News Column

Duluth News Tribune Beverly Godfrey column

September 21, 2013


Sept. 21--There's blood and guts and gore everywhere. Friends die, the strong falter, loyalty crumbles, and no one is safe. You never know where the next bad thing will jump out.

Eventually, I had to stop watching "The Walking Dead." I couldn't get the fear out of my head.

But it's well-written and well-acted. The characters are engaging, and the problem they face, in the context of the show, of course, is real and important: zombie apocalypse.

It's fun to watch a show alongside your friends and family, to be a part of the entertainment zeitgeist, and you can't get more current with the times than zombies. Even my 3-year-old knows they "eat your brains," a product of the cartoon video game "Plants vs. Zombies."

But unlike the funny game, "The Walking Dead" is scary, and I have about a month to make an important decision: Do I want to catch up and be ready for Season Four when it starts again in October?

If yes, then I first should apologize to a friend, whom I scolded when she posted a comment on Facebook the night Season Three premiered.

I don't have cable TV, so I subscribe to the show, available the next day.

"No spoilers!" I told her, and then chickened out about watching it.

Despite this proclivity to being a big baby, I did enjoy watching the first two seasons with my husband. There's a lot of dark humor and "oh no he didn't!" moments.

And even if I'm watching through my fingers, I appreciate a show that can surprise me.

But after a while, the zombies began to live in the woods around my house. I'd easily dismiss the real dangers of bears and skunks while taking out the trash in the dark, and instead imagine the living dead.

When I was a kid, I thought it was a matter of maturity to like scary movies. "A Nightmare on Elm Street" was big then, and even hearing friends describe it gave me the willies.

It was part of growing up to realize I don't have to like those movies in order to be a grown-up. And in the case of "The Walking Dead," I like the show despite the gore and not because of it.

Fortunately or unfortunately, this is a decision that won't ever go away. It's not as if it aired, I missed it, and that's it. The variety of choices in TV viewing makes things more complicated than that. I can subscribe to shows on iTunes and Amazon, watch stuff on Netflix and online, or get the boxed set of DVDs, if I want to be old-fashioned.

My teenage son has now watched the first two seasons, and he's pushing for us to buy Season Three. When he was about 6, I picked a wood tick out of his ear, a moment of courage that rose from necessity as his mom. So I think maybe, for my child, I can finish watching the zombie show, too.

Beverly Godfrey is a News Tribune copy editor and can be reached at bgodfrey@ Season Four of "The Walking Dead" will premiere Oct. 13 on AMC.


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