One of the most popular shows on television is The Walking Dead. If you haven’t heard of it – you know the joke, insert here – you’ve been living under a rock. Based on the graphic novel by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead is a journey into a life as it could be should the zombie apocalypse happen. Well, couldn’t it, really?
Why do we love our monsters so? We have seen the re-emergence of the vampire and the wizard, finding ourselves enthralled with the zombie. What is it about the end of the world that has our imaginations running, our hearts pounding cheering for more? Is it the idea that a wild brand of justice works, that the bad guys are punished and the good guys win, that there is a fine line between the two? Or maybe we all expect that Stephen King was right when he wrote The Stand and a super virus is on its way.
It’s simpler to solve the world’s problems in the vacuum of television, specifically on a show based in fantasy and horror, rather than one seeped in reality. A world so shocking, that if we can truly suspend our disbelief, we can imagine the possibilities and resolve all the evils and dare I say, be led by hope.
Quickly, the world of a post apocalyptic zombie virus, which destroyed most of the world, we, my kids and my husband and I, sat for the first time and watched The Walking Dead. My daughter and I started watching over spring break a spur of the moment we needed something do decision. It just so happened to be the week of The Walking Dead marathon, conveniently allowing us to catch up on all three seasons. Staying up till three am during one of the nightly marathon’s might not have been the most wise decision, it was however, spring break, so that made it okay. My daughter became hooked; I soon followed, growing to care for the characters and their struggle in our world that no longer existed.
We watched most of three seasons in five days, reaching its fevered pitched on our last day of break. After racing to finish projects and homework we found ourselves in ridiculous glee, the last seven episodes before the season finale. I’m not kidding; this was family bonding at its finest. We sat anxiously waiting for Rick to “get” the governor and save the prison. We sat ill after another character lost their life, we watched as the old world fell farther and farther into the past as characters adapted and survived in the new world. We watched with rapt attention, shocked and amused for the pure fun of it.
Rather than watching shows that are a reflection of ourselves in a world we’re familiar with, we watched a world turned upside down and what we thought we knew about society, manners and the everyday normal taken for granted, no longer existed. Sometimes you need to see things in such a way to either make you grateful for your place or envious because you wish you were elsewhere.
It makes me want to write about zombies.