The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes and Me
If you’ve read About Me, The Director’s Cut (yeah, I’m that cool) (okay, maybe I’m not that cool, but it’s sort of mean for you to point that out right now considering how this is my blog and everything, but whatever ) then you know I’ve got a fear/fascination relationship with zombies. Well, not zombies themselves, like personally (I don’t actually know any zombies), but zombie culture .
It’s the gore. I have a thing about gore. I don’t like the gore and zombies always seem to be covered in the gore. It’s creepy.
Oh, and also they want to eat people and no matter how many zombies you kill there will always be more coming right behind them and they keep coming and coming and oh my God you’re gonna die and I’m gonna die but you’re gonna die first and I swear I didn’t mean to trip you but it doesn’t even matter because it only bought me like five minutes and I’m still gonna die!
So anyway, um, yeah, the zombie thing really creeps me out. But I just can’t keep away from it. When I first wrote that About Me, I said I was sure I’d end up watching AMC’s The Walking Dead. As of now I’ve seen the first two seasons. (Because I bought them. They’re in my house! Oh my goodness, what’s wrong with me?) The second half of season 3 starts this Sunday, and I’ll hopefully get completely caught up then.
Not surprisingly, I’ve gotten somewhat desensitized to the gory stuff. Very surprisingly, I got crazy caught up in some of the characters. And I don’t mean crazy as in “a lot”. You know, like a regular person. I mean crazy-ray emotionally wound up by certain people on the show who just made me so very angry. Like pissed off angry. Like that guy just made me SO MAD.
Ok, it was Rick.
Yeah, I know how much you hated Lori, and she was bad . Really pretty awful. Horrible. Horrible Lori.
But for me it was Rick.
I watched season 2 pretty quickly, in three sittings, and by the end of it I was practically furious with Rick. I gave vent to my Rick anger in a couple of other blogger’s comments: Rick is a terrible leader, he pretty much took leadership of the group without being asked to do it, he makes decisions based on his own emotional needs without regard to what’s best for group survival. He thinks he’s the only one capable of making good decisions, but he agonizes over each and every one, and then he goes into a woe-is-me cry-baby routine when things don’t turn out like he thought they would. Man up, Rick! This is the apocalypse, dude! You’re gonna have to make some tough choices, so just do it. Be a real leader or step down and let someone take charge who’s willing to make some decisions worthy of the zombie apocalypse.
I was pretty obnoxious.
Honestly, it felt really good to rant. But then I starting thinking about why. Why was I so upset with this fictional character? And why was I so enamored of Daryl? Okay duh, but really, I was drawn to him as a character. And Carol, too. I greatly admired traits that Carol and Daryl possessed. (Carol and Daryl. Have you seen the little Hello Kitty Carol and Daryls? I’m sorry but that’s just cute.)
Daryl is self-assured, self-sufficient, competent. I’m sure he’d rather live, but his actions aren’t entirely governed by a fear of his or anyone else’s death. Daryl and Carol are both resilient, they are survivors. Carol has suffered a great loss, but she plods along and does the best she can with what she’s got. She adapts and just keeps going; she doesn’t let things destroy her.
I think it’s interesting that you have a character like Rick who has a mental collapse when his wife dies, a woman who he doesn’t seem to even like that much anymore. Then you have Carol, who has to watch her daughter get gunned down because she’s a zombie – a zombie, ya’ll – but she continues to be mentally stable. I think Rick maybe takes on more than he’s equipped to handle, and then he buckles under the pressure.
As I thought about these characters, I wondered which of these traits I’m drawn to because I recognize that as part of who I am. And which am I drawn to because I wish that’s who I was? Wait, is that really it?
And then what of the traits that I despise – is it because those are the things I don’t like about myself?
So, yeah. I slowly realized that Carol is who I think I am, Daryl is who I wish I was, and Rick…darn you Rick! Rick is pretty much a lot of who I really am.
I often bite off more than I can chew. I want to be in control and make the decisions; I want to be a leader. But sometimes I find that I’m not up to that challenge. I think I can do things better than somebody else, but then I screw it up or I realize that the job was way harder than I imagined. I definitely second guess my decisions all the time, and I beat myself up way too much when I fail.
So the largest part of my Rick anger was because I thought he was a weak leader, and I identified with a lot of the things that I think made him a weak leader.
Even though that kinda sucks, I’m glad that I can see myself clearly enough to recognize my faults. Ok, some of my faults. And it’s a good thing to see traits in others that you can aspire to, even if they’re seen in fictional characters. Heck, it’s just good to know what kind of person you would like to be. It’s harder to put a stake in that than you’d think.
Wait, that’s a vampire reference.
It’s harder to put a bullet through the brai…
Ugh. I’m sorry, I just can’t do it. You get it.
Oh and also: I would never trip you, I promise. Everyone else, but never you.
Realizing all that didn’t make me less mad at him. Really, I want my tv heroes to be stronger than I am, and I guess that’s kind of the bottom line. True to that, as soon as Rick chopped the guy in the head in season 3, I suddenly wasn’t angry anymore. I was all team Rick again. I like forceful Rick who won’t put up with somebody trying to feed him to a zombie. Chop-group-survival-threats-in-the-head Rick is awesome.
Wait, if I’m like Rick, then that means I’m awesome too!
I knew it!
Items of Interest:
KnoxMcCoy.com (his Walking Dead recaps are the best – and funniest – as are TWD podcasts that he hosts)