However, I’m also apprehensive. I remember the red coal hot barbeque fork tines of disappointment that poked my eyes out during the Season 2 premiere when the zombie herd staggered right past the bleeding T-Dog. In Season 1, characters had covered themselves in zombie guts so they could walk through Atlanta. The team that produces THE WALKING DEAD hadn’t followed their own rules. Earlier in the season, the zombies could smell. Now they couldn’t smell. I felt cheated as shit.
Zombie fans are sticklers for The Rules in a way that fans of other horror genres aren’t. Vampires go to the beach in broad daylight and nobody gives a damn. Silver bullets are optional when killing werewolves, mainly because it’s really hard to come up with silver bullets. Zombie fans care about The Rules because they are actually compiling their own survival guides while they are being entertained. You have to be careful about The Rules. People are paying attention. Close attention.
Later, on THE TALKING DEAD, I heard a member of the show’s creative team respond to the criticism over the You-Said-That- Zombies-Can-Smell-And Then-You-Said-They-Can’t-Smell issue. He said something like, “We never said that zombies are bloodhounds. We’ve never had zombies sniffing people out.” I got mad all over again. ZOMBIES WOULD HAVE TO NOT HAVE ANY SENSE OF SMELL AT ALL TO NOT SMELL T-DOG GUSHING BLOOD, AND YOU TOLD US BEFORE THAT THEY COULD SMELL PEOPLE!
But somewhere along the line, I gave it up. It’s not like there is ANOTHER zombie show I can watch. I have to watch the only zombie show there is. I can’t NOT watch the only zombie show there is. And that led to me relaxing other rules I generally have about my entertainment just so I could watch THE WALKING DEAD.
Rules about character continuity. Relaxed. Lori went to town alone to tell Hershel that his daughter was sick in spite of the fact that the men had gone into town to find Hershel because Hershel’s daughter was sick. Now, Lori would NEVER, EVER chance her son losing both parents. EVER. She is the character who is LEAST likely to go off alone on a ridiculous errand. And, beep beep, there she went. I was mildly annoyed, but I dealt.
Rules about maintaining a decent, believable plot in general. Relaxed. The only person who was still on Shane’s side by the end of Season 2 was Andrea. Nobody really trusted Shane. Almost all of them feared Shane. Yet the entire group was horrified when Rick confessed that he’d killed Shane. The reason they turned against Rick was the producers needed them to turn against Rick to set up what is going to happen in Season 3. Again, I dealt.
And I’ll probably keep right on dealing. THE WALKING DEAD is my soap opera. I’m like my grandma with her “stories” that she had to watch every single weekday, with people coming back to town with different faces to avenge themselves against their evil twins who’d stolen their husbands. Grandma knew that shit wasn’t real. THE WALKING DEAD isn’t real. BUT THEY’D BETTER WATCH THE RULES, THIS SEASON! OR I’LL BE MAD! I’ll watch. But I’ll be mad.
I, personally, follow the rules with my zombie fiction. Check out the great review of my ebook, ZOMBIES TAKE MANHATTAN!