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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pending Apocalypse


If you follow me on Facebook it’s no secret I am obsessed with the show The Walking Dead, which is really quite strange considering I hate gory movies of any kind. It isn't the zombies that I’m fascinated with but instead it’s the characters of the show, and the revelation of just how humankind reacts in extreme situations. It’s quite revealing to say the least. We never know what we’re capable of until we’re placed in that situation.
But the characters of this show are so multifaceted and three dimensional that writers should really pay attention.They truly seem to come alive each Sunday night. Each character is flawed and each contributes to the group in some form or another. I won’t name them all but here are some examples of my favorite characters.
 Rick Grimes is a small town sheriff who wakes from a coma into an apocalyptic world. It’s really been interesting to watch his transition from a man who still clings to his moral code in an increasingly horrifying world to a leader who must make inhumane choices. He brings a sense of honor to the group and although he loses it temporarily after the death of his wife, the audience still sees him struggle through right and wrong.
Daryl Dixon is an adept survivalist, a biker, and a general redneck. His trek from the unemotional outcast into the binding aspect of the group has been fascinating to say the least. The least likely leader becomes the glue of the group. His survival skills are what has kept the group alive so far but it’s his loyalty to those he loves that’s kept the audience in their seats.
Carol Peletier has the most unique and challenging character arc to date. Carol is a woman whose endured an abusive husband and a mother in the first season, and transitioned into the most hard-core adaptive character in the show. She’s evolved into a strong woman who does what needs to be done.
Hershel Greene offered the group asylum in the second season at his farm and becomes the moral compass of the group. As a recovering alcoholic and a man of faith, he has become the last vestiges of humanity in a frightening chapter of this new life. He has a strong ethical code and his wisdom and experience as a veterinarian has saved the group on numerous occasions.
Now as we near the end of the fourth season I've begun to see that the traits you would normally assume would be needed to survive in the apocalyptic world, aren't always the traits that really contribute to the group. Survival skills can be learned . Most of these characters didn't even know how to shoot a gun in episode one. In fact one of the characters named Andrea didn't even know how to take the safety off her pistol. Interestingly, she learned and became one of the most proficient marksmen by the end of last season. So survival skills are much like writing skills, it’s a muscle you can train and work out once you learn how to do it properly.
But what differentiates between life and death or better yet, sanity versus madness, comes from your own personal character traits. And the list is so long. Each of us have something we can contribute to the group. For example: Morality, faith, comedic relief (you would be surprised how much laughter can heal a tattered soul) caution, confidence, courage. All of these and more can be considered contributions to your group. How about a good listener? How many of us will need that shoulder to lean on? Gentleness. How appreciative of a gentle touch would you be if you were wounded? Clever. We could use some clever, crafty ideas during the apocalypse, right? And while we’d all like to think we’re leaders, let’s face it we’re going to need those who follow directions well. (I have to admit I will be a follower in this make-believe apocalypse honestly. There is no way I would even know what to do should the world collapse.)
I think my greatest contribution would be that I am dutiful. Give me a task to do and it’ll get done. And I’d like to think I’m pretty strong and good nurturer, despite that I can’t cook. But that's a whole different blog post there. So while we’re celebrating excellent character traits for our pretend Pending Apocalypse what trait do you have that would be a huge contribution to your group?
  
    

20 comments:

  1. Oh Suzie! I adore The Walking Dead. And like most women who watch the show, Daryl is my favorite. There's just something about a capable man with a crossbow but who is also sensitive even though you'd never suspect it from his appearance.

    My survival skill? I think I'm in trouble. I mean there is no place for a diva in Rick's apocalyptical world. :) Maybe camp storyteller...?

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    1. Ava,
      I think you're pretty scrappy. We could put you on fence duty. ;)

      Actually, you have amazing organizational skills. I think you could whip our prison into shape. You would definitely be on the council if not the leader.

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    2. LOL Samantha I think you may be right! I would also say that Ava is an excellent organizer. I mean look at what she does with her career and our Christmas Anthology! You wouldn't think it would be an important trait to have but I guarantee it would come in handy when making plans!

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    3. Aww. You're both sweet. As for "scrappy" Sam, that's mostly verbal and I'm not sure the zombies would care how "clever" I can turn a phrase. ;)

      But I'll definitely take a seat on the council. I am good a being bossy (Just ask my son.) I'm glad you both think I'm so well organized. My desk would say otherwise, but I'll take compliments where I can. LOL

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  2. Suzie,
    I love, love, LOVE The Walking Dead! The characters are fascinating.

    Okay, here's what I think I could bring to the group. I have a lot of experience with getting people through an emotional crisis and helping them keep a sense of hope. I'm a good cook. I'm smart and good at problem-solving. I have fairly good aim with a gun, and I'm sure I could get better with practice.

    Just don't ask me to take care of the babies or do any math. LOL Those are not my strengths.

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    1. Sam, I had no idea you could aim so well with a gun. (Now, I'm re-thinking anything "scrappy" I might have said to you.)

      You are good in a crisis. Very calm and level headed. I think those would be a definite pluses too.

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    2. LOL. Well, fortunately I'm also very loyal and get a kick out of scrappy gals. ;)

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    3. I think those are all excellent qualities! I am currently learning how to shoot a gun myself and it's been a lot of fun. I do have some self defense training, too. But I think the fact that you're a good cook would make having you in a group invaluable lol. People like me and Ava are SOL!! And I have to agree with Ava that you're calm and level headed, too. I've found my apocalypse group partner and no, you guys can't have her!! =P

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  3. I'm continually amazed that TWD was the top TV show in the adult demo last year--AND IT'S ON CABLE. Crazy. I often wonder why I subject myself to the grossness of it, it really is disgusting and gory. But you are right, it's the characters. The stuff with Carol this season is pretty intense (no spoilers). True what you said about the survival skills, but it's also about communal living and trust. And those who can't be trusted is a real theme in the series. I'd venture that trust over survival is the real theme, though you could argue that in order to survive, you must also trust.

    The Daryl devotion also astounds me. People are OBSESSED with Daryl Dixon.

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  4. Stephsco, I have to admit that I'm one of those obsessed with Daryl. He's come a long way from the outcast and his character has evolved into a wonderful, caring man. I think my favorite scene was when he named Rick's baby "little a** kicker." It was so sweet.

    But yes, it's definitely the characters because I have to turn away from the gore honestly. There were times I had to change the channel due to the sounds. Not to mention all of the nightmares I've had due to this show lol. But the show is addictive, like a drug. I have to know what happens, even after my favorite character (Lori) died. But Carol quickly took her place. I have to agree I am loving Carol's story.

    And yes, that was exactly my point that there are other traits we have and that we need in such a situation, other than survival skills. And I think you've nailed it, trust is the biggest. How will we be able to trust mankind once the world has gone to you-know-what? Who is the bigger threat the zombies or other humans? Clearly this show has shown that humankind is the worst enemy to have. Excellent contribution Stephsco!

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  5. We all know that *I* don't watch the walking dead. I'm not a zombie fan. That stuff just freaks me out. I have offer to be zombie lunch meat, but Sam told me she wouldn't leave behind, because I'm Bibi to her Amelia. So, I might be dead weight.

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    1. LOL. I better start working out more if I'm carrying people! ;)

      But no way would I leave you behind.

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    2. No! We don't leave men or women behind here! Samantha I'll help you carry Melody. We'll take turns. =D

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  6. I love The Walking Dead!!!! Hmm, what would I contribute to the group. Well, sadly, I would have no trouble pumping 'em full of lead. I don't care who they used to be, nobody is snacking on my biscuits! ;)

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    1. ROFLMAO! Omg I love you, Andris! That is a classic line. I really think you would make an excellent character for The Walking Dead. I mean really can you imagine a character saying "Nobody is snaking on my biscuits" right before she bashes the head of a zombie??

      Oh that would be awesome! They need some comic relief anyway after four years of darkness. I'm telling you Andris, you need to go audition for TWD!!

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    2. Bahaha! Well, I did take acting classes in Chicago a loooong time ago, but these biscuits are a little to fluffy for public consumption nowadays. ;)

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    3. ROFLMAO! Oh you crack me up, Andris!

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  7. I'm a good cook and I will help everyone win Zombie Cribbage (http://www.chroniclebooks.com/titles/zombie-cribbage.html). I wish I was a Zombie fan, so I had an excuse to buy that cribbage board....

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    1. And you cook gourmet! You are definitely in! :)

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