You hear the moans, growing louder. Sweat covers his muscular body. Your heart races. Your eyes gleam with anticipation. And suddenly, a rock smashes the face of the zombie about to make a meal out of our hero.
AMC’s The Walking Dead is only one of many post-apocalyptic examples in the media to have my heart, and the lead character, Rick Grimes, certainly has the attention, of well, the rest of me, but rest assured, though he’s a handsome, troubled hero, it’s the survivalism that I adore most.
Now in its second season, TWD seems to walk the fine line between story-telling and gratuitous gore. It’s a delicate balance, but caters to both. For example, how do you determine if the Walker that you’ve just dispatched has eaten the little girl that you’re looking for? Eviscerate him in gory detail, of course. Sift through the stomach contents, searching for proof (or lack, thereof) of human consumption.
And like millions of viewers, I can’t get enough. The very personal struggles these survivors face, coupled with graphic detail of the un-lives and gruesome deaths of zombies, is riveting. We love the Zombieapocalypse. We love survivalism. We are a culture obsessed with it. But why do *I* dream of traipsing across wastelands, sawed off shotgun strapped to my back, machete holstered at my side? Here’s a few reasons:
#1 – I like pockets. And clothes that make me look badass.
Alice a la Resident Evil is my style icon when it comes to post-apocalyptic fashion. I want oodles of harnesses and strappy things holding a variety of sharp whoozits and deadly whatzits. You know, just in case.
How else can I justify having everything I need – be it a machete or ball of twine – right at my fingertips? Strappy holsters are ALWAYS in style after the end of the world. So is the color black, which comprises my entire wardrobe. I’ll be SO fashionable, and functional too!
“I can hold all forty seven of my automatic rifles and the best part is…. it feels like I’m wearing… NOTHING AT ALL!”
#2 – I get to kill things. Guilt-free!
I know this is highly romanticizing the end of life as we know it, but what else are we to do when the horizons are gone, and the most important thing I do some days is check my Facebook? Bring me cool weaponry, adventure, death, blood – Oh yes! Killing things!
To be honest, I think this all stems from my lifelong secret desire to be an assassin. (SHHH. Don’t tell the feds.) But yeah, Kill Bill? I *SO* wanted to be O'ren Ishii. Or “Wanted”? Who DOESN’T want to do be Angelina Jolie? Murder for hire, Y U NO LEGAL?? *pout*
So how do I get to be La Femme Nikita, and still sleep at night? Put those miserable monsters out their misery. Save my fellow survivors from what would surely be a gruesome un-death. Just pay no mind to my maniacal grin as I slaughter. No really. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, and all that jazz.
#3 – My crappy credit score!
Like millions of Americans, I’m feeling this recession. Like, whoa. And I don’t have the most sparkling track record when it comes to bills. Life is, well, life. And pretty s----y sometimes. C’est la vie – you do the best with what you have. But other than striking it big with the lottery, how can I circumvent this economic crisis altogether? Total social collapse! Thanks apocalypse!
Now, I can simply pillage to get what I want/need. And I can TOTALLY justify a shiny new motorcycle for survivalistic purposes. I’ll write an IOU or something. Scouts honor.
A level playing field would be swell. Isn’t that what the 99% have been protesting for? Equality? What’s more equal than looting the wastelands?
#4 – I’m bored with Facebook.
We are a media driven society. We’ve evolved to the point where leisure is the norm, and let me tell ya, its pretty boring after a while. Where is adventure? Where is mystery? Some days the most I accomplish is checking in on my various social networking addictions, and drinking ridiculous amounts of coffee. I’ve talked about this with others, and the general consensus is that life has lost the thrill of importance. If everything is life or death, you don’t have time to be bored.
Or maybe I should pick up a hobby. You know, rather than watch the world collapse. Whatevs.
“Cindy Jawless has sent you a friend request!”
#5 – To prove the point that girls can be deadly too.
My biggest gripe with horror? The quintessential bubble gum pink idiot who runs next to naked through the forest, getting herself killed. Puh-leeeeese. I’d like to think that my common sense would get me through Friday the 13th and its ilk. And I certainly believe that come the Armageddon of the Undead, I’ll be armed to the teeth and ready to kick some ass. (Again, I see Alice riding a motorcycle across the desert, weapons bristling).
The Walking Dead has its share of emotional women, but they have a post-apocalyptic steel that a gal like me can admire. When their backs are against the wall, these women come out firing. I especially like Andrea. Don’t want to give away too many spoilers for those of you who live under a rock, but she’s conflicted, a little crazy, and has a growing head count. Atta girl. I don’t know about you, but I won’t be concerned with breaking a nail when it comes to beating the crap out of a Walker. DIE UNDEAD SCUM, DIE.
But I digress. At least with zombies, there is clearly defined good and bad. You kill, you loot, you pillage, because you HAVE to. It caters to our basest darkness. Oh, and the sweaty man-meat doesn’t hurt either. I heart your face, Rick Grimes.
Janelle McKiernan is a contributor for Adventures in Poor Taste. Read more by Janelle on her personal blog, The Anti-Stepford.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!