Monday, November 05, 2012

Update Update; The Walking Dead

So I actually write some of my posts about my weekend on Sunday night, the night before I post them.  As I was rereading my post about the weekend today during lunch, two things occurred to me:

1)  Amy and I had our first official ukulele/guitar jamboree/jam sessioon on Sunday afternoon.  It went very well.  I can't believe how quickly Amy has been learning to play the ukulele and how good it sounds.  I really, really had fun playing with her.

and

2) Last night's episode of The Walking Dead was really intense.  That show just gets darker and darker and bleaker and bleaker.  I'm talking almost Cormac McCarthy level intense.  I mean, yeah, you start our with the premise that it's a zombie apocalypse, so of course it's not gonna be a cheerful show, but it's gut wrenching on a level that goes beyond your typical quasi comical horror movie schlock.  I was honestly almost angry at the writers at the end of last night's episode.  They do a really good job of developing the characters and getting the audience to care about them and become invested in them, and then... then they do really, really bad things to them.  No character on that show is ever really safe, and there are almost no moments when the characters (or audience) can step back and revel in any real sense of safety, security, or victory.  Part of what makes the show disturbing, I think, is that, as in the case of many similar stories, the zombie apocalypse is clearly meant to be a sort a symbol or metaphor for what life might really look like when you strip away the niceties, comforts, and protections of modern civilization.  There have been some episodes that barely contained any zombies (i.e., "walkers") at all.   Walking Dead uses the zombie apocalypse as a sort of disturbing fictional example of what can happen to people in any given situation where humans are left in a sort of barbaric state of nature (e.g., the aftermath of wars, natural disasters, diseases, famines, etc.).  Where many prior shows and movies have simply used the genre for cheap thrills and scares, the writers on Walking Dead have used the zombie storyline to more deeply explore questions of human nature, resilience, and morality.  In other zombie shows the zombies themselves have been the scariest part of the story.  On Walking Dead it has become apparent that the zombies (i.e, the "walkers") are more akin to a deadly but understandable natural force, akin to a plague or disaster, but that the humans who exist in the aftermath are the more frightening and less predictable element to be feared.  Walking Dead features zombies (lots of zombies), but in the end it's a show about how people survive when they're running out of resources, they're surrounded by things and people who would do them harm, and it's not clear who, if anyone, can be trusted.
Anyway, the show is well written.  It has well developed characters, an unpredictable plot, and manages to create a heck of alot more emotional resonance than you'd expect from a zombie show.
Irecommend it, but not to people who are averse to things that are violent or depressing (why do I watch it, again?).

That's my update update. 
Ukulele = joyful and life affirming
Walking Dead = um.... not.

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