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13 Thoughts Author Carrie Mesrobian Had About The Walking Dead

If you follow author Carrie Mesrobian on Twitter, you know that she is a big fan of The Walking Dead. She is part of the reason that this week became Zombie Week, our shared love of zombies and The Walking Dead. So to round up Zombie Week, Carrie Mesrobian is sharing some thoughts she has about The Walking Dead.

  1. This show is based on a comic book series that isn’t exactly kid-friendly. But it also features prominently a young boy named Carl, who grows up in both worlds. I think Carl learning how to be an adult in the post-apocalypse world is a perfect vehicle next to his father, Rick, who is a sheriff in the old world. Carl must by necessity make new rules for his reality, while his father tries to grip to the old ones that were so deep in his identity.

 

  1. I don’t read the comics. Not yet. I want to have something to savor after the show ends. This is something I love about fandoms. Even if there isn’t source material for a movie or TV series you love, there’s fanfiction. You can always immerse yourself back into that world again in new ways. (Too bad Daryl Dixon’s not in the comics…)

 

  1. The Walking Dead is not a show about zombies, or the disease zombies symbolize. I think The Walking Dead is about survival, which is something all people relate to, even if our current survival may not be a hand-to-mouth one. What makes us human and what makes us inhuman?

 

  1. The Walking Dead has some sexism issues, which vacillate depending on the female character as well as the season’s focus and script writers. The character of Andrea was frustrating to many. The plot used Andrea as a device for its own purposes instead of using her character’s own motivations to drive plot. Character first, then plot, is what I would advise. It’s hard to pull off, of course.

 

  1. A lot of people decry how this show showcases “man pain” vis a vis the deaths of women or male characters of color. I think this is easily arguable. But I remain fascinated with man pain, as a viewer/reader. I don’t see a lot of visible man pain or male tears in my own reality. I think we all want to gawk at what that looks like. Instead we see a lot of male anger and the destruction that wreaks on our world. I’m tired of male anger. Give me the man pain over the male anger any day. The Walking Dead is probably not a great test-case for this dynamic, given its content.

Gratuitous Darl Dixon GIF for Carrie. GIF from PandaWhale.

  1. The Walking Dead has some racism issues. One is that the show likes to kill off characters of color constantly. It’s not that I don’t buy that characters of color wouldn’t die at the same pace as white characters. I get that. What people don’t seem to understand is that in the context of televised entertainment, enduring characters of color, ones we get to love and hate and connect with over the long-term, still remain few and far between. This context is important for television producers to understand; I’m not talking about verisimilitude. Another thing that we don’t often see on TV are long-term love relationships between characters of color, so when Bob died, I just felt like the show missed yet another chance to defy the norm. We’re getting a hefty plate of Sasha’s grief and that’s rich as well, but again: context. Context matters in any medium – I’d like to see TV writers and producers move past the “but we’re just depicting reality” explanation and remember the legacy of their medium every time they create a story arc or new episode.

 

  1. You don’t want to be a cute little kid on this show. You’re going to be a tool of sorrow and gore in short order.

 

  1. Dystopian and post-apocalyptic stories have great “unlikeable” characters. Is that part of the draw of these tales? We can finally hate people with generous gusto because the stakes are so raised? I don’t give one shit about likeability in general. We see a character like Merle Dixon, an odious person, so far from redemption, someone that makes us think, “ugh.” But this show isn’t presenting Merle Dixon as a babysitting candidate for our children. Merle Dixon is a symbol for cruelty and generational bigotry and horror and macho destruction. Michael Rooker is a very skilled actor who makes this character come alive. You might not want Merle to be your friend or neighbor, but he sure made me sit up straight whenever he came on screen. Unlikeable characters often translate to “electrifying personae” in my view.

 

  1. I don’t watch this show for gore. I don’t care about grossness and blood. It became a joke after season 2 when Daryl dug open the walker looking to see if ate Sophia and learned “this gross fucker had himself a woodchuck for lunch.” I don’t know what to say to people who can’t stand gore. It’s there. I turn away. I watch enough “behind-the-scenes” content that I know exactly how the zombie heads are made to rip away from the fake skulls anyway.

 

  1. The violence in The Walking Dead interests me more than the gore, which might sound counterintuitive. But as I mentioned in point #3, the idea of what makes us human is the constant ethic being pressed up against in this story. That we are animals isn’t something I have trouble with; I can see our needs as animals. What is harder to express is what makes someone inhuman. Being inhuman is not the same as being an animal, I think. There is some other rubric being put in play when we dehumanize ourselves and others. I don’t know what that is but it’s a question that’s constantly being examined in this show and one that I enjoy seeing depicted. So violence is a part of that recipe.

 

  1. The best part of this show is that each character is very well-rounded. That is what brings me back. Every character has a depth and a backstory and a set of motivators that marks him or her. While I want to make out with Daryl Dixon very consistently, he’s not my current favorite character. Last season, Michonne was my favorite. Right now, I’m most intrigued with Glenn. It’s hard to pick a favorite, honestly. They’re all so juicy and good.

 

  1. If this show gives me any kind of anxiety, it’s mainly that we need to stockpile seeds and keep making compost. A global food supply chain is not our friend when the world goes to hell, yall.

 

  1. The Walking Dead helped me to understand the point of fan-fiction. Now I write it and enjoy this very much. When the season ends on March 29th, I will certainly go back to writing more of it as well as reading it. In my view, the best fanfiction has sex in it, because this show is not generous about romance (except with the Governor, eww), so feel free to hit me up with your favorite fic links in the off-season.

Meet Our Guest Blogger:

Carrie Mesrobian has worked as a teacher in both public and private schools; my writing has appeared in the StarTribune, Brain, Child magazine, Calyx, and other web and print publications. She teaches teenagers about writing at The Loft Literary Centerin Minneapolis.

My first two books, Sex & Violence & Perfectly Good White Boy were published by Carolrhoda LAB.

My third book, Cut Both Ways, (HarperCollins), will be released September 2015.

 

About Cut Both Ways:

“Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy.

Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly?

Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home.

Deciding who to love, who to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most.”

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