How Do They Have Nice Clothes In the Apocalypse?

 

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Look at how nicely they’re dressed!

My husband and I re-watched Battlestar Galactica earlier this year. I love that show; it’s got fantastic characters and a great plot.

 

One thing that bothered me when I watched it was how they manage to have such nice clothing. The clothing is neat and pressed, without tears or obvious repairs. The clothing has matching buttons, like they had a stock of them for when someone lost one (and it would happen.) At one point, “the last tube of toothpaste” is offered as a reward for something. So they have limited toothpaste, but unlimited uniforms?

I always wonder about that in shows like The Walking Dead too. Although their clothing does get dirty, torn, and bloodied, it always fits nicely and reflects the style of the person wearing it. It’s like they all had stylists or something. ūüôā I can’t even manage to dress well when I have access to every store in existence.

I realize that it’s a show and I’m supposed to suspend disbelief. And honestly, I do. It’s just that I struggle to believe that no one on the show ever thought about this. And if they did, why didn’t they just offer me an explanation? I’d be willing to buy even a bad explanation.

Am I the only one who wonders about things like this?

 

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Z is for (Books About) Zombies #atozchallenge

For A to Z 2018, my theme is Books About ____. If you’re stopping by from your own A to Z blog, feel free to leave a link. If you need help with how to do that, you can look here.

If you’re someone looking to read a lot of great blogs, here’s the link for¬†the A to Z challenge.

Some people are over zombies because they were in every movie and TV show for a little while. I can never get enough. Everything is better with zombies!

Zombies vs. Unicorns, edited by Holly Black (YA horror… sort of): It’s an anthology of short stories by great YA authors, meant to solve the question as to whether zombies or unicorns are better. Half the stories are about zombies, the other half about unicorns. These aren’t the stories you might be expecting, and there’s nothing typical about them. Though I loved the unicorn stories, Team Zombie!

The Girl With All the Gifts, by MR Carey (horror): I read this on a recommendation from a friend, and had no idea what I was getting into. Melanie lives in a prison with other children. It quickly becomes clear that Melanie and the others are zombie children who retain their ability to think. Adult zombies are mindless, but the children are different, and experimenters want to figure out why, and if they have a cure. When the compound is overrun by zombies, Melanie goes along with the adults to help protect them from the others. This is a unique, fascinating, lovely, frightening book.

The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore (graphic novel): Maybe I talk about The Walking Dead too much (is that even possible?), but I love it because it’s a story about the people during a zombie apocalypse and the various ways they cope. Yes, there’s the whole killing zombies thing, which is also cool, but I love the human element. The graphic novels do a great job of developing the characters. And as a bonus, Carl is still alive.

What are your favorite books about zombies?

Character Deaths Should Mean Something

In real life, death often feels meaningless. People we love die, and we know that the world would have been a better place if they were still with us. The death of a loved one is painful and life-changing for those left behind.

In fiction (books, movies, or TV), death should serve a purpose. We get close to those characters, in some cases understanding them better than we do people in real life. We see them when they brush their teeth, eavesdrop on their phone conversations. We see the face they project to the world and the things they try to hide.

In good fiction, we become connected to characters. Their deaths can be heart wrenching.

I think it’s important that writers are never arbitrary in their choices, just killing off a character because they couldn’t figure out how to move the plot forward or for ratings.

From this point forward, I’m going to talk about the Harry Potter books and The Walking Dead Season 8, Episodes 8 & 9. There will be spoilers. You’ve been warned.

Especially in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, JK Rowling kills off some important characters, but I would argue that they’re almost all necessary.

I cried when Hedwig and Dobby died. But after I got over my denial and anger, when I looked at those deaths as a writer, I realized they were necessary. Harry needed to understand that there was always going to be a price. It’s not like in the movies, where the heroes don’t take a single bullet, but the bad guys all get wiped out (I do love those movies though, BTW). Bad things happen to good people (and owls and house elves), and the survivors are left with a giant hole where their loved ones were.

When Dumbledore died in Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince, it had to happen. It was inevitable. The mentor in a hero story always has to die in order for the hero to be truly heroic. Did I love it? No. But did it serve an important purpose? Yes.

JK Rowling understands when it’s important to kill characters, and when it’s not. Case in point, she was going to kill Arthur Weasley, but realized it didn’t serve the story, so she backed off.

In episode 8.8 of The Walking Dead, they made it clear that Carl was going to die. While I wasn’t happy about it, it wasn’t Daryl, Michonne, or Rick, so I thought it would be okay. I thought I was ready for it.

But as I watched episode 8.9, with Carl dying, I realized that it wasn’t okay. There was no good reason for him to die. We first met him 8 years ago as a little kid who got himself into bad situations and needed to be rescued/ protected from zombies… excuse me… walkers. Then he started shaping up into a little sociopath, and that was interesting to watch. But when he grew up and emerged from those two identities, he became a badass. He was this thoughtful 18 year old who could stare down death, shoot a bad guy without blinking, and still want to save a guy who was living alone.

Carl survived two gunshot wounds, countless fights with walkers, and almost being killed by Negan twice.

And yet he died because he was bitten by a walker during an ordinary killing of just a few of them.

That’s not okay.

Carl symbolized hope in the group. He survived so much, and was the obvious leader of the group after Rick and Michonne. And then the writers killed him. Probably for ratings.

This fan art, I think embodies everything all of us feel about Carl. It’s how it was supposed to be.

The actor playing Carl, Chandler Riggs, didn’t want to leave the series. Carl’s death serves no greater purpose in the story. Sure, his dying wish was for Rick to be a leader who could accept Negan’s people instead of killing them all. But there are so many other ways to accomplish this! Carl could have had a talk with Rick and reminded him that they integrated Woodbury’s people after the attack. Rick could have listened to Morgan or Jesus or Maggie. But no, they killed Carl.

One could argue that Judith or Maggie’s child is the hope for the future, but while cute, I’m not invested in Judith. It will be years before either of them could be a viable leader. So… no.

Honestly, it was a good episode. Maybe even one of the best recent episodes. But I think they killed the series.

I’ve stuck with The Walking Dead and loved it despite its flaws, even when everyone else said it was going downhill. Despite the fact that the writers can’t seem to come up with anything but this dragged out conflict with Neegan, I was still all in. But now? It’s not that I’m going to stop watching on purpose. But I fully expect that one day, I’m just going to forget that there’s a new episode. Or, instead of waiting for it breathlessly, I might find other things to do.

And that will be that.

R is for Rick Grimes

Hello, and welcome to Blogging A to Z 2017! Thanks for stopping by. Fellow A to Z-ers, please make sure to leave a link to your blog in the comments.

My theme this month is 26 of the Best Characters in Fiction.

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Isn’t the artwork lovely? I had a lot of trouble finding a page with no gory stuff and no swearing.

This is not my first time talking about The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman, on this blog. I love both the TV show and the graphic novel, even though they’re quite different. Many of the characters are similar, like Rick and Glenn ūüė¶ , and some are completely different, like Carol and Daryl (who doesn’t even exist in the comic, if you can believe it!)

But I don’t think I’ve ever specifically talked about Rick.

I love Rick as a hero and the leader of the group. Before the apocalypse, he was a cop. He’s all about law and order and doing the right thing. At first, he has a strict moral code that’s a leftover from the world before. But when he realizes that’s not going to work anymore, he adapts.

His moral code changes throughout the books and the TV show. Sometimes he tries to be the man he was before the apocalypse, and sometimes he realizes that’s impossible. But what I like about him is that his moral base is always on his mind, and he’s always the guy trying to keep his family alive.

At first, family means his wife, child, and best friend/ partner. Later, it comes to mean the group he’s in charge of.

Rick has moments where he loses his mind a little, which I think is understandable. Having to come to terms with a world where zombies… excuse me… walkers are real, would be too much for most of us to handle.

I’ve seen people online complain about how Rick (on the TV show) changes his mind on things. For instance, helping strangers vs. not helping them. He goes back and forth on this issue a few times. They say it’s inconsistent or wishy washy.

I think it’s human.

I think that changing our minds based on new information we get is what people do. Sometimes we go back and forth on issues a few times, depending on many factors. If we don’t adapt and grow, assimilate new information, we stagnate and die. His underlying moral code doesn’t change, so it’s not accurate to call him inconsistent. He always puts family first. It’s just the other decisions¬†that change based on his thinking at the time and recent experiences.

What do you think about characters who change their mind? Are you a fan of The Walking Dead, show or graphic novels?

Making Tough Choices in the Apocalypse

tara-and-oceanside-walking-deadSpoiler alert for episode 7:15 of The Walking Dead, Something They Need, aired 3/26/17.

In the last episode of The Walking Dead, Tara tells Rick about¬†Oceanside, despite promising she’d never tell anyone. and Rick’s group goes to take their guns. Despite the fact that she made the promise to Cyndie, who saved her life. Twice. (Three times by the end of the episode.)

Rick tells Tara, “You don’t have to feel bad about it.”

Group members have had to make a lot of tough choices, and the show is no stranger to moral dilemmas, but Rick’s response struck me as callous. It’s a classic case of thinking that “the ends justify the means.” Rick is so sure that he’s right, that the Saviors must be stopped by force, that he’s okay with stealing in order to facilitate that.

Lying (breaking a promise) is wrong. Stealing is wrong. No matter how well-intentioned.

I don’t know what I would do in that situation. Tara knew about the guns, and she’s watched members of her group die at the Saviors’ hands. It’s a desperate situation.¬†If I were protecting my loved ones, I might do the same. I might justify it in my mind so that it seemed like the right thing to do.

But to¬†say that she doesn’t have to feel bad is a cop out. In the post-apocalyptic world, sometimes there’s very little separating humans from monsters. In fact, the monsters aren’t really the threat anymore. Isn’t feeling bad when we do wrong one of the things that separates us from the monsters?

At the end of the episode, as Tara strolls out of Oceanside, she looks at Rick and says, “You’re right; I don’t have to feel bad,” as if it’s something profound. As if she’s just learned a secret.

If that’s the case, what separates Rick’s group from Negan’s group, other than intentions? And do good intentions matter to the people they¬†stole from?

What do you think? Should people feel bad about breaking a promise, even if they believe they have a really good reason? Or does the safety of everyone (because Oceanside will be safer without Negan) justify the stealing?

Do Stories Need To Be Realistic?

img_6887The Walking Dead is my favorite show, and the day after an episode shows, there are a million articles about what happened, analyzing it endlessly.

People are still talking about last season, calling¬†out The Walking Dead for some unrealistic moments, and how they “cheat” sometimes, so that the audience “can’t trust them.” ¬†(Excuse me while we take a moment of silence for the “unrealistic moments” in a show about zombies).

But it’s not the real world, is it? ¬†I mean,¬†I read stories for a break from the real world. ¬†In the case of TV shows, why would¬†I necessarily want to see realism? ¬†It’s nice when my favorite characters get close to death but don’t get eaten. ¬†In the real world, bad things happen to good people. In the fantasy world, it doesn’t always play out that way. Last minute escapes happen.

In The Walking Dead, beloved characters do die; no one is safe. But sometimes they also make amazing, no way out escapes. And that’s why I keep watching. Despite everything bad that happens, it’s a hopeful show. Most of the characters survive, and the ones that do survive thrive.

I know a lot of people don’t see it as a hopeful show, because of all the killing and dying and apocalyptic stuff, but I see it as a show about how nothing can squash the human spirit. People keep doing what they do, falling in love, finding friends, balancing¬†how to¬†to live with what they need to do to survive.

That’s what keeps me watching week after week, and it’s what I love about the graphic novels as well. I don’t care how “realistic” the situations are, as long as the relationships feel real.

What do you think? Do you prefer realism in your TV/ books?

 

The Walking Dead Knows How To Hurt Me

I’ll warn you when I’m going to post Season 7 spoilers… okay? ¬†The first part of this will be fine for anyone who’s seen through the end of Season 6.

Every time an episode of the Walking Dead airs, people everywhere post how they’re going to stop watching. ¬†I see it in my Facebook feed, and I see it in articles online. ¬†When they pulled the thing in Season 6 where Glenn supposedly was eaten by zombies, but wasn’t, people everywhere got quite upset, vowing to stop watching.

Maybe some people even did quit. ¬†I didn’t. ¬†I’ve never even thought about quitting.

I didn’t want to start in the first place. ¬†My husband watched the first few episodes, and insisted I had to watch. ¬†I got all cranky about it because I hate getting addicted to TV shows. ¬†But I begrudgingly watched the first episode and was hooked. ¬†As soon as I found out about the graphic novels, I bought those too.

We don’t have cable, so we buy the season pass on iTunes, which means it’s not available until about 1 a.m. ¬†So, we got up first thing this morning and watched this first episode with our morning coffee. ¬†Then I went online to see what everyone was saying about it.

People said lots of things, mostly about how sick it made them feel, how difficult it was to watch. ¬†A few people even said they had trouble sleeping. ¬†We’ve all known a character we cared about was going to die. ¬†We’ve known it for like the last 6 months. ¬†Everyone lined up in the circle was someone who’d have some emotional impact. ¬†The only question was… who was it going to be?

If you haven’t watched the first episode of Season 7, you should probably stop reading now. ¬†I’ll start up again below the photo.

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*Spoilers*

It was hard to watch Abraham die, but I suspected it was going to be him, primarily because he was beginning to be hopeful and care about life last season. ¬†That’s the kind of thing writers do, and it made sense. ¬†I didn’t like it, but it made sense.

When Glenn died, I was shocked, but not as shocked as I might have been.  I mean, he dies in the graphic novels, so I knew he was on borrowed time.

What makes their deaths so shocking, in my opinion, is not how they were carried out. ¬†People talk about how graphic the deaths were, but I don’t think they were more graphic than other things I’ve seen. ¬†What made them so shocking and visceral is that they were so senseless. ¬†I’m used to villains not necessarily following through, pulling punches, being full of hot air. Negan isn’t. ¬†Plus, he’s cordial, joking around like none of it bothers him.

At this point, characters being killed by zombies is something we expect. ¬†Even being killed by other characters isn’t all that surprising. ¬†We’ve already figured out that human beings are the real monsters. ¬†And last season showed us one huge moral dilemma when Rick and his group attacked Negan’s group without direct provocation.

We’re a society who sees blood and guts on TV all the time. ¬†Modern audiences have become blas√© about a lot of it. ¬†I laugh at horror movies. ¬†We know it’s not real, and most shows don’t kill off beloved characters. ¬†When was the last time two main characters got killed in a show? ¬†It doesn’t happen often.

I keep watching the Walking Dead because it emotionally impacts me. ¬†I care about the characters and know that anything could happen to them at any time. ¬†It makes me think. I was on the fence last season as to whether or not Rick and his group crossed a line. ¬†I’m still on the fence. ¬†Can we use the present to justify the past?

Negan is a worthy villain, a reflection of Rick. ¬†He’s arrogant and affable, with a loyal following. ¬†I doubt this is going to be the last difficult episode this season.

I may not like who got killed (I don’t), but

Like it or not, The Walking Dead¬†experiments with ways of making the viewer feel something. ¬†I would argue that even when people hate the way they do things, the experiments mostly pay off. ¬†After all, I can find tons of articles discussing just about every episode.¬† Love it or hate it,¬†that’s why they’re already signed on for Season 8.

So, what are your thoughts on all this? ¬†Let’s discuss in the comments!