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 blasé 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!

 

The Walking Dead Weekly Wrap-Up

imagesSo, I really liked this episode of the Walking Dead.  I guess I really like the episodes that are heavy on drama and character development with some death and dying thrown in.  It’s what I imagine the zombie apocalypse would really be like.  People would do a lot of soul searching because they’d have all that free time not filled with TV and video games.  People would really have to get to know themselves and what they’d be willing to do to survive.

Spoilers ahead!

I was upset last week when Rick even considered giving up Michonne, and then I was even more upset at the beginning of this episode when Rick approached Daryl and Merle about executing the plan.  But I liked the way it played out in the end.  Rick came to some very interesting realizations about himself.  He finally addressed his “I’m the dictator and you’ll do as I say” attitude from the beginning of the winter.  No one questioned it, because he is the best guy for the job as leader.  I guess he finally realized that being in that kind of power leads to corruption.  He knows the rest of the group would have said “no” to sacrificing Michonne.

I feel like Merle committed suicide by going to the meeting alone and taking out some of the fighters.  I think he knew he was going to die, and that he wanted to die.  Daryl has a good place at the prison and fits in there.  Merle doesn’t know how to fit in with them, but in the end, I think he’s a good guy and doesn’t want to disrupt his brother’s place there.  I agree with Michonne, that there’s good in Merle, and I think he could have learned.  I even think Michonne would have forgiven him; she’s pretty pragmatic.  But Merle wasn’t willing and made a choice that made him a much more interesting character in this last episode than he’s been up until now.  I just wonder how his death is going to affect Daryl.  Hopefully he doesn’t lose it the way Rick did.

Only one more episode left in the season!  This has been a really good season.  Not that I watch much TV, but I think this is, hand’s down, the best show on right now.

Walking Dead Weekly Wrap-Up

images-1What was this episode about?  Can someone please tell me?

Spoilers ahead!

This was mostly a Woodbury episode, with lots of interpersonal drama.  Milton knows the Governor is a bad man!  Andrea knows the Governor is a bad man!  News flash!

Um… let’s see, did anything else happen in this episode?  Not that I remember.  I mean, it was interesting how Andrea ran away from the Governor and they ended up inside that place with all the biters.  That was cool.

This was definitely a filler episode, and if all of them were like this, I’d have long since been done with the show.  Of course, all this could be because this was the all-Andrea episode, and I never really liked her.  I do, however, like Milton, and think he would make a great addition to Rick’s family!

I believe we only have two more episodes left, which makes me sad.  My plan is to go back to the beginning and start over.  Between that and the graphic novel, it should get me through the summer, anyway!

Talking Dead

imagesYou know what I liked best about this week’s episode of the Walking Dead?  No Woodbury.  No Andrea. No Governor.  I’m so sick of that storyline and want it to be over.

Spoilers ahead…

No, there wasn’t a lot of killing zombies or action this week, but it was the back to basics drama I enjoyed so much.  As soon as I saw the man on the roof shooting at Rick, Michonne, and Carl, I sorta knew it was Morgan.  Carl keeps racking up the body count.  I know he didn’t kill Morgan, but he just doesn’t hesitate to shoot now.  Something that became a huge contrast later on when Morgan told Rick that his son died because he did hesitate to pull the trigger.  Carl knows what needs to be done and does it.  He’s immature, but he’s not a “kid.”

I liked that Rick was back to being a good guy, and tried to help Morgan, even though he’s now about as crazy as they come.  I also think the group can take some good ideas from him with the booby traps.  Seeing Morgan again made me remember how many people helped Rick stay alive early on.  Without Morgan and Glenn, he would have died.  If Hershel had refused to help Carl, something inside them all would have died.  I know the group has become cautious about strangers, but if anyone had been as cautious as he is now, he would have died.  What are you willing to do to survive?  Is Rick responsible for the hiker’s death?  He refused to help him… twice.

Morgan said to Carl, “Don’t ever be sorry.”  Carl had to pull the trigger.  What’s the right thing to do?  Is it about survival at all costs, or does the price come too high if we give up parts of our humanity?  That’s the best thing about this show… it makes me wonder.

On a high note, I liked how Carl was suspicious of Michonne at first, and then after she helped him get the picture, he just said, “I think she’s one of us.”  I think so too, Carl.  What a sad world where he had to fight to get the last picture of his mother for his little sister, and how like a child to think of it.

The season has had some really great episodes.  Here’s to hoping they can keep it up.

Talking Dead

imagesThe midseason finale of the Walking Dead was this week, and now they won’t be back until February 10.  It’s terrible that I have to wait two months for the next episode!

This week’s episode was another great one.  Here be spoilers!

I’m so glad they got Glenn and Maggie back, but they lost Daryl.  That’s awful!  I’m actually a little surprised, but I guess it makes for good TV.  The Governor needed a tangible scapegoat, and I guess he chose Merle because he knows that Merle cares more about his brother than Woodbury.  I thought I saw a glimmer of something in Andrea’s eyes, so I hope she decides to side with Rick’s group when the $%*& goes down.  And it will go down.  I don’t think that Rick is going to be willing to leave without Daryl, and Michonne will help.

When Andrea walked in to find the Governor’s secret lair, I was a little surprised that she wasn’t more shocked and upset by it.  My husband kept reacting to the fact that the Governor kept his kid as a zombie.  I actually get that.  He just couldn’t let her go, couldn’t kill her.  Don’t get me wrong; the fact that Michonne put her down was a kindness, but I can understand how someone like the Governor could want to keep her around.

I love this new and improved Carl.  At this point, he simply does what needs to be done.  No fear, no second guessing things, “no more kid’s stuff.”  When he rescued those people and then locked them in, they must have been thinking, “WTF?”  And then it’s obvious that Carl is in charge of the people who are left, which seems weird from an outsider’s perspective, but from mine, seems totally normal.  How old is he now?  Twelve?  Thirteen?

Tyreese is the man in charge of the new group, and in the graphic novels, he was Rick’s right hand man after Shane was killed.  Of course, there was no Daryl in the graphic novels, so it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.  They’ve been taking themes and bits and pieces from the novels, but not taking them literally.

Eight weeks until the next episode… I know my Monday evenings (that’s when we watch) are going to be a little emptier.

Here’s an article I wanted to share, in case you’re interested in a different perspective.  It speculates on what will happen next, and talks about the dynamics between Daryl and Merle.