Thursday, December 9, 2010

Coping with withdrawals, or: I finished watching The Walking Dead, now how do I carry on with my life?

For the past five or so weeks, I have received one question, over and over, from friends and family members, from facebook people I don't know, even from major media outlets:

"Are you watching The Walking Dead?"

Or, if you're my Grandma, "Are you watching that show on that channel that has people turning into some kind of creature? I think it's vampires? That doesn't look like anything I'd want to watch. They put the damndest things on tv these days, it's no wonder that kids are being violent."

Up until three days ago, I was wondering where all of this was coming from. At first I thought, "What the hell, guys? Do you even know me at all? I don't watch stuff like that. I watch Family Guy and reruns of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I like dumb, goofy stuff that is easy to understand while high. I don't watch "serious drama".

(Yes, that's kind of a lie, I have been watching and enjoying Boardwalk Empire this season, but my point stands)

I thought people were recommending The Walking Dead because I write about vampires and ghoulish stuff. Also, since 2006 I've been telling everyone that will listen about this awesome idea for a zombie book that no publisher wants to buy and that's too bad for them because it will go down in history as the best zombie book ever written. Everyone just wants funny zombie books, and this one is going to be scary beyond all belief, but maybe the tides are starting to turn, what with this new show and Romero getting back in the game. Did you guys know that Mister Rogers and George A. Romero were friends, and that Mister Rogers thought Night of The Living Dead was "a lot of fun"?

I got off track somewhere. Oh, The Walking Dead. Right. So, At first I was pretty sure that people were just assuming I would love The Walking Dead because I write gross-out stuff. The same way all my friends assumed I would like Firefly because I liked Buffy, and they were all wrong. I became resistant to the idea of watching it, just because people were hyping it up so much. I went to my friend Scott's house, and he convinced me to watch just the opening scene of the series (extremely graphic, so be warned):

Yes, that's the opening. There's no wading in to see how the water is. This is where you dive right into the show. I was intrigued. More so when Scott explained that the show is adapted from a comic. So, at least I knew it was written by someone passionate about telling a good story, because let's face it, comic writers are the best storytellers we have in our culture right now. I promptly went home and obtained episodes of the show through entirely legal means that do not in any way involve a word that rhymes with "warrant", and started watching. I thought, "I'll [totally not download] the whole series, in case it hooks me, and I'll give the pilot a chance." I watched all five episodes in one day, only to learn that the season finale would air the next day. Once I got the chance to watch the finale, I thought to myself, "Okay. Great. Now what?"

That's the state I have been operating in for the past twenty-four hours. "Okay. Great. Now what?" Because this was a pilot season, AMC only produced six episodes. They've already renewed the show for another season, but rumor has it that one won't release until Halloween of 2011. That's a long time for me. I need to know what happens next. It's bad enough that Harry Dresden left me hanging this year, I can't take another cliffhanger.

If you, like myself, are working through this strangely grief-like state, I recommend the following:

1. Stay calm and put a cold washcloth over your eyes.
2. Take up smoking. I don't care what. Cigarettes, grass, insulation. You gotta do something to take the edge off.
3. Write fan fiction, but only good stuff. I'm not kidding, I really don't need to stumble across any The Walking Dead MPREG or "Everyone is in high school and also Twilight is there".
4. Oh my god, what happened to Merle? They let the whole season finish and they never wrapped that up? I'm going to go shake and cry in a corner.
5. Shake and cry in a corner.
6. Panic. Just blindly panic.

I have no answers. We're all in this together, people who watched The Walking Dead. People who didn't watch it, I'm not going to tell you to watch it. Because then you'd be in this same predicament. What I'm going to suggest is that you wait. You wait until the new season starts. Then, you start watching season 1, one episode a week, until you are are always six weeks behind and your viewing pleasure can last longer, cutting your withdrawal time down by six weeks. You're welcome.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Joss, you chubby ginger fuck.

I have cut Joss Whedon a lot of slack over the years. When he allowed the atrocity that was Buffy/Spike. When he couldn't stop whining about networks not giving him a chance while he had two successful cult franchises in his wake. When he mentioned Firefly's cancellation in every interview for two years. When I realized that no matter what show he wrote, he would always be leaving out non-white characters and making women into his ultimate strong-woman-helpless-emotionally jack off fantasy in which Eliza Dushku looks slightly shocked and saddened as she punches him in the throat while begging him for help in learning the ways of love.

Okay, that last one is admittedly me losing patience with him. But his latest transgression is far and away a hundred times worse than any dickbag move he's made so far. Buffy fans be warned, there will be comic spoilers from here out.

Joss Whedon killed Giles.

For reasons that I can only chalk up to just not giving a shit, in the January Buffy comic, Angel, who is evil again, kills Giles by breaking his neck. I remember something like that happening before. In season two. When killing a character actually meant something in the Buffy verse and before everyone expected Joyce to be back any minute.

Joss recycled Giles's girlfriend's death to kill Giles.

I can see what he was going for. For Giles to die by the hand of the vampire who killed the woman he loved, in the same manner as she died, years after reconciling with the man who killed her and coming to trust him enough to fight beside him, should have packed an emotional wallop. It would have been perfect, if he hadn't waited for the series to end before he did it. You can't do a "call-back" to an episode that aired over ten years ago and expect it to have the effect you intended. Instead, it looks like you've run out of ideas. And when that lack of creativity extends to a beloved character, fans are going to be pissed.

I know the Buffy comics are supposed to be canon, but as a fan, I cannot and will not accept any of the trainwreck that is the Buffy comics. No "Dawn loses her virginity and becomes a giant," no "Buffy is lesbian now because Joss can't function without the thought of girl parts touching and straight women who have bad enough luck with men will naturally become gay," no "Giles is dead, aren't I awesome at making you feeeeeel things?" The Buffy comics bear no resemblance at all to the show the I remember, and I can add that to my list of reasons why Joss Whedon is an overrated jackass.