From the very first day when The Walking Dead premiered on AMC, I fell in love with the show. It brought together two main themes I enjoyed reading about yet seldom saw on the small screen. First, zombies. How can anyone not like these beasts of the undead? They’re virtual Tamagotchi. Second, a dystopian future. Who can say tomorrow will be all unicorns and rainbows? I can’t. That’s why for Monday Mayhem I’d like to explore the lessons I’ve learned from watching The Walking Dead.
I have friends of mine who wonder what could possibly attract so many viewers every week to a show about monsters eating the insides of a person’s head. The whole premise is silly. So, I usually ask:
Me: “Have you ever seen cop shows?”
Me: “Ever see The Silence of the Lambs?”
Me: “Did you like it?”
Them: No answer. [Of course they did.]
Me: “Hannibal Lecter eats people’s brains. He’s worse. He’s human. He should know better. Zombies don’t know better. They eat because it’s in their nature. They can’t help themselves.”
Here is my first lesson. The Walking Dead is not about zombies. Surprised? For you fans who just started watching the show, it’s about people who are stuck in an incredible situation and don’t know what to do next. Every facet of society they once enjoyed no longer exists. They’ve lost everything. Whatever they believed prior to the apocalypse is gone. Even rudimentary things we currently take for granted like running water, clean undergarments, electricity, bread, ice, a comfortable place to sleep, a safe place to live, movies, theaters, concerts, restaurants, ball games, museums, the smell of fresh cut grass, the sound of beautiful music have disappeared. Gone. Never to return.
Yet in that misery, lies hope—my second lesson. The survivors of the dreaded destruction of humanity hold on to that single shred of light. That if things should not return to the way it was, they would cling to the anticipation that one day they will once again enjoy their lives in peace and understanding.
Unfortunately, my third lesson tells of an otherwise different tale. In the midst of hope comes betrayal. Loyalty means nothing to the survivors. If two should leave for supplies and one comes back, the crowd should question who is next. If anyone shows any signs of a change, no matter how subtle, they will die. Either by that which renders them a walker or by the hands of their closest friends. They will die. It’s a certainty. No one is safe. No one will escape. Should there be an argument between survivors and the group exiles a member, that member will die. The sad reality is that friendships are of no importance in a future where society has collapsed from its fundamental moral pillars.
For in those days, there will be no friends. Only those to take advantage of.
The final lesson? As brutal and as honest as The Walking Dead is, it’s all fiction. We don’t know what the future holds. You know why? Right. Because it hasn’t happened yet. We’re in yesterday’s future. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Should we worry about what might not happen? No. But we should prepare. You can peruse the list that I had grabbed from the CDC site featured in my Zombie Emergency Kit post. That’ll tell you what to do in case the zombies come after you.
In the meantime, The Walking Dead will start a whole new season in October. I really hope everyone’s just as excited about the event as I am. It promises to be a game changer. I can’t wait.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.
If anything, what have you learned from the show The Walking Dead? Would you recommend it to your friends?