The Walking Dead
Like any good geek, I love me some zombies. So, of course I tuned into AMC’s new zombie show, The Walking Dead. And I found myself disappointed.
The show starts with our hero, Rick, and his misogynistic partner, Shane, talking about how women and men are different. This conversations seems to function solely to tell us that Shane is a bit of a prick, Rick is a genuinely good guy (which I didn’t really buy), and Lori, Rick’s wife, is a bitch. Basically, it took about ten minutes for me to realize I was probably going to blog about this show, and not in a good way.
The dudes, who are police officers, get into a shootout. Rick is shot, and we see Shane bringing him flowers in the hospital. (He assures us that he didn’t pick them out himself, however. That’s for sissy ladies. And he’s not gay or anything gross.) Rick wakes up, the flowers are dead, and the hospital is full of corpses and ruin.
I did like the set up here; Rick has no fucking clue what it going on, and he’s still injured, so he basically cowers home, where he discovers his empty house. He runs into Morgan and his young son, Duane. Their family was heading to the refugee camp in Atlanta when Morgan’s wife became infected and got all zombified. She still hangs about, and they can’t leave with her haunting them. Morgan wants to “put her down” and even attempts to in this episode, but he can’t.
Anyway, Rick and Morgan arm themselves, keep open a line of communication, and Rick sets off for Atlanta. We find out that Lori and Carl are with Shane (and Lori is with Shane) outside of the city, because it’s been overrun with zombies. Rick runs into the city on a horse (looking straight out of a video game), gets his horse eaten by zombies, and takes an incredible amount of time to seal himself up in a tank. (Seriously, this guy must have the lowest amount of adrenaline ever present in a human being. He moves like molasses.) In case you missed it, he’s a goddamn cowboy.
So far, I liked the story okay, and it seems promising for the character development of the people the show seems to want us to care about. Unfortunately, none of those characters are ladies, who exist in this pilot for the sole purpose of helping to advance the dudes’ development. Morgan’s wife is in the refrigerator, and the only reason we even care about her is that Morgan and Duane are all traumatized by this. She gets a lot of face time in this episode because we’re supposed to see her (rather pretty for a zombie) face through Morgan’s eyes.
The only other lady with a name is Lori, who gets very little screen time, and most of that is devoted to kissing Shane (presumably so we can see how whore-y she is since she got over her husband faster than it took him to heal from a gunshot wound). Perhaps I’m being too harsh on the writers here; they may not want us to judge her so quickly. But it’s difficult to tell since we were already told in the beginning of the episode that she’s a bitch, and she doesn’t ever get a side in that conversation, because she doesn’t actually matter.
This episode failed the Bechdel test hard, despite being an hour and a half long. But I think this show could get better. According to the cast of characters, there are some women (though significantly fewer than men) playing parts in the show later. It's possible, then, that they will get some personalities and plot lines not connected to their dudes and romantic relationships. But I was really disappointed by the premiere and am not feeling particularly optimistic.
Attention The Walking Dead writers: women are not plot devices. And we don’t like watching shows that don’t think women matter as characters. Fix it.