I watch The Walking Dead every Sunday night. I wouldn’t call myself a fan, though; in fact, I kind of hate the show. I’m tired of the characters not really existing outside of what happens during each episode. No one makes any decent survival plans. No one seems to act like normal humans do. Instead, what we have are a bunch of characters who move about as the tragic plot dictates. Basically, no character feels like a living, breathing person that I can relate to.
However, I watch the show because my wife watches it. She watches the show because she writes about it. And I’ve noticed one thing that The Walking Dead almost always does.
It kills the mood.
I’m a married guy in my early 30s. I have two kids. My wife and I work full-time jobs. There isn’t a whole lot of time when it comes to spontaneity in our romantic endeavors. Sometimes, we mean to get intimate, but we end up just falling asleep from the rigors of our day. It’s not that we lack intimacy. It’s that our time for such things is rather limited.
That 10 o’clock hour on Sunday nights is a great time to just be alone together for some “marital fun time.”
The Walking Dead.
Invariably, it will kill any romantic feelings we had before the episode started. Scenes of death, dismemberment, stupidity, children in danger, flesh eating, and brain splattering don’t really put either one of us in the mood. In fact, it makes us actively seek out a different form of entertainment in order to get our mind off the show.
Here’s the thing: there are other dark, terrifying, heavy shows that don’t make me feel this way. The Americans routinely goes into the dark depths of espionage, including murder. Game of Thrones frequently goes to uncomfortable places, as well.
I guess the difference is in how well thought-out everything is. The Walking Dead seems half-baked, including shock for shock’s sake, rather than using it as a storytelling device. The zombies on The Walking Dead (and really, any of the bad guys on the show) are an obstacle to climb over rather than a catalyst for our characters to change and grow.
And maybe what kills the mood is also the fact that things on that show will never change. With Game of Thrones, the book series isn’t finished yet, and it still could end up well. With The Americans, the main characters show remorse for what they have to do. And when they don’t, at least they worry about the consequences of their actions on their family.
But with The Walking Dead, you have no hope for Rick and co. Things aren’t getting better, and they won’t. I’ve always contended that the “The Walking Dead” doesn’t refer to the zombies, but to the main characters of the story. They’re all dead; they just haven’t laid down yet.
And that’s a mood killer.