October 22, 2012

What Is Our Obsession With Zombies?

For the longest time, I rejected everything zombie, simply because it seemed like the newest fad. Vampires became passé when everyone finally realized how annoying Kristin Stewart is, so the public had to find something new. Zombies became the next logical step. So I avoided all things zombie simply because. It’s sort of like buying a Camry. It’s the best-selling passenger car and has been for years. Apparently there’s some appeal, but having the same car as everyone else doesn’t appeal to me. Neither did the zombie craze.

I guess you could say I’ve secretly been driving a Camry. Somehow I succumbed to the zombie interest, and I’ll blame it on Netflix. That service exposed me to the previous seasons of “The Walking Dead” and I ended up watching the episodes, back to back, wasting 46 minutes at a time until my eyes glazed over. I would hole up in my house alone, keeping my dirty little zombie secret. So I’ll blame it on Netflix.

Okay. So I found one show I enjoyed. What’s the big deal? I saw a few movies and they were all terrible. I didn’t see the attraction. With the exception of “The Walking Dead,” I didn’t get it. I started thinking about why I liked the AMC Original Series so much. I finally hit on it: there is a real plot and, for the most part, all of it seems plausible. The human element exists and the campiness of a typical zombie movie does not. In the later episodes, they even started giving the plot more of a soap opera feel; just enough scandal to keep the wives watching too.

When I finally came out of the Zombie Closet and admitted it to others and, oh Lord, even liked “The Walking Dead” page on Facebook (so now you KNOW it’s globally public and undeniable), we started theorizing why the series became so popular.

People like the idea of killing people. Who hasn’t fantasized about bashing in the skull of a real person? But that’s murder. That’s bad. That makes you a nutjob. But killing a zombie? They aren’t people anymore. That’s different. In fact, it’s even considered good. Think of all the human flesh you’ll be saving by killing just one zombie!

And, if you remember what the guy at the CDC whispered into Rick’s ear, maybe we all feel a little bit of the undead inside of us. Maybe we know we’re all infected with that certain something that can turn us into monsters under the right conditions. Maybe we can identify with the zombie side of it as well.

For Texans, it echoes a struggle against all odds that we’re so familiar with: The Alamo. Remember it? (See? That was funny.) Zombie killers are typically small groups of people fighting against all odds. The defenders of the Alamo were a small group fighting against all odds as well. Well, okay…maybe I’m the only who made that connection but, whatever.

Not entirely, however. I found another blogger who likens the American zombie obsession to the way our country was started. Perhaps those of y’all a bit more politically involved than I am would find interest in this explanation for why America enjoys the idea of a zombie apocalypse. There’s always the allure of an underdog story, whether it’s factual history or a show on the big screen.

I also, personally, like the idea of zombies because that’s how I feel about the majority of the people I encounter in this world: they’re mindless, clumsy, and travel in herds, following each other. Maybe that’s a little harsh. It’s not like I’m superior to others but, sometimes it feels like it. My job doesn’t exactly foster confidence in the future of the human race. Oh, and I’m amazed at how many people eat ribs like a zombie. I like BBQ joints so, yes, I’ve seen a lot of that. Eww.

I confess that, yes, I’ve become a zombie fan. I will defend my obsession by clarifying that it’s limited to “The Walking Dead,” whether it’s the comic book, the video game series, or the TV series.

Please interact with me. Love zombies or hate them? Leave a comment and let me know which it is and why. I’d like to hear others’ reasons!

Image Credit: Photos.com

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