My late mother might have said I’m too old to be watching zombies when I was engrossed in the movie World War Z but those in The Walking Dead have made the series an obvious choice when it comes to favourite TV shows.
By comparison to the zombies in the Brad Pitt movie, the ones in the Walking Dead seem downright cuddly but maybe I am desentisised ten seasons in. I had reached the conclusion that the zombies were just incidental to the show, an occasional obstacle when a massive herd headed towards our heroes’ compound.
For me the show is not about the zombies but the fight for survival between various groups of people in a post-apocalyptic world, bad people doing bad things and good people doing bad things to survive. Some of its villains, the Governor, Negan and the Skin People, are pretty nasty. From the ‘good’ side, there are also some unlikable characters who you don’t care about when they end up as zombie chow.
The show has also never been shy of killing off its main characters – which gives it a bit of an edge. At this point there are only a handful of the original cast members left and it does struggle on relevancy as the apocalypse is not likely to ever end unless they find a cure for the zombie virus because each time someone dies, from whatever cause, they come back as a zombie. There is no escape.
I developed a new theory recently as I watch the events in the world unfold. The zombies no longer seemed incidental or merely there for shock and awe. The answer lies in their behaviour.
Zombies are easily distracted from their mission to kill and eat anything that moves. Let off a firecracker, light a fire, shine a light, play some music, blow a horn and you have their undivided attention. They’ll leave whatever they were focused on – it could be me or you as dinner – and head straight for the distraction.
This is a bit of a mini-prism on the world today. We have the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’ slugging it out and each often using the zombies as a weapon against the other just like they do in the Walking Dead, except now it’s called Twitter.
These real-world zombies are distracted by click-bait news or race-baiting politicians, they go around in herds damaging everything in their path, and worst of all, cannot be reasoned with. The good news is that at least if they target you you’ll only be cancelled, not eaten. So thank God for small mercies.