By Jim Foote
But after having watched last night's episode, I felt compelled to come back into the tangent writing arena and put together a little something. Don't worry, this isn't a review of the episode or even a piece lambasting TWD. They just lit the fire in me... and oh lord, this fire burns. Hit read more if you're ready for the jump.
I remember thinking it was a real shitty thing to do, leaving the viewers without any resolution for all those months. But then I thought about it...
They don't owe us anything.
Let that sit with you for a moment. After the deaths of Glenn and Abraham (which I totally predicted by the way), I saw the outpouring of facebook, twitter, and overall internet screams. To quote Negan, I say, "It's an emotional moment, I get it." But then that reaction took a turn. Viewers felt duped, crossed, betrayed, etc. Some claimed they'd never watch it again... which they will. Here's the thing though: they don't own the viewers anything. They don't owe it to us to keep certain characters alive or to end certain storylines for characters you don't like. It's all their creation... their intellectual property... their business.
TWD has a lot of weaknesses, any of which can be the reason you tune out. Too much filler, uneven pacing, paper thin characters, retreads of old storylines, spotty writing, etc. But if you think they owe you something... you're just being downright silly.
Now being emotional, yelling, crying, etc. at a show or movie... that's great. If anything, it shows you how much the show/movie has attached itself to you. That's the mark of a good show. Can it grab you and keep your heart pounding? Turn you into Pepe Silvia, trying to figure out all kinds of things? I mean, TWD turned people into a bunch of Pepes in trying to find out who Negan killed.
"wtf walking dead... how could you do that to me? that's it, not watching this shit anymore."
They didn't DO anything to YOU. Revel in the ability this show has to grip you like it did. Hell, hate the show for any of the reasons I listed before. But this "how could you do this to me?" C'mon. You're being silly. In reality, you're taking a big ol' dump on a show you claimed to be your favorite time and time again. You'll watch it again, trust me. Think of Negan pulling Rick into the winnie and his speech to the gang as the creators way of talking about and to the viewers. "It's emotional. I get it." We, the viewers, may think the people running the show owe us something. We're Rick and we just found out we don't know shit. They're Negan and they can do whatever we want.
I'm at a cross roads with TWD and it has nothing to do with who they killed. Hell, Abraham was my favorite character on the show. But that's all he is... a character on a show. What gets me is all of these filler episodes with side characters they either retread old stories with or ultimately build them up just to kill them in a meaningless way for shock value. Will I continue to watch it? Probably. It's more out of habit now than anything else, but continue I most likely will.
Let's skip to something I absolutely hated and will not be watching again... Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Now I'm not sure how Josh feels about what I'm about to say, as his thoughts are well documented on this film and the entire DCU already. I will say this though... they can do whatever they want with the characters. They're DC's characters. Where the disdain and criticism come in is with the actual filmmaking and decision making from a logical standpoint. Make a piece of garbage and I'm not pretending like it's a bouquet of flowers. That being said, they still don't owe anything to the viewers. It's business. Sure, it may be bad business, but it's business nonetheless.
Do you see what I'm getting at? Maybe. Maybe not. Let me roll with this next part, then.
Really? He proceeds to go on and on about how much of a toll it's taken on all of us, how we're all a family and we'll mourn and get through the entire process together, etc. This brings me to the main crux of my argument here. It's one thing to get emotional for a show or movie. We forge connections with certain forms of media and in some cases, even use transference to use those for our own happiness and to deal with our own problems. That's great. That's the beauty of it all.
Hardwick, however, is just doing his job. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time he said anything negative about the show, recognized any faults or foibles, or even hard pressed the creators/show runners on their bait and switches or attention grabs with cliffhangers. To anyone who thinks that will change, I ask you to gain perspective and recognize it. It's his job to keep pushing the show. He'll bring on a random week's guest star and talk up their acting as if it's Tom Hanks in Philadelphia. While I don't want to play down anyone's acting ability or time put in, Hardwick becomes very one note. Everything he says or does can be predicted, as it's all the same. The next time a fan favorite gets killed, he'll shill it and act as if they're real and it's the greatest show in television. To some, it may very well be and that's not what I'm debating. It's a weird show where he talks to the actors as if they are the characters, as if they can easily give away future stories. If they did give away future stories, they would all complain about spoilers. It's a very weird landscape that feeds into itself. With all of it, it still does make for an entertaining show when they actually adhere to story and the characters just operate within it instead of the story operating within the characters.
That being said... can we stop treating these turns like we lost a real life family member? Isn't that going a little bit too far? Hey, guess what Glenn and Abraham are doing right now? Nothing... because they don't exist. I'm not sitting here telling you not to get invested in a show you really enjoy. Do it. Let your emotions out... but don't start acting as if they're real life passings and you just DON'T KNOW HOW YOU CAN GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE.
Let's say it more clearly if need be...
Or maybe not. What do I know...