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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » AMC's The Walking Dead (Page 1)

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Author Topic: AMC's The Walking Dead
Samprimary
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After this premiere, I am confident in thinking this is a series that is worth paying attention to, with the realization that it is good and has an excellent chance at staying good and staying on television.

Here's the basics:

1. Oh my god, zombies!
2. Wait this show is actually really good. People were expecting meh-range SCC-level. But this is actually good.
3. They show right at the beginning that they aren't farting around or watering stuff down for tv palatability. Brains will be eaten or blown out. Om nom.
4. AMC is reporting that the premiere got 5.3 million viewers.
5. For comparison, the season finale of Mad Men got 2.44 million.
6. Being based on a well-vetted comic series means that there's less than average worry of the story becoming diluted or deluged with soapy drama over time.

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FoolishTook
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I like what I see so far. It's a show I'm going to recommend to my zombie-phile friends.
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Shanna
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I watched a leaked copy of the episode a week ago, but I DVRed the premiere last night and I'm looking forward to watching it again.

I loved it. I feel like Darabont and his team really understand the comic and what its trying to accomplish. The episode was a great mix of gore, suspense, and character. I also appreciate that while its staying very true to the comic, its also making some extra turns in order to keep it fresh for fans of the source material. And so far, what has been added is very in-step with the vibe of the comic.

I excited to meet more of the main cast next week. Rick is very much the core of the series, but the supporting cast has to be strong to make this work.

I think the only sad part is the short first season (only six episodes). And while it great that they aren't rushing the story along, its scary to think it may be awhile before we get to some of my favorite story arcs.

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0Megabyte
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Shanna, everything you said was nice, but the first sentence was the key one.

"I watched it a week ago, but I DVRed the premiere and I'm looking forward to watching it again." That is better than every other compliment put together, for a tv show. [Big Grin]

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Raymond Arnold
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Say hypothetically that you are NOT normally a zombiephile, would you like this show? For reference, I liked "Shawn of the Dead" and "I am Legend" but that's about it. (haven't seen Zombieland yet).
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Shanna
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I think you'd enjoy it.

Its really not a show about zombies, its a show about people living in a world full of zombies. The comic is about taking these people from a modern life of convenience, breaking them down, watching to see if they can create anything out of the chaos, and wondering if morality and sanity are the price of survival. The source material is very character-driven. Yeah, there's going to be alot of gore and some great scenes of people killing zombies and vice versa, but that's not what "The Walking Dead" is about. Its as much about zombies as Buffy is about vampires.

Be warned! You will fall in love with characters who will probably die in very horrible and tragic ways. There were so many times while reading the comic that I would just stop and stare at a page in disbelief. I know atleast two trade paperbacks were thrown across the room. And of course, I got so hooked that I'd read late into the night even though the zombie parts of the storyline would give me horrible nightmares.

If you like Shaun and Legend, then I'd say this show is right up your alley.

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TomDavidson
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I'm not a zombiephile by any stretch of the imagination, but I like this show quite a bit. For one thing, it seems to understand pacing.

The lead character's long walk out of the hospital, for example, was nearly perfect.

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0Megabyte
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Yeah. Unlike the zombie movies, they actually have time to let those quiet scenes breathe.

Take the opening to 28 Days Later. A fine opening in its own right, but they didn't have enough time to linger quite long enough, in my opinion.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
Say hypothetically that you are NOT normally a zombiephile, would you like this show?

I was prepared to reject this show out of hand as something attempting to cash in on the latest tv nerdery (like the vampire shows before them, sci-fi and superhero before them, etc) that ultimately would not be able to sustain itself just as a 'thing for zombie lovers' but erm. Nope, it stands on its own two shuffling feet.
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Belle
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I found it excellent - I really enjoyed it, but it's too intense for my kids. I know nothing of the comic, but I'm enjoying the series so far.
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Xavier
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I liked the show a lot, though I had to pause it to go look up whether the comic came out before or after 28 days later. The "waking up from a coma in hospital to find a Zombie apocalypse" was kind of already done.

Not that the show (comic?) is a rip off or anything, but I'm surprised to not have it acknowledged just how close those two openings were.

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Shanna
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The comic and 28 Days Later were released within a year of each other, and of course were written independently around the same time though I think Kirkman had written the first issue years before.

I don't know what the show could have done to acknowledge the similarities and to change the opening would have been difficult. For the Atlanta storyline to work, Rick's family had to believe they were leaving him in safe hands. It reminds me of hurricane Katrina and people who evacuated thinking their families would be taken care of by the hospital staff. Sadly, they weren't.

Besides, a dramatically different opening would have upset fans. The show/comic and the movie deal with similar themes so I'm okay with the hospital opening. That's how the comic opened and it's just one of life's little coincidences. No way around it. However, it is funny watching the people at imdb flip out over this "issue."

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Belle
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I have to say, I found that opening extremely well done. When he awoke to hold the conversation with his friend about the flowers only to find them dried and dead on the nightstand - very effective way of showing the time passage.

My question for comic readers - will we see the man and his son who helped Rick again? I am curious as to what happens to them.

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0Megabyte
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If the series lasts long enough, yes.

Yes you will.

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umberhulk
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Please, sir, may I have some more?
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GaalDornick
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Oh man, what an episode.
SPOILER ALERT
When they were walking through the streets trying to pose as zombies, I don't think I've ever been so on the edge of my seat. [Angst]

What a great show, I can't wait until the next episode already.

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FoolishTook
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SPOILER ALERT II

Leaving that guy handcuffed on the roof was horrible. He was a creep, and they should have left him behind. But that's a terrible situation. I was hoping the guy who dropped the key was going to leave him a hacksaw at least.

Otherwise, great show!

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twinky
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This sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out!
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TomDavidson
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quote:
I was hoping the guy who dropped the key was going to leave him a hacksaw at least.
He knocked over the saws. No doubt the guy on the roof will saw himself free and become an enemy.
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Juxtapose
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I just watched the first episode on Hulu, and I was really impressed. The feel of the whole thing is right on target, and the cinematography and pacing were awesome. The scene where Morgan is trying to force himself to shoot his wife was really powerful.
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Shanna
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Loved the second episode! I'm so happy with what we've seen so far of Glenn and Andrea. All around, the characterizations are incredible.

I was particularly impressed by the scene between Rick and Andrea when she was admiring the necklace and talking about her sister. It hit all the right notes for me. And the humor is also a nice touch. "He was an organ donor" or "There's only white meat and dark meat now."

I will say that these zombies are much more dangerous than their comic book counterparts. Turning door knobs, breaking windows with bricks, climbing fences, some of these traits may end up altering some later story lines but hopefully not too much. But bonus points to the cinematography crew. For some reason I can't put my finger on, the zombies were much scarier in this episode than they were in the first. Its especially cool for the makeup to play so well in daylight when most zombie movies rely on night shots and shadows.

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GaalDornick
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I was hoping the guy who dropped the key was going to leave him a hacksaw at least.
He knocked over the saws. No doubt the guy on the roof will saw himself free and become an enemy.
I hope not, that would be pretty cliched. He should be dead. I also felt terrible watching him be left like that, especially handcuffed and helpless, but that should be the end of that character, IMO.
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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by Shanna:
I will say that these zombies are much more dangerous than their comic book counterparts. Turning door knobs, breaking windows with bricks, climbing fences...

Ugh. The one thing I didn't like about the premier was that the zombies seemed to exhibit the intelligence of a smart dog now and then. I was hoping that they'd tone that down in subsequent episodes.
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katharina
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I tried watching the premier, but I didn't like it at all. I don't like swearing, mysogyny, shooting, gore, adultery, or lazy stereotypes of the South. What was left - some nice staging and excellent acting - wasn't enough to tip it over into enjoyable.
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Jake
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If you don't want to watch gore, you're generally going to want to give zombie shows a wide berth.

When you're talking about mysogyny, are you thinking of the dialog between the main character and his partner near the beginning? I thought that the mysogyny on the partner's part was illustrative of his character (which will come into play later, assuming that the show follows the same trajectory as the graphic novel). The main character's statements about the difference between men and women bothered me as well, but I took it to be more him complaining about his specific relationship than truly generalizing about how he thinks that women are. That may be wishful thinking on my part, though.

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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
quote:
Originally posted by Shanna:
I will say that these zombies are much more dangerous than their comic book counterparts. Turning door knobs, breaking windows with bricks, climbing fences...

Ugh. The one thing I didn't like about the premier was that the zombies seemed to exhibit the intelligence of a smart dog now and then. I was hoping that they'd tone that down in subsequent episodes.
Actually, maybe I should reserve that "ugh" until we see what's behind the bursts of zombie intelligence. Do zombies possess intelligence in proportion to the intelligence that they possessed when they were living? That could be interesting. Or if there are different types of zombies, a la The Zombie Hunters, that could be interesting.
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katharina
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It's my general feeling that there is a fine line between mysogyny that reveals a scummy character and mysogyny in television in general.

There are other ways to reveal a scummy character, and that...it was the only major dialogue exchange I saw so far. The talk about women was so far from okay it made me sick to my stomach. It seemed like the conversation was there as much to indicate that there are testeroney, full-on macho guys as much as that these are not great kind of guys. If that's supposed to be our hero, why is he such good friends with such an enormous *$%#@*&.

So, there is mysogyny in service of a characterization, and then there is what felt like gratuitous mysogyny that's the only extended voice of the author we get to hear. From what I've read, there is some gratuitious racial slurs as well. And the major female character turns out to be as terrible a person as advertised. There are other ways to catch attention without resorting to being pedestrian offensive.

I think it is either lazy writing, or, well, regular old mysogyny. Either way, it puts the show in a hole that means the rest of it has to be beyond spectacular (clever, witty, unexpected) to overcome, and that didn't happen.

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Shanna
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Personally, I don't want zombies who are intelligent or behave in ways the recall their previous lives. If the show lasts long enough, we're going to see example of characters trying to hold onto their loved ones after death and I like how, in the comic book, there was nothing to justify this sort of choice. Once someone is a zombie, their old self disappears.

Kirkman did write about zombies with different hunting and movement behaviors, though I don't think the reason has been addressed yet.

Katharina, I feel like you're trying to read too much into the very little material you've seen. Lori is a big character but she's not the LEAD female character. The shows centers around a group of survivors and key characters will die and new characters will be added later. If you want to look at admirable female characters, Andrea is probably your best bet for now though everyone is going to act in questionable ways as the series progresses. As for Rick, he is THE lead but if anyone expects for him to be the knight in shining armor for the rest of the series, they're going to be very disappointed. He has a strong sense of leadership but that's going to lead him down some very dark and questionable paths.

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katharina
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It isn't just one moment. The sum of the rascist and mysogynistic parts put the show into a hole that nothing I've seen or read yet has redeemed it from.

You can disagree with me without attacking me, my character, or my methods.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
It seemed like the conversation was there as much to indicate that there are testeroney, full-on macho guys as much as that these are not great kind of guys.
You are absolutely supposed to hate his "best friend," who is his patrol partner.

quote:
I think it is either lazy writing, or, well, regular old mysogyny.
It is, IMO, neither. That said, you're certainly allowed to dislike things that offend you, even -- perhaps especially -- if they're meant to offend.

------------

For my part, I actually hope they end the series before Rick goes too dark. The comic loses its way -- its through-line, if you will -- when it loses Rick, and is all but unreadable nowadays.

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katharina
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Art that catches attention by being offensive is ultimately empty.

Anyone can do that. It takes a good writer to create a character without employing the shock factor.

At this point, the person we are supposed to at least care about, if not admire, was one willing half of a conversation that should get you exiled from polite company. If it is just horrible things happening to unlikable people, there are no stakes.

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Shanna
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You are completely welcome to not watch the show. You don't like gore and violence so a show with zombies will probably be a waste of your time. I find depictions of realistic drug abuse very uncomfortable so I'm not going to sit down and watch "Intervention."

But its unfortunate for you to suggest that because the show chooses to depict racism and misogyny (two very real and terrible human traits that exist in the world), that the show's writers and directors are racists and misogynists. Worse things are going to happen on this show so you should absolutely stop watching now if you haven't already.

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katharina
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I won't watch it - I don't have TV, so I use Netflix and watch new releases by buying them one at a time off Amazon - but I might continue to read the recaps and comment.

I know nothing and am saying nothing personal about the shows' writers. But there was mysogyny in the show that wasn't completely ironic, and that's a problem in the show. I hope it does get better - Mad Men dances along the line of ironic and garden variety (Betty is almost a cartoon) mysogyny as well, and I'd hate for that to become AMC's MO.

quote:
For my part, I actually hope they end the series before Rick goes too dark. The comic loses its way -- its through-line, if you will -- when it loses Rick, and is all but unreadable nowadays.
Maybe this is the issue for me. Rick was lost in that conversation, so there wasn't a compelling reason to endure the rest.
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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
It's my general feeling that there is a fine line between mysogyny that reveals a scummy character and mysogyny in television in general.

I agree with you that that's the case. And there are certainly plenty of examples of causal mysogyny on TV.

quote:
...it was the only major dialogue exchange I saw so far. The talk about women was so far from okay it made me sick to my stomach.
I felt like the lead was uncomfortable with what his partner was saying as well, though. The partner himself even recognized it, making the comment about how his routine had failed to entertain. It seemed to me like the main character wasn't actually objecting to what the guy was saying because they were partners who had to work closely together. Whether that's the right choice or not is questionable, of course.

quote:
From what I've read, there is some gratuitious racial slurs as well.
Really? I don't recall any. I've only seen the first episode, though.

quote:
And the major female character turns out to be as terrible a person as advertised.
In the first episode (again, I haven't seen the second, so I can't speak to it)? How so?

In any case, it's perfectly fine that you don't care for the show. As I said, even apart from the question of mysogyny, there is swearing, which you don't care for, and there certainly isn't a lack of gore.

Tom, I wonder if they'll continue to hew closely to the comic's storyline once the show finds its legs. As Shanna said, just the fact that zombies in this version possess some intelligence and a decent measure of dexterity means that some things as written in the comic won't work in the show. I suspect that this show will go the way of True Blood, moving further and further from the source material as the seasons go by.

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Xavier
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quote:
I felt like the lead was uncomfortable with what his partner was saying as well, though. The partner himself even recognized it, making the comment about how his routine had failed to entertain. It seemed to me like the main character wasn't actually objecting to what the guy was saying because they were partners who had to work closely together. Whether that's the right choice or not is questionable, of course.
This.

His response was not to agree with his partner, but to mention that in his relationship it was him who was more likely to exhibit the behavior the partner was complaining of (whatever it was, I don't even remember).

That's a really tactful way of handling the situation, IMO. I sometimes get trapped in conversations where the other person is being something of a bigot, and I use a similar technique if that person is someone I have to interact with on a regular basis.

To use this conversation as an example that the lead is a misogynist just seems odd to me. Especially when the rest of the episode seems to hammer home that he loves his wife.

Edit: I'm thinking that part of the episode didn't have the emotional weight for me as it did for Kat, so I am open to the possibility that I am misremembering it.

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katharina
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That isn't what I said.

The friend certainly seems to be, the lead is best friends with someone who is, and the show seems to be.

I didn't say the lead is a mysogynist. I said that he seems to be best friends with someone who seems to be, which could mean several things, but the most straightforward explanation is that he is best friends with someone who is and seemingly has been for a long time.

Maybe it is just a REALLY small town and there aren't a lot of choices, but whatever the reason, while the friend noted that the story wasn't a hit, but he sure wasn't afraid that his friend would recoil, either.

-----

You can disagree with my conclusions without impugning me.

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0Megabyte
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To be fair, I can understand katharina's point:

That conversation, which wasn't anywhere in the original comic, seemed... off to me. I was willing to let it go, and allow it to serve its purpose of showing Shane be the dick Shane is always going to be, but it was definitely a part that bugged me. I was hoping Rick would say something different in response. I didn't expect his response, though then again when a (former) friend of mine spoke of college being only for black basketball players (words spoken with outraged invective, as though they were curse words) I did not stop to confront him about it at the time... so I can understand where Rick might not, if he and Shane were close.

The second episode had an obviously villainous racist, of the outrageously stereotypical variety. I am not sure why they needed that. The women given screen time in the second episode, Andrea and the black lady, whose name I have no clue of, seemed fine. Andrea was clearly annoyed, and stressed at the beginning, but she was portrayed as competent, (though her characterization was more in line with her personality later in the comic, than at the beginning, Which I found interesting) and the other woman pulled her weight with ideas and knowledge of the area.

Luckily, Lori isn't the "female lead" of the story at all.

However, considering the swearing and gore (since it is a zombie story) I'd recommend you skip it, katharina. It's only going to get gorier, and the situations are only going to get less pleasant. Any feeling of optimism won't last. And if the comic is any indication, Rick will be forced to become much more compromised morally, though he will never fully lose his way, as opposed to what Tom said about it.

In my opinion, the show's been quite good... but they added a few of those negative moments, and even I was put off by them, so I understand katharina's feelings.

---

Tom, I dunno if you're right about the through-line.

The next statements are going to be vague spoilers:


Certainly Rick has had to do some terrible things, and has gone a long way from the police officer he used to be. From saying to his son that "killing people should never be easy", he's found it becoming all too easy, and all too casual. In fact, the fact that this continues to bother him, and his struggle with this, is one of the largest things his story arc has focused on.

But even at his very worst (which is pretty darned bad by any standards) there's still a kernel of decency inside of him, that perhaps even his son lacks.

Take the most recent issue. The speech he gives about both who he is, and what he's had to do, seems a sort of, if not conclusion, than a new shift in his personal story. He obviously feels remorse for the many bad things he's had to do (especially how excessively he's done some of them) and makes clear to everyone an interesting point, and perhaps one of the points of the series: In such chaos, people have to do terrible things, and sometimes they change. Much of the time, for the worse. Is that their true nature coming out, or does the stress and the terrible things done to survive break them somewhat? Rick does a bit of deflecting, ("I never would have done those things if the situation were normal") but he uses it to help people come to terms with the murderous spree of another, trusted person, and say that perhaps it wasn't fully his fault. There's a convenience in his logic that "maybe he's changed as much from what he was as the dead have", but it's used in a compassionate way. Even if the logic doesn't work, and it might very well not, it's being used for what seems decent, and that decency is still at Rick's core.

But then, he's finally had time to clear his head, too. Part of the point of the current story arc is to juxtapose what Rick and the others had become, with people who were closer to normal. And perhaps to remind Rick a little of who he really is.

Live like a savage long enough, and you may become savage yourself. But this is the first time, really, since the truly horrible event of issue 48, that Rick's had time to do anything but simply survive. After a really rocky transitional period, it seems to be doing him some good. Which means, of course, that things are going to go bad quickly.

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Xavier
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quote:
I didn't say the lead is a mysogynist. I said that he seems to be best friends with someone who seems to be, which could mean several things, but the most straightforward explanation is that he is best friends with someone who is and seemingly has been for a long time.
Eh, I've had good friends with all sorts of views and behaviors I disapproved of. I guess I don't really judge people much by their friends.

Added:

quote:

You can disagree with my conclusions without impugning me.

If this was to me, I don't think I did any such thing.
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0Megabyte
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katharina: Where are people impugning you? I'm having trouble seeing it. You said in response to someone that they can stop questioning your character or your motives, but I'm looking hard and I'm not seeing that either.

This is definitely not a criticism, but confusion. What is the insult to your character? I'm trying to see it but I'm clearly missing it.

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katharina
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I'd rather not get into it, because I'd rather the talk about show, rather than discuss the discussion or discussers.
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0Megabyte
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Okie dokey then.
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katharina
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Thanks.

----

To elaborate on why his tolerance of the friend's rant made me question Rick himself, it's because this seems to be his best friend. Not just his partner, but the person he opens up to emotionally, even when he's shut down to his wife. From the friend's rant, I gathered that he has a pattern and a history of talking and thinking about women pejoratively, as a whole.

I have friends who do and say all sorts of things I don't agree with, but I have hard time imagining becoming really tight with someone who regularly treated the people close them so badly. Either they way they treat and discuss their partners would have to be okay with me, or else we couldn't discuss our personal lives at all. The second didn't seem to be true, so it has to be the first.

Maybe there's a severe shortage of friend possibilities in the town. We know very little about Rick, though, and one of the most effective ways to create a character IS to show how they relate to other people. In this case, listening tolerantly to that drivel, which was obviously not the first time he heard it.

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0Megabyte
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I agree. It didn't quite give the right frame of mind for Rick in any event.

I don't feel about it nearly as strongly as you, and kind of ignored it, but that's probably at least in part because I've read the comic, where no such thing happens, and since otherwise the characterization went fairly well, I was able to ignore it.

However, really, all we know is what's on the screen. We can't make excuses for Rick, as much as I'd like to, since that's what they chose to show, and chose to have him say.

However, I have had a close friend who was a womanizer. For years, though, I didn't let it interfere with my friendship... I mostly smiled and nodded, and tried to change the conversation when that part came up. So there's also that: You and I hold friends to slightly different standards. It makes sense those standards would affect how we judge what's shown. What for me was mildly uncomfortable was for you bad enough to sour the show.

Fair enough. It was the worst scene in the episode, honestly. To tell the truth, I wish they played Shane as a little more subtle in that episode. In the second, he's shown to be a more general dick, but we already knew that. Trust me when I say that this little scenario is not going to turn out happily.

But that digression is besides the point. The point being completed, I think. Go figure.

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katharina
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That makes sense. Everyone has different things that are dealbreakers.
--

Moving on from that, how long is Rick supposed to have been in a coma? People can only go without water for about four days at the most, but maybe this was extended because he wasn't in the sun, he was hooked up to something, and he wasn't moving. Still, what - a week? Or is this a question we are not supposed to be asking?

Judging from the beard...okay, no idea. Beards grow at all different rates, so that beard could have taken anywhere from two days (my brother) to two months (my best friend in college).

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0Megabyte
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I'm honestly not sure. I doubt we'll ever get an answer. I presume all the fighting happened fairly recently at that point. I'd imagine he was only alone for a week, tops. Probably less. At least, that's all that makes sense to me. But there's nothing hard and fast.

I think it's as you said, we're not supposed to be asking that question! [Big Grin]

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katharina
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It has been suggested to me that instead of trying to watch any zombie movie or show (Shaun of the Dead was barely tolerable, and I had to turn off Supernatural because of the omnipresent gore), I read World War Z instead.

Anyone read that? It does fit in with my summer of apocolyptic fiction.

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umberhulk
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I liked it.

It's kind of forced, but I like it.

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Mucus
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World War Z is a different kind of story (at least based on the first two episodes of TWD vs. World War Z novel). More global in scope, more like a series of short stories or an anthology, with less focus on individual characters.

I liked it.

However, if you're looking to avoid stereotypes, I'm not sure if that will work out since there's not much room (or effort) in each short story to really transcend beyond a simple characterization of each place. But who knows, since the focus is different.

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GaalDornick
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
I have friends who do and say all sorts of things I don't agree with, but I have hard time imagining becoming really tight with someone who regularly treated the people close them so badly.

What makes you think he regularly treats the people close to him badly? I don't recall exactly what was said, I wasn't paying such close attention, but it seemed like he was just complaining about his wife not turning off the lights and made some misogynist comments about it, but IIRC he didn't say he beats his wife over it or anything like that.
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umberhulk
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It does have a sort of an I - it relationship vibe.

And that sex scene? How stupid do you actually have to be.

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