What a horribly depressing way to go through life

by Sonny Bunch on November 8, 2012

(Update: A few people have complained, so: vague spoiler for season three in the excerpt.)

Here’s Pajiba’s TK, writing on The Walking Dead:

It’s worth noting that despite being set predominately in Atlanta and elsewhere in the Southern USA, there are two black main characters.

Two.

One of whom we met two weeks ago.

The other of whom just died.

On the one hand, are Kirkman and company to be applauded just for including major characters who are women, and black, and Asian? It’s a sad statement on modern television, but this is not the norm. These things are rare, and so I suppose it is laudable that we even have a Glenn or a T-Dog or an Andrea and even, yes, a Lori. Yet the thing is, when you make a conscious decision to integrate your cast so deliberately, swinging and whiffing on it makes the tokenism that much more painfully obvious.

TK then goes on to detail, at great length, the types and numbers of female and minority characters and their various failings.

I just read stuff like this and get depressed. This is the lens through which so many people view entertainment: Does it have the right color quotient and do the characters of certain races act as I think they should act? Is it acceptably diverse for me to be entertained by it? Should I get all handwringy when one of those characters behaves in a manner that is not politically acceptable? Yes, sure, the show is very diverse. But, you know, why isn’t it more diverse? And is its poor writing a slap at women? Or minorities? And how come that Asian-American fan favorite is, like, fast and frequently runs out to go get things? (Seriously, that’s one of the complaints later on in TK’s Catalogue of PC Fail.)

Look, the bottom line is that the show just isn’t that well written. It’s kind of bizarre that The Walking Dead is such a ratings juggernaut. I don’t find any of the characters particularly believable (aside from the aforementioned fast Asian kid), though it does seem to be getting better this season. But to act as if one of the most diverse television shows out there is acting to retard progress, or, frankly, that this should be the primary lens through which to view the show … I just don’t know, man. What a sad, depressing way to go through life.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Brett November 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I’m with you on not getting the appeal. “Walking Dead” takes one of the most tired horror/sci-fi retread themes available — zombies — and proves that it really is just as tired and unimaginative as it seems.

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Pat November 9, 2012 at 5:49 pm

I can’t really articulate it, but there does seem to be some weird identity crisis among white lefties of a certain age where they tend to affect an ironic, Daily Show-inspired detachment around politics and real world problems while saving their righteous fury for things like anti-gay chicken restaurants and unsuitable melanin levels on basic cable.

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