The Walking Dead: Cute Guy from ‘Love, Actually’ Adjusts to Zombie Apocalypse

Posted by Dan November 30th, 2010 at 11:54pm In The Walking Dead

There’s plenty to not be excited about on television.  But then there’s The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead is about as exciting as it gets, if you ask me (which you sort of did by visiting this blog that I haven’t updated since phoning in a post about how I’d gladly share a twin bed with Parks and Recreation’s Chris Pratt). And I haven’t been excited about much on TV in a long while, aside from the rather disappointing third season of Damages or the sustained excellence of 30 Rock.

If you don’t like graphic comic book mayhem, chances are you won’t like The Walking Dead. Shocker. But what I’m trying to say is that it’s not one of those horror shows that’s actually a heady extended metaphor for something political. This is a show about zombies. It’s just a beautifully/grotesquely shot, somewhat soapy series that features unusually well developed characters for a genre that often leans on camp or cheap thrills.

The premise of the show isn’t complicated: basically, the cute guy from Love, Actually (the one who loves Keira Knightley, but she’s married to his best friend and at the end of the movie he does that kind-of-sweet-but-mostly-depressing series of poster board cards like he’s in a hangdog version of INXS’ “Mediate” video) is a cop who wakes up in the hospital after the zombie apocalypse. I’m not going to get worked up over who did it first, The Walking Dead or 28 Days Later, but I recognize the duplication.

Anyway, he ambles out of the deserted hospital, makes friends with a man and his son who get him up to speed on said apocalypse, leaves for Atlanta (where allegedly salvation awaits — we know better than that, though), and eventually gets reunited with his wife and son, who are living on the outskirts of the city with a band of survivors. Also worth noting, his wife is boning his best friend (a fellow cop) because she assumes he’s dead. There seems to be something afoot here about how long this relationship had been going on — that has yet to come out, though.

What I love about The Walking Dead, aside from the endlessly satisfying debraining of the undead, is the idea of a sustained series* about zombies. The traditional zombie movie format has an origin story (“Where did all these zombies come from?”), a hero story (“I’ve got to get away from these zombies. My buxom love interest too.”) and a frequently downbeat conclusion. With this series we’ve the opportunity to see a sustained zombie narrative with emotional ups and downs as well as complex characters. This is a new playing field where the reality is post-apocalypse.

There’s going to be a marathon of the series on Sunday, so you should TiFaux that.

Goodbye TiFaux!  See you in 2011!

*I know, I know — it’s based on a comic book. But I don’t read comic books (I’m barely literate as it stands), so television is really all I’m concerned with here.

1 Comment

  • 1. Marisa  |  December 1st, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Agreed. I love zombie allegories, but, in this case, I’m happy that the zombies aren’t stand-ins for mindless consumer culture, or the rise of the proletariat, or the ways the government/industrial complex can screw over the world. I like that they’re *just zombies*, and the show is more about how the people react to them.

    On the other hand, though, I wish that the characters were better developed by now–or maybe I just wish that I liked them more.


    For example, the death of the guy that was bitten in the last episode–I don’t even remember his name–didn’t really affect me much. I didn’t really know anything about him other than he was the one that dug all those holes for no reason. I know what happened to his family, because he said it, but it’s not like I got to really spend any time with him and get to know him in the present-tense of the show. (OK, I looked up his name. It was Jim.)

    ***END SPOILERS***

    I think they could improve this over time, so I’m sticking with the show. I wish they’d be further along this far into it, but maybe the character development is just going at a slow-zombie pace.


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