- April 22, 2020
TV Show Review The Walking Dead
TVShow Review: TheWalking Dead
TVShow Review: TheWalking Dead
Inrecent years, film writers and authors have used zombies to passvarious messages to the audience of many television shows. AMC’sTheWalking Deadis a pop culture phenomenon that reaches many viewer watch week,ranging in age from 18 to 50 years old (Hagman 1). The show is abouta group of people, who are the survivors of the zombie apocalypse,trying to evade the dangers of being infected when bit by the zombies(Hagman 1). The experience of massive psychic trauma has been verycommon in human history. These traumas uproot people from thefamiliarity and safety of our homes and push them into strange anddangerous environments (Hagman 2). The plotline of zombies has becomepopular in the movie industry to the extent that it has kindled thecreativity of screenwriters, directors, and actors, with TheWalking DeadTV series being an exemplary depiction of this fact.
Deepermeaning into the show
Thepsychological and emotional impact of coping with the demands of apost-apocalyptic world is the primary focus of the narrative of TheWalking Dead show.The zombie apocalypse narrative in the show is a fantastic variationon the all too common human experience of massive trauma (Hagman 4).The real-life models for this kind of stories can be found inplagues, hunger, poverty, war, genocide, and natural disaster. Thezombie plague does not only rob the survivors of the protection andresources of society, but even more horribly, it attacks the humansoul itself, transforming our fellow men into nonhuman things,without feeling, consciousness, or love. Thus the world described bythe zombie apocalypse narrative is entirely traumatic for theaudience (Hagman 5).
Atthe beginning of the show, civilization has gone. There are groups ofsurvivors who have obtained some shelter, weapons, and supplies. Thezombies outnumber the living by far, and the imbalance is graduallyincreasing. Here, zombies seem to have the upper hand, the livingslowly succumbing to the condition of zombies. The society hasreached the degree of what the philosopher Thomas Hobbes termed asthe "state of nature"(Hagman 2). Life has suddenly become awar of all against all.
TheWalking Deadcan be said to be a war story. The protagonists are on the losingside. Somehow the enemy has the leverage and the initiative. Thereasons for the success of the zombie army are unclear, but there isevidence that those in power have proved incompetent, or worseunwilling to do what is needed to defeat or contain the enemy (Shays190). Also, it is probable that the military had turned their weaponson the city of Atlanta incinerating friend and foe alike. In anycase, as in all wars, the moral landscape of TheWalking Deadis a chaotic, compromised mess. It is the perfect breeding ground forthe development of the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) known asmoral injury (Shays 191).
Anotherdeeper meaning brought out from the show is nihilism which is abelief that life is meaningless (Joyce 1). This nihilism of TheWalking Deadtakes on an existential aspect in the later episodes. The girl Lizzierepresents this nihilism during the second part of season four. Itappears that Lizzie has developed sympathy for the dead. Lizziebefriends ghouls and even feeds them, mistaking their gestures ofappetite for friendliness and potential connection. Lizzie representsthe lowest point in the devolution of the survivors. For her, deathand life are indistinguishable, representing the loss of all socialvalues, empathy, and recognition of the difference between life anddeath (Joyce 1).
Someof the characters in the show experience unresolved mourning. Inseason two, one of the characters, Herschel, the owner of the farmwhere the group takes refuge, has been keeping the zombified remainsof his family members and friends imprisoned in his barn. He hopesthat by protecting them, he can keep them “alive” until such timea cure is discovered (Joyce 1). The continued existence of the lovedones as zombies has prevented Herschel and his family fromrecognizing their loss and engaging in the mourning process.
TheWalking Deadis about a fantasy of trauma and the escape from it. The audience isdrawn in through identification with the characters and their perils.They experience vicariously and in an attenuated fashion, the terrorand emotional damage they suffer, and then the audience work throughit with them, escaping and healing, and eventually achieving afeeling of competence and acceptance, which is often precarious andshort-lived.
Hagman,George. "Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse: Trauma andTransformation in AMC`s "The Walking Dead."" N.d.
Joyce,Richard. "Nihilism." TheInternational Encyclopedia of Ethics(2013).
Shay,Jonathan. "Moral injury." PsychoanalyticPsychology31.2 (2014): 182.