!!S P O I L E R A L E R T!!
There are no spoilers in this post. It was written before The Walking Dead season finale.
When I was eight, I spent the summer with my grandparents in Chatsworth, California. This was a big deal as I lived in north Idaho. I got to fly by myself, visit the cockpit, and get a set of captain’s wings. It was also the first time I ever saw a grilled tomato. Full breakfasts were served in those days and even a child got a pretty decent meal.
I remember a lot of things from that summer but the most special thing was sitting down with Grandma, at three in the afternoon, with a can of root beer and a small bowl of puffed cheese snacks to watch All My Children.
All My Children was one of a dozen soap operas that populated daytime television in the 60s. When I was an adult, I moved to the Midwest and everyone called soaps, “stories.” Hence the title of this post.
This weekend my daughter and her two kids were over at the house, and an advertisement for season finale of The Walking Dead came on. My daughter was holding my little grandson and she said, “Look, Elijah, there’s an ad for Grandma’s story.” She had me Dead to rights.
I gave up soaps years ago. They are all the same story line, and now I see they were mostly the same characters from the 80s and 90s. I haven’t missed anything. But I did become the new kind of Deadhead. (I think some viewers are young enough to have missed The Grateful Dead and don’t know that name is already taken.) But there are Walker Stalkers, Deadites, or the Watching Dead. Though, none of those really fits. I’m just a fan.
When the show came out in 2010, I heard about it. If you were minimally online, you heard about it. I didn’t care. Once in the distant past, I had tried watching the movie, The Night of the Living Dead, and was bored outta my skull. This lead me to believe that zombies just weren’t my thing. They weren’t then, and they really aren’t now.
The appeal of this gore-fest for me is, there moral questions that come up for those surviving a zombie apocalypse that just never make it past the, d*mn-I-broke-a-nail problems of the clean, well-dressed, well-connected doctor/lawyer/billionaires that populate the standard regular soap opera.
But on TWD you have to deal with questions, such as:
- Weaponry: blade or a gun? Perhaps your best success will be with a blunt object and brute force?
- Is it best to soak rotting flesh stains, or can you just pretreat?
- Who do I trust, and will I destroy their brain if they die so they don’t turn into a zombie?
- If a zombie is clutching a bag of Cheetos, once I dispatch said zombie, is it safe to eat the cheesy bits of heaven if the bag is still sealed?
- Are zombies the person they were when they were alive, or are they nonpersons, and okay to use as targets?
- How do you raise sensitive kids in a world where sometimes compassion involves breaking someone’s neck?
- Am I really a horrible person when the only other person in my group, who loves pickled beets as much as I do, turns, and I’m j-u-s-t a little bit glad because that leaves more for me?
Seriously, there are great questions that come up in this show. Some of them I push aside in favor of just rooting for the bad-guy-turned-good, Daryl. I cried with Carol when her young daughter staggered out of burning barn, clearly now a zombie. For all the jokes, I hope Carl grows up to be a decent, non-psychopathic, young man for whom killing is the only skill he has to offer the world. And I always sigh when Maggie and Glenn find each other after some horrible separation.
Yup, The Walking Dead has replaced the standard soap opera as my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Wentworth Wednesday will return next week at its regularly scheduled time.