From disgust to fanaticism: A zombie love story

A few of The Walking Dead cast members at Comic Con. Used under Creative Commons License
A few of The Walking Dead cast members at Comic Con.
Used under Creative Commons License

Ronna Fisher, Editor-in-Chief

   I never would have considered myself a zombie person. Sparkly vampires? Sure. Werewolves? Yeah, whatevs. Unicorns, fairies and mermaids? Sign me up. Zombies? No. Way.  So, I waved off my first few experiences with fans of The Walking Dead; I knew it just wasn’t for me. At least, I thought I knew.

   After moving in with new suitemates at the beginning of the second semester, I found them enthralled by this zombie show. One night, joining them in the living room, I found my friends engrossed in an episode.

   “So. Do you watch this show every Wednesday night?” I asked nonchalantly.

   “No,” my suitemate replied, absorbed in the show, “Why? Do you want to?”

   “No . . . I just don’t want to be here when you do watch it.” I half-joked.

   One episode later:

   “So. Are you going to watch another episode?” I said casually.

   “Why? Do you want to?” My eager roommate replied.

   Abashed, I nodded slowly, “Yes.”

   Three more episodes were enthusiastically consumed that night.

   I became a Walking Dead zealot. The producers should have paid me to advertise. It was all I could talk about. Every friend and family member fell victim to my Walking Dead frenzy. “Have you ever watched Walking Dead?” and “Well, you should. It’s so good!” became frequent conversation staples.

   If I’ve piqued your interest but you are still on the zombie fence, below you will find some warnings, tips and personal experiences with the show.

  • Before you dive into the show, you must first know that the series can be very dark, violent and gory. The main characters are trying to survive in this zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic world, and, oftentimes, that means killing: animals, zombies and sometimes even other people. In some ways, this type of violence can be easier to watch because the majority of it is directed towards the zombies, not humans. Although, violence towards humans does increase around season 3.

  • The themes of the show can also be very mature, ranging from the psychological effects of survival mode to the ethics and morality of how to dispose of zombies or infidelity and murder.  My values have become so twisted while watching. During one episode, I found myself angry at the characters for leaving behind an unknown camper calling out for help. During the next episode you might find me growling at the screen, “Kill him! Just kill him, and everything will be fine.”

  • The costuming and makeup are usually very detailed and realistic, adding to the violent aspect of the show. In addition, one of my least favorite special effects from the show is when the camera shots have “blood” splatter onto the screen. However, that is not very often.

  • The show can be intense, nerve-wracking and, for lack of a better word, scary. However, I greatly dislike horror movies; I would say the show is more suspenseful than horrific. I have never turned off the show, gone to bed fearful or had frightening dreams after watching. Neither has my watching partner.

  • There are a few sex scenes. In fact, there is one in the first episode. However, these are few and far between—trust me. They are somewhat tastefully filmed and not much is seen. You can always fast forward through them, but they are usually very short. This is a zombie apocalypse, people! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

  • While I have used the word “zombie” ten times already, the “Z” word is never mentioned in the show. Technically, they are called “walkers,” “lurkers,” “biters,” “meat puppets,” “creepers,” “psychos,” and, my personal favorite, “geeks.”

  • The first couple of episodes are the worst. I jumped in around episode three and went back to watch the first two later. If you are not turned off by the violence or dark themes of the show, hold on until around episode five or six—in my opinion, that’s when you really find yourself hooked.

  • Beyond violence, suspense and action, the show has a cast of strong actors and really interesting characters. Some of the best episodes focus on the back stories of the random group of people forced together to survive. There is also plenty of plain old people drama.

   If you like a little suspense and depth from a show, try The Walking Dead. The characters are interesting and complex, and I don’t think you’ll be sorry. If you tend to shy from any sort of suspense, violence or gore, I might steer clear. Of course, it never hurts to try an episode. Like me, you might find yourself a devoted Walking Dead convert.