Monday, December 6, 2010
See? I told you The Walking Dead was Lost without the fun. Now we have to wait a whole year to watch more biped primates we’re meant to care about despite no development wind up in more threatening situations. Also, Lori’s pregnant. There, I saved you ten episodes. Look, I couldn’t be happier that AMC has their summer blockbuster so they can continue funding Zeitgeist Icon ™ Mad Men and Arthouse Indie ™ Rubicon, except they canceled Rubicon, so, you know, their next Rubicon, or whatever. But the only measures by which The Walking Dead surpasses those shows are eyeballs and clichés.
Take last night’s finale. This show has all the structure of a Girls Gone Wild star, but has there been anything remotely as contrived as the inexplicable wait-until-it’s-too-late sequence in the bunker? And then we’re spose ta get all misty over Black Chick suiciding despite the fact that the only thing she’s done since invoking her city planning skillz is silently contemplate the plight of black women on television while angling to get the next maid role on Mad Men. Poniewozik—an infinitely funnier and smarter writer than the rest of us—says the show has proven its commitment to high stakes, that anyone could go at any time. I, respectfully, call bullshit. I have no doubt that these people are safe: Love Actually, his wife and son, Laurie Holden, and Other Cop, and I’d put money down on Boondock Saints, too. That’s Boondock Saints, too, not Boondock Saints II. That shit’s even worse than The Walking Dead.
Other things that make no sense: Merle is still at large. Chekhov says he’ll come back, but if he doesn’t come back zombiefied, how does that not put so much strain on your credulity as to destroy it entirely? Oh, I’m well aware he’ll get a significant “The Other 48 Days” of his own, this being Lost and all, but that won’t make it any more believable. Not that they could write credible dialogue anyway. Did you notice that the only time anyone stopped to make an actually funny (ish) joke—as opposed to all that Hilarious Banter going on at dinner; did you catch all that laughing?!!! Hilarious, you guys—was when they were in an urgent life-threatening situation with the grenade and Shane “Pecs” McGee tells Lifetime her nail file won’t help. I know I’ve been asking for more comedy, since the End of the World won’t magically destroy our sense of humor, but Darabont, honey, that wasn't the time.
Last things last. The Walking Dead is the least cinematically interesting sci-fi show in history. They’re clearly not going for any heightened visual style, which is fine, if kind of a waste of a perfectly good apocalypse. But what are they doing? The look/editing/compositions are lazy as realism and weak as grit. I expect artistic unity from great drama, not to mention theme, but at this point, I’ll take panache if it’s all I can get. The Walking Dead can't even pull that off. Apparently zombies aren't the only ones content to be mindless.