a TV shows needs to succeed. We will see in February when episodes he oversees start to air. If they can just stop the endless discussions that never resolve themselves in any meaningful way and are purely melodramatic, that will improve the show dramatically.

Before I get raked over the coals, I know the show is about people in an extreme situation and how they respond to it and not the zombie kill of the week (although they do that also). However competent writing isn’t based on repetition and repackaging the same discussion ad nauseam at some point resolution needs to occur to keep the forward dynamic of the story. 13 episodes of essentially the same discussion between Lori and Rick or Lori and Shane is just plain bad. Also if your discussions are similar to ones that can be found on Days of Our Lives or any other day or night soap you don’t get a pass just because occasionally you kill a zombie. The Sopranos was able to craft an interesting series that was essentially about a son in therapy trying to resolve his feelings towards his mother, the Mob angle just served to move the the story forward. Embrace the zombie as a story device and give TWD a sense of dread and danger which it lacks completely at the moment. The one good thing I’ll say about Romero’s awful unwatchable movies (TWD you should not use that hack as any sort of guide, his movies outside of NOTLD are garbage)  feel like there is danger and dread everywhere and nobody is safe. So far The Walking Dead feels more like a very inconvenient camping/road trip than the end of the world.

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Here’s how the bad writing affects the plot. Although to be fair, AMC slashing the budget isn’t helping either. I’m mostly going to use examples from this season because being stuck on Hershel’s farm for six of the seven episodes stalled what little momentum the show had built. Yes I know that Hershel’s farm is an important story arc of the second year of the funny book. As a wit on AICN pointed out, they’ve spent longer on the farm on TV than in the comic strip and they got rid of the gated community sub plot (sort of important) and the Tyrese character (and we got Step ‘n Fetchit T DAWG, really writers?) in order to speed up the story. Yeah, whatever. Anyways I’m just going to bullet point the trouble with the farm because if I didn’t this would be as long as War & Peace. The bullet points aren’t in any order except how they occur to me.

  • The Magical Healing of Hershel’s Farm: Carl gets shot with a high power rifle round. Then gets cut on by an old veterinarian with shaky hands in an unsterile bed room and by my reckoning, at most 4 days later he’s up and around with no problems? FUCK YOU WRITERS YOU HACKS. Maybe I am oversensitive to this because I’ve been shot before but FUCK YOU WRITERS, you douche bags. It’s lame trying to force the group to leave the farm because Carl healed from a major wound, surgery and infection OVERNIGHT. Then there is Daryl. He took what looks to be about a 60 ft fall off a rearing horse while riding a ridge line. His side was pierced by one of his crossbow bolts and gets a concussion and hallucinates seeing Merle. Then he climbs back up the ridge about half way and falls down again with the bolt sticking out (and not breaking because thescene demanded that he pull it out of the wound to kill a zombie) knocking himself out only to wake up to a Zombie trying to eat his boot clad foot? WTF? Any other zombie attack they go right for exposed flesh but an unconscious main character the zombie is trying to eat a boot? FUCK YOU HACKS. Also Daryl heals up intwo days with no infection and hardly any indication of injury?
  • Shane shooting Otis. I don’t have a problem with it because it made sense and I was thinking the same thing when Shane did it but I do have a problem with how it came about. Why didn’t they just bring more flares, like what they used to get  into the FEMA trailer? Or for that matter, weren’t there ambulances they walked past? Why not just get what you need from those instead of crossing an open space filled with zombies? Why do characters have to do something dumb to attract attention from zombies? It’s stupid shit like that brings down the show to the level of a bad episode of I Love Lucy. Oh and when the Zs  first chase them, they are super quick and get right on their asses as fatty and Shane get into the high school. But after they manage to escape the high school with Shane limping badly on a messed up ankle, the Zs become slow enough to not close on a severely limping Shane and fat tired Otis? The Zs magically became slow enough for Shane to shoot Otis in the knee, wrestle the bag of med supplies out of his grip and get away and no Zs follow him.    
  • Staying on Otis, we are supposed to believe one morbidly fat dude could wrangle all the Zs into the barn alone when it took 2 red shirt teenagers, Hershel, and a younger-than-Otis-much-more-in-shape Rick to do it and they almost screwed the Pooch? FUCK YOU WRITERS.

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

SPOILER MAJOR SPOILER ALERT.

An especially BIG fuck you for this one. At no point did Otis think to tell Herschel “hey I stuck a 12 year old girl zombie into the barn the other day” YOU KNOW like the one these new people are LOOKING FOR. So we are to believe that Herschel, who thinks all zombies are just “sick” and a cure is right around the corner and is trying to keep as many as possible safe, rules the farm with a Stalin like hand but Otis acts completely independent of him and never says a word about  putting a girl zombie child in the barn? FUCK YOU WRITERS. Having contrived situations arise due to characters not saying a few words that would make the situation clear is one of the most hackneyed writing choices you can make.

END MAJOR SPOILER

tumblr_lttv92l9qp1r5d224o1_500The Zombie herd with +14 power of invisibility: This scene in the first episode of season 2 encapsulates perfectly what I am talking about with how poorly executed TWD is. The scene itself was semi-well handled with a decent amount of tension (until CSI Zombie starts checking out the RV) but the set up is mind boggling stupid and it launched the “Search For Sophia” arc that went on waaaaaaaay to long. Here’s the problem as I see it. The group just came from the same direction as the magically appearing herd with Daryl leading the way on a LOUD Triumph (loud pipes saves lives…except in a zombie apocalypse). OK, fine, no big deal even though they always whine about loud firearms attracting Zombies but OK whatever. Then they drive INTO a big traffic snarl they could easily have crossed the road to bypass but OK I’ll let that go. The RV breaks down right then. OK, no problem, you have to let stupid things go to move the story forward, I get that. Then they set up a watch with one guy using binos and another a scoped rifle looking in the same direction they just came from and nobody sees or hears a herd of 100+ Zs COMING FROM THE SAME DIRECTION THEY JUST DROVE FROM until the herd is right on top of them? Screw that, you just used up all your suspension of disbelief right there.

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MAJOR SPOILER WARNING IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO WATCH SEASON 2. THIS SPOILER IS A BIGGIE AND IMPORTANT SO IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW SKIP THIS PART EVEN THOUGH YOU WILL MISS OUT ON AWESOMENESS OF THE WRITING THOUGH THE SPOILER IS PRETTY DAMN EASY TO FIGURE OUT

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

3.

2.

1.

GET LOST NOW THIS IS A BIG SPOILER SO NO WHINING

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

3.

2.

1.

How they resolved the search for Sophia was hugely anticlimactic and stupid. I understand that the entire point of it was for Rick to take out zombie Sophia so he could reclaim his place as “leader” which Shane has rightly been usurping and to force Herschel to confront the truth about Zs, that they’re dead not “sick.” Unfortunately the entire scene lacked any kind of real “gut punch” and here’s why. First, in the cold open of the very first episode of season one, Rick rekilled an even younger zombie girl than Sophia. That previous killing robbed the current scene of any real shock value. Secondly, other characters have killed relatives. Morgan rigged an ambush to draw out his zombified wife then drilled her. Andrea capped her sister. Hell, the group voluntarily left that guy by the side of the road to turn so maybe he will reunite with his zombie family. Huh? How would that work? Lastly, why should we even care about Sophia? The search for her was badly executed and stopped what little momentum the TWD had. More importantly, the character had 2 lines in 13 episodes, she just stood around scenes looking scared. There were zero reasons to be invested in her as a character. She served only as a bad plot point and for Rick to show “leadership” which he hasn’t done previously yet somehow he’s the boss.

I feel sorry for anybody who thought that entire arc was well handled. It wasn’t,  it was complete shit on a stick and horribly executed. There wasn’t any tension about the resolution, Sophia had to be dead. By my calculations she was on her own for about 8-9 days in an area that had zombies wandering around. I could maybe see her surviving if she was a ranch or farm kid and that’s a very BIG maybe but some 21st century 12 year old suburban girl, nope, can’t nor will I buy that one.

END MAJOR SPOILERS HERE

There is a whole bunch of other shit I was going to ridicule but I can’t be bothered since this thing has gotten way out of hand. Instead I am just going to rail on a few things that bug me on personal level.

FIREARMS: I am serious about this. Fire the armorer on your show. He stinks and is obviously just sucking up a pay check. A competent armorer would never let you get away with the crappy firearm work exhibited on TWD, like from Shane. The character constantly and LOUDLY tells us he is a “CERTIFIED FIREARM INSTRUCTOR” yet he doesn’t handle a handgun correctly most of the time?

That fucktarded scene with Andrea who has never handled a rifle takes an unzeroed long gun with the scope blown out from the sun and pulls off an about a 150 to 200 meter down angled head shot on Daryl that almost kills him? And that’s after she was repeatedly told NOT to use the rifle (they attract zombies ya’ know) but she does it anyway? Further, there were three members of her group going to take care of what they thought was a single walker and she nonchalantly touches off a round while they are in the field of fire?  

Then there is Andrea instantly turning into a Grammaton Cleric after Shane yells at her? I know in the funny strips she’s suppose to be a ‘natural’ shot but she became good after several training sessions andnot one like on the show and special side session with Shane that was so stupid it can’t even be described. This also begs the question, where are they getting all the ammo? They burn through a lot and are never seen plundering houses or gun shops like in the comic strip nor is there any evidence they are reloading.

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Sound people FYI, the handgun Rick uses is a Colt Python .357 revolver. Did you catch the last word there, R-E-V-O-L-V-E-R. That style handgun doesn’t eject spent rounds thus it’s entirely retarded for you to use the sound of a round ejecting and hitting the ground. In a similar vein, in a few scenes you have Shane charging a Glock 19 by pulling the slide to the rear. OK, good enough, that’s how it works. However you idjits put the sound of a revolver hammer being cocked over it. I am sure you morons aren’t aware of this but a Glock is a semi-auto that doesn’t even have a hammer. It’s a striker fired pistol but you asshats use the sound of a revolver hammer being cocked. (For integrity sake, I didn’t notice this one myself. It was pointed out in several places around the internets. I went back to the scene I had access to and that’s when I heard it)

Also, whoever is loading your dummy rounds blows at it they are way to recognizable as fakes.

The Ft. Benning McGuffin: This is aggravatingly stupid on every level. Let me ask this, writers can I have your address? I need to send you humps a map because you seem to to think that the distance from Atlanta to Ft. Benning is like hundreds of  miles. It’s not. It’s about 110 miles from Atlanta to Benning. a flat straight shot I’ve done it done it a lot. The bigger question though is why would you even go there? What do you think you will find weapons for the taking? In the first episode of season 1 in Atlanta (and episode 6 at the CDC), you had weapons like the M2, M240 and M249 on the streets (and ammo for them which again begs the question why hasn’t anybody, like for instance the Vatos in the first season, grabbed them? What brown can’t think of way to draw off the Z’s? Only white and yellow are smart enough do that? Fuck me this show is racist on top of being bad and stupid. Shouldn’t be surprised about that racism they have do have a Step ‘n Fetchit character named T DAWG.) Where do you think they came from? Not the National Guard or Reserves, they probably didn’t show up. That means it came from the armor, artillery and Infantry units at Benning whose equipment is littering the streets of Hotlanta.

On a side note, do you incompetent fucks even watch your own show? In the second to last episode of season 2 you had a flashback scene of Shane and Lori watching Atlanta getting napalmed. One of the areas of the city getting lit up was the same place Rick and the horse got attacked by zombies but there was ZERO FIRE DAMAGE. I know it was way back in the first season but come on dudes at least try to make a nod to continuity. The badly placed CGI left your cheese in the wind on that one.

Again why would you go to Benning? Do you think the base has a large stone wall with soldiers manning it? There isn’t. (Don’t believe me, google image it.) Ft Benning is an “open post”, there are no walls and not many fences. The few fences on post are around like motor pools, the power plant and the 3rd Ranger battalion area (which I maintain is to keep Rangers away from the decent folk. Doesn’t work.) so the place will be overrun with Zombies like anywhere else. But hey, OK I can let that go. What do you think going to Benning will get you, weapons? I already pointed out there were man portable military weapons (not the M2. though it would be perfect to help fortify a fixed position like say a farm) for the taking on the streets of Atlanta and outside of the CDC. So anyway, how would you get at the weapons? I’m sure there are some out at Benning but the risk rewards numbers aren’t favorable. It occurs to me though that you could pick up weapons lying about without having to try and get past the thousands of zombies on Ft. Benning. Further, you have to figure Benning got over run fast like anywhere else since most of their maneuver elements got wiped out on the streets of Atlanta.  

Aw fuck it, this is much too long as it is, the show is bad right now. Glen Mazzara you’re our only hope since Darabont cluster fucked this mess from the jump.

Xiphos

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41 responses to “THE WALKING DEAD: SOMEBODY NEEDS TO PUT A LARGE CALIBER BULLET IN ITS SKULL”

  1. Continentalop says :

    I’ve never even watched an episode of Walking Dead (but if they get to the Hunter Prey story line I might tune in), but I had to read this opinion piece just because you had a zombie Amy Winehouse at the beginning.

    You know she is a fast zombie because of all that coke.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      Conti at the glacial pace of TWD the Hunter Prey story line would happen somewhere around the turn of the next century.

      They need to chuck everybody but Shane and Daryl and start this thing over, its that bad.

      • koutchboom says :

        What was the Hunter Prey story?

      • Continentalop says :

        I might have gotten the name wrong. SPOILERS

        SPOILERS

        The one where they meet a group of cannibals.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        It was easy to figure out which story line you meant Conti.

      • koutchboom says :

        Oh it’s not the actual name of the story line. I was like, I’ve read all of series and I don’t recall any names beyond the covers of the trades, that maybe they had names in the actual comics.

        That’s like in trade 10 or 11, the last one I jest read don’t remember which so yeah it would take them forever to get there. I actually thought the story of the priest was the more interesting aspect to that story.

        Is Hunter Prey some specific reference to a famous cannibal thing?

  2. Droid says :

    Nice work, Xi. I didn’t follow most of what you were referring to because I’ve only seen the first series and it was so lifeless (buddum-ching!) that I dumped the show. Really boring shit. I didn’t pick up on things like the sounds of gunshots and whatnot, but I wouldn’t really recognise the difference anyway. All I can say is that the one episode I kinda enjoyed was the one with Rooker. He actually brought some energy to the show in his brief appearance. Otherwise it’s a dull borefest filled with unlikeable characters punctuated by uninteresting zombie related shenanigans. And the end to season one sucked balls.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      Daryl is Rooker’s characters brother and one of the only interesting characters on the show. Daryl is almost the only one that has shown any growth as a character. The Chuck Norris picture above with the guy that has a crossbow slung over his shoulder that’s Daryl.

      If the show wasn’t so boring amd badly made I probably wouldn’t noticed/cared about most of the things I pointed out. Unfortunately TWD is so bad I started to notice everything wrong with it no matter how small or inconsequential.

  3. Jarv says :

    Christ, this is still going? I watched about 3 episodes then wrote it off as being like Heroes.

    Nice review, Xi, I shall follow your sage advice and continue to ignore it.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      if you have a room full of people mostly making fun of it the show is actually entertaining, though not in the way the creators intended.

      • koutchboom says :

        Unlike “The Talking Dead” the half hour dick suck show that comes on after every new episode, that has guest like Patton Oswald and comics like him coming on and overly praising the show…which is odd coming from Patton because he’ll usually call a show shitty if it’s bad, but I wonder if the inner comic dork won’t allow him or he got paid to come on. Also it’s hosted by the worst/unfunniest tv personality ever, that Web Soup guy, jesus how the fuck is he allowed on TV? Make fun of Ryan Seacrest but that dude gets shit done and can be funny from time to time, that one fuck dear god he’s fucking awful in every way.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        I never bothered with the Talking Dead, the concept just seemed so silly.

  4. Just Pillow Talk says :

    Eh, I watched most of two episodes and bailed. I wanted all the characters to get chomped by zombies.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      there are only two characters worth a shit in this mess Pillow, Daryl and Shane, and Shane only about half the time.

      One of the other main problems i skipped writing about is that the main character Rick is played by an Englishmen and he falls prey to same problem most English and Australian actors have, those not named Hugh Laurie or Hugh Jackman, when shucking their accents they become black holes of charisma. So I guess my point here is you have to be named Hugh to be interesting.

      • koutchboom says :

        Ahhh he is English. He does have a very American name though.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        His name isn’t Juan Rodriquez, its Andrew Lincoln. His accent is better then Shane’s who apparently bought his on line from a Yankee store.

      • koutchboom says :

        What’s also awful about him, the fucking police uniform. While I think I just got past it in the book because of the black and white and it didn’t stand out as much…but in the show it’s fucking lame. Also how it looks freshly pressed all the time, like he just got out of inspection.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Yeah they need to let him wearing that uniform go. I understand why Kirkman does it in the funny book and why they continue it on the show but it is fairly ridiculous. At least they washed it a couple of times.

      • Jarv says :

        Gary Oldman? Tim Roth?

        Actually in all honesty any nationality doing accents butchers the performance as a rule.

        Laurie is brilliant though.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        yeah those guys are good also but they didn’t work for the joke so out they went.

  5. kloipy says :

    Xi- we talked about this a bit on facebook not too long ago, but I agree with everything you say without having seen the 2nd season

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      they need to shut this thing down and start over. keep Shane and Daryl and punt everybody else. Well the oriental kid can stay he’s alright

      • Kloipy says :

        thinking back to it the only episode I really enjoyed was the first episode. I don’t read comics but I would pick up Walking Dead as I hear it’s great. But the show just doesn’t do it for me. as weird as it is, I would much rather have a zombie film that was almost silent, focusing on one character just trying to surive the elements and the zombies.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        the early run of the comic is good up through the “Governor” storyline. I recently finished the newest trade paperback and have come to the conclusion that the series has lapped itself and Kirkman is just redoing earlier story lines.

        That’s not to say that the later run doesn’t have some good parts but overall I think Kirkman shot his load.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah it’s sorting becoming the same shit. The group gets somewhere new….Shane doesn’t want to lead. Something forces him to lead and he realizes he’s the leader takes control this is usually followed by a supporting character telling him that he is their leader, things are fine for a minute then it turns to shit and they have to leave. Just differs from situation to situation that they run into.

  6. koutchboom says :

    This show mainly blows because of the acting. The leads aren’t good. That Aussie fuck is pretty terrible and only has one type of acting. Also the Prison Break girl is pretty awful.

    I mean it’s a pretty bad show when the only character you really care about/like is one that wasn’t even in the comic. The boondock Saints/Blade 2 fuck. Just because he seems to be the only character whose not always bitching and doesn’t have his head up his ass all the time. I still haven’t seen the last three episodes of this season. The well zombie episode was such a worthless chore of an episode to get through.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      Daryl is the only character to show any sort of growth and the just about the only consistently capable character on the show.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah it’s funny how they got rid of Tyreese, and have made T-Dog the token black guy and have made him a very very stupid and worthless character when Tyreese was one of the best in the comics.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        yep Tyrese had a good story line and was capable. T Dawg is just offensive and a token.

  7. Col. Tigh-Fighter says :

    Xi, I cannot argue with your reasoning here.

    Perhaps I am like an abused spouse/ TWD is poor, but he loves me!

    I guess I was just happy there was finally some zombie deaths and a conclusion to the Where The Fuck Is Sophia storyline.

    I have hopes, though! He loves meeeeeeeee!

    The zombie in the well, and how they went about solving it was so fucking stupid, and a real low point for me.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      I understand Tigh I have the same spousal abuse issue with Romero.

      Zombie in the well was pretty dumb, why didn’t they just close the well off and forget about it. Instead they had to risk Glen’s life? didn’t make much sense.

  8. ThereWolf says :

    Sadly, I have no idea what all this shouting is about. I am aware of this ‘Walking Dead’ you speak of, but no more than spoken of. Though I am intrigued by the zombie concept, I’ve got a bit bored by them recently.

    I’m after more sort of not quite dead but really really angry creatures.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      Wolf what you want are supporters of Representative Ron Paul who is running to become President of the USA, they are dead from the neck up and really angry.

  9. tombando says :

    Saw all of 10 mins of this. Zzzzzzzzz. Never got into zombies. No interest in show.

  10. tombando says :

    Am watching amc marathon, just saw that incredibly stoopid zombie in the well ep. Holy shit. Search for zombie sofia goes on wayyy too long. Very slowwww. I do like daryl, short round and green mile dude w the rv. Xiphos yer dead on here by and large.

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