The Walking Dead: A Rant

SPOILERS AHEAD!

*Although, realistically, if this is the post that spoils what I’m about to talk about for you then you’ve clearly been living under a rock (or have MAJOR dedication). In either case, I applaud you because that’s an impressive feat. Go you.

So, I don’t know how many of you are aware of this, but a little show called The Walking Dead had it’s season 7 premier this past Sunday. Fortunately, I was too busy scaring people at the LA Haunted Hayride to actually watch the episode. Since I was not able to watch the premiere, and am incredibly impatient, I took to the internet (after I got all the damn prosthetic adhesive off my face)!

Total side note: Scaring the crap out of people is super fun and very rewarding. However, very exhausting and the reason I have not posted in a while.

I still have not actually watched the episode and, in all honesty, I don’t intend to watch it or any of season 7 for that matter. I much preferred looking like Negan bashed my jaw to bits with a baseball bat (seriously my makeup for the Hayride was insane amazing.) to watching him brutally murder one of my all-time favorite characters. But, I have read quite a few articles about the season 7 premiere, and I have also listed to people talk about it on the radio. I’ve also looked up some pictures, and immediately regretted that decision.

R.I.P. Glenn (and also Abraham, I guess…I dunno, I wasn’t ever really attached to him).

Now, I know that Glenn dies in the comics and that Negan is the one who kills him, quite brutally, using Lucille. Admittedly, I have not read the comics. I really gave it a good go, but just didn’t care for the art style. I found it very unappealing, and since art is a very major component of comics and graphic novels I just couldn’t enjoy the story because of it.

Generally, the knowledge that any adaptation of a story is sticking to the original source material is enough to get me on board with anything that happens…because, hey, it’s in the original source material. Congratulations AMC & The Walking Dead, you managed to do something from the original source material and make me VERY NOT OK WITH IT! You also managed to ruin something I’ve spent 6 years of my life getting heavily invested in. I hope you’re proud of yourselves.

Now, Greg Nicotero would like you to believe that this is just the “knee-jerk reaction” of a fan who lost one of her all time favorite characters and that this has affected me in a way that I may “not necessarily know how to process,”(USA Today) but I assure you, and Mr. Nicotero, that this is not the case. Not by a long shot, and let me tell you why.

*clears throat and steps onto soap box*

WE’VE SEEN SOME SHIT, GREG!
From the get go fans of The Walking Dead knew we were in for one hell of an emotional rollercoaster filled with limit-pushing gore and displays of violence. We’ve continued to watch and invest in these characters week after week, year after year, knowing FULL WELL that they would face fucked up situations, and most likely die in some truly heartbreaking, nausea-inducing way. We are familiar with the feelings grief that accompany the loss of a beloved character. We are at home with images of rotting flesh, blood, and gore. We are Walking Dead fans, after all.

We have resigned ourselves to the fact that everyone in this world will, at some point die. WE GET IT!

We watched Dale get gutted by a walker.
We searched for Sophia only to see her turned into a walker.
We watch as Carl was forced to SHOOT HIS MOTHER in the head after she died in childbirth.
We watched, helplessly, as Hershel got DECAPITATED.
We watched Carol tell Lizzie to “look at the flowers”.
BETH.

We stuck with this show through all of that. We processed and handled decapitation, cannibalism, suicide, mercy killings, and SO much more. So don’t tell me that we, as a fandom, are just having a “knee-jerk reaction” because we “care about the characters”.

Also, NEWS FLASH: OF COURSE WE CARE ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS AND IT AFFECTS US WHEN YOU FIND MORE BRUTAL AND GRAPHIC WAYS TO KILL THEM!

YOUR AUDIENCE DESERVES SOME RESPECT, GREG!
When you are faced with an outcry of this magnitude from your audience the appropriate response is NOT to essentially accuse them of being over emotional. You also don’t call our self-awareness or emotional intelligence into question by positing that the show presented us with something we “don’t necessarily know how to process”.

For fuck’s sake, we’ve ‘processed’ all the shit you’ve thrown at us thus far. AMC even made a show specifically to help us ‘process’ the emotional abuse you put us through. Because, let’s just be real honest here, that’s what this is at this point.

Infuriating comments in defense of season 7 episode 1 aside, The Walking Dead show runners have not been treating their audience with very much respect. Every time we are presented with a character that represents hope and brings light into this dark world they are taken away from us in often overly graphic ways. With each death it feels as if the only purpose behind it is to see how much more the audience can stomach. What can the writers and directors subject us to before we reach our breaking point? This is not storytelling. This is not entertainment. This is unnecessary and cruel.

The show runners seemed to take sick pleasure from leading fans to believe that Glenn died when Nicholas shot himself and took Glenn down with him into that herd of walkers. They provided ambiguous answers to questions, saying things a long the lines of: we will wrap up Glenn’s storyline, and then taking FOREVER to reveal that Glenn was actually alive. WHY?!
The prospect of Glenn dying in that manner during season 6 absolutely ruined me. I cried. I was a wreak. The lovely J.J. had to spend the better part of an hour consoling me. I love Glenn. I love his character development and story arch. I loved his relationship with Maggie. But the worst part, the part that made me feel disrespected as a fan, was how shitty a death that would have been. Taken out by a piece of shit character as a casualty of their suicide? COME ON! If you’re going to kill him at least give him a better death than that.

Now I feel even more disrespected as a fan because they put us through all of that almost immediately before actually killing Glenn. WHY? Why would you put us through that much of an emotional wringer and give Glenn back to us just to take him away in the most brutal and graphic way possible? What purpose did that serve? How did it enhance the story or drive character development?

The answer is it did none of these things. The shenanigans of season 6 simply served as a litmus test for the show runners to see just how much they could get away with and still maintain viewership. Dicks.

With the circumstances of Glenn’s death anyone who continues to watch is now going to be faced with the emotional and psychological demise of another fan-favorite, Daryl. For those fans who choose to continue watching, they will have to spend season 7 watching Daryl blame himself for Glenn’s death, making Maggie a widow and taking away her last remaining family, and rendering an unborn child fatherless. Norman Reedus said in an interview that Daryl is going to go to a very, very dark place. He his being forced to grieve completely alone and in captivity. This will not end well and I know I can’t stomach it.
SERIOUSLY, GREG?!
Mr. Nicotero said that the series is going in a direction that is going to be more graphic and horrible, and that they want to “push it a little bit”. From what I’ve seen, heard, and read you need to seriously redefine your idea of ‘a little bit’, Greg! And to what end?

This show is already ground-breaking and boundary-pushing. More isn’t always better, guys. Especially if that more is traumatizing your viewers! I feel like that really should go with out saying…

*puts soap box away*

I tap out, guys, you found my limit and pushed me past it. The way you’ve treated your characters and your fans has officially killed my enjoyment and love of this show.

Kudos to those of you who continue to watch and see this show through to its end, but this is where I leave The Walking Dead fandom.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some important business to attend to. *aggressively searches for AU fan fiction where Glenn lives*

I hope you all have a spooktacular Halloween and, as always, be excellent to each other and geek on!

~Michelle Renée

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