Did you guys watch the premiere of The Walking Dead on AMC? Since our lives are temporarily Draper-less, AMC wants us to fill that sad and gaping void in our souls with zombies. The basic premise is that a guy wakes up and there are zombies. I really don't need to explain it any more.
BUT OK, here's my thing. In one scene, The Main Guy (who's apparently a British actor and whose American accent is wonderfully fungible, flitting without a care from the Midwest to the South and back again) has met some of the Other Survivors and they are attempting to explain to him what's going on and what those creepy shuffling people outside are.
SO HERE'S THE THING: I realized that people in zombie movies or shows don't have any independent knowledge of zombie movies!!! So there's no frame of reference for them! Like, if you and me woke up in a newly zombified America (INSERT POST-ELECTION JOKE HERE HAR HAR HAR) and we found a Survivor and said "What the fuck's going on?" they could just say "Oh, it's zombies," and we'd be all "OHHHHHH, gotcha, that sucks, pass me a gun and a baseball bat. Are they fast zombies or slow zombies? Head shot do the trick on them or is there some other bullshit rule?"
But the people in zombie movies have never seen a zombie movie, so it doesn't work. In their universe, there was never a "28 Days Later" or even a "Shawn of the Dead." So some poor fuck has to explain the whole thing to them from scratch. Sucks to be you.
(AMUSING SIDE NOTE: How great would it have been if "28 Days Later" had been a sequel to the Sandra Bullock rehab story "28 Days"? And you had, like, zombie Sandra Bullock shuffling around going "BRAAAAIINS," and "I COULD UUUUUUSE A DRIIIIIINK." Anyway.)
Oh, shit! I just realized the Brit in charge of "Walking Dead" is that guy from "Love, Actually"! Another crossover potential! "Zombie Love, Actually"!
OK, since I'm a white male in a coastal city with a postgraduate degree, I listen to this podcast called the "Slate Culture Gabfest" in which other overeducated white people suck all the fun out of popular culture. Here's an example from a couple of weeks back. See if you can guess what the egghead is talking about:
Well, let me begin by saying I think there are two pretty obvious reactions to have to [this thing]. The first is, in a weird way, the most obvious one, I think, in this day and age, is to have a kind of “Oh, it’s Rabelaisian, it’s, you know, it’s Howard Stern meets skater punk meets Rabelais meet de Sade meets Buñuel,” like a kind of, you know, the high-low mish-mash that every critic alive . . . likes to employ as a way of patting themselves on the back for their postmodern eclecticism. And the other obvious response is the Rome-is-burning response. And I found myself having incoherently and somewhat frenetically toggling back and forth between those two responses.
Give up? He's talking about "Jackass 3-D." Yes, the movie where a guy gets shot up into the sky in a Porta-Pottie full of shit. I don't know what "Rabelaisian" is, so maybe "Jackass 3-D" really is Rabelaisian, I don't know, but fuck, do we have to grad-seminar everything? Can't anything just be stupid and meaningless? Let's continue:
Another way of looking at it is sometimes Rome does burn, and there is something profoundly disturbing about how this is not – if this is on the margins of a culture, I think there’s kind of a celebratory vitality to it that one can participate in. When it moves to the very center of the culture, you then have to start thinking about what it’s displacing and what it means and what it means that these people are approaching middle age. . . . We can stop talking about – as if there’s some horrible nanny figure, a Mr. Chips figure, that’s the dominant mode of American thinking and feeling that’s somehow being flouted here. This is the dominant mode of American thinking and feeling. I think it demands being regarded seriously.
No, you silly goof, this is not the "dominant mode of American thinking and feeling." I'm not even that cynical. If you're basing your view of what the DMOATAF is on box office receipts, then the DMOATAF is wanting to be a 12-foot-tall blue creature who flies around on a pterodactyl and where everything looks like you're shrooming.
It's entertainment. I mean, I don't personally find it entertaining, but it's probably healthier to watch than public executions or bear-baiting or any of the other really fucked-up shit people used to watch for entertainment. I wouldn't freak out. There's a huge box office for uplifting and educational shit too.
That's what happens when you overthink everything. Eggheads.
Have a good weekend, everybody!