The Problem With The Walking Dead - Why Ratings Are Dropping Like Flies
I’ve gone over this before, but my biggest problem with The Walking Dead is that the show has very much lost sight of its overall goal. I’m not talking about season to season, because each season has a goal. I’m talking about the entire show’s overall goal, the main goal of the whole story. From my understanding, the main goal in The Walking Dead’s graphic novels has always been for Rick to get to Washington, D.C., but the show doesn’t emphasize this fact. The closest the audience gets to Washington, D.C. is with Abraham Ford, Rosita Espinosa, and Eugene Porter. Abraham originally wanted to find a cure or at least answers for the outbreak by taking Eugene to Washington, D.C.
Abraham is very much an audience surrogate, which means that he’s “a character who expresses the questions and confusion of the audience, with whom the audience can identify” (source). Another reason that I believe Daryl Dixon is a popular character is because he also tends to act as an audience surrogate, asking the questions the audience would be asking, and feeling how the audience is feeling. Daryl has always been a voice for the audience, especially for the audience’s frustrations, even Glenn to a degree was able to voice the audience’s thoughts by saying to Rick (stuck in a tank) once, “Hey you. Dumb ass. Yeah, you in the tank. You cozy in there?”
The Walking Dead has always been a show about hopelessness. Typically, killing off characters who represent hope. It’s also been a story about humanity versus survival. Do we have to sacrifice our morality, everything that makes us human to survive? The tragedy about killing off Abraham early on is that he does represent that main goal in the story that gets pushed aside so often. In fact, before Abraham and Eugene the closest fans ever came to finding out real answers about the group’s situation was from Dr. Edwin Jenner at the CDC, who briefly informs Rick about the walkers, “It’s in our blood, we’re all carriers.” This subject is never touched upon again. Robert Kirkman, the creator of The Walking Dead has made it clear that, that’s not the story he wants to tell. Apparently, the show is not too keen on giving any answers. The tragedy being a fan and audience member of The Walking Dead is when we only get a flicker of light, a glimpse of hope from characters like Abraham and Dr. Jenner before the hope is completely taken away from us. This sense of hopelessness does work to the show’s advantage, because it’s an apocalyptic, zombie (walker) show. As an audience member, we’re feeling that same sense of hopelessness that the characters are feeling. However, after a period of time it feels redundant. It often leaves fans unfulfilled, because it is not a show that gives very many answers.
Perhaps Kirkman is trying to say something about hopelessness, but fans never know exactly where he’s going with the story and characters. What is known is that the show is almost entirely character driven. Fans watch the show because we care about the characters. That is because the actors are that good. The actors are literally carrying the show and that’s a heavy burden. Fans don’t watch the show because they care about the overall story, because there is no clear goal. I have no doubt that the show’s characters will eventually arrive at Washington, D.C. What I do doubt is that the audience will be given answers to questions they’ve had since season one. Questions such as, why did the world go to shit? What created the walkers? Is there a cure? What is happening in Washington, D.C.? Answers we may never know.
My biggest problem is that the show is not rewarding and that is a problem when you’re a television show. After the season six finale it’s clear that the show runners don’t take criticism well, and they did a grave disservice to all the actors in the finale’s deaths scene. The greatest disservice was to actors Steven Yeun and Michael Cudlitz, chopping up their performances by separating the deaths scene into two different episodes. This was only so the show runners, writers could have a “surprise,” even at the cost of the actors performances and respect for their character deaths.
Loyal fans have dedicated their time to this show and time they can’t get back. You have to keep your audience at least somewhat happy. As a fan of the show, you can dedicate years of your life to it and that’s exactly what many fans have done for The Walking Dead. Fans deserve to be somewhat satisfied. The problem with The Walking Dead is that its lost its sense of purpose. It is hardly ever a rewarding show. That is its biggest problem. That is why the ratings are dropping.You have to respect your audience when it comes to a television show and all I have ever seen from the show runners is disrespect. I’ve never seen a fan base more disrespected than The Walking Dead fan base. It’s really no wonder that fans are upset. It should be no surprise that the ratings are dropping. When ratings drop, they almost never go back up again.
I was reading some Caryl fanfics the other day (b/c that’s what I do anytime I’m in front of a computer screen) and it just reminded me of why I want Caryl to go canon so badly:
I’ve already talked about the social reasons as to why I want them canon, for it would shut down all the shitty stereotypes that we see on tv everyday. Caryl would give us a couple with a base of a strong friendship and unmatched understanding and trust. It would give us an example that you can find the person who’s right for you even if your middle aged or even if you’ve been married before, and it would be awesome to see Caryl basically give the middle finger to all the crappy ageist asshats.
Yet what I’m excited to see the most is just how Daryl and Carol will react to the more intimate moments together.
I cannot wait to see Carol discover that making love is not brutal, making love is not painful, and making love can feel good if the man you’re with treats you like a rare diamond, which we all know Daryl would treat her as such. I can’t wait to see her cry in a mixture of sadness yet joy, for she hated how long she had to deal with the likes of Ed, yet was so grateful to finally have an experience like this with Daryl.
I can’t wait to see Daryl take his time, reveal every inch of her slowly and carefully, never rough or forceful. I cannot wait to see him treat her like she’s priceless, kissing every inch of her body before even giving in to their sexual needs. I cannot wait to see his wide eyes take her in, gasping in awe of how beautiful she is to him even if she doesn’t think so herself.
I cannot wait to see them gaze into each other’s eyes when he’s inside of her, both of them gasping from not only the sexual desire but also the emotional connection they both feel. I can’t wait to see them smiling at each other as they bask in the feeling of them being joined. I cannot wait to see them so overwhelmed that they tear up, especially when they both climax because they’ll be shocked at how good this feels to be with each other.
And of course I cannot wait for the aftermath, seeing Daryl try to get his bearings as he laid his head on her breast, needing comfort from her. She smiles and kisses his head as she rakes her hands through his hair, not caring how heavy he felt, for his body surrounding her made her feel safe. Then we get a morning after cuteness, when Daryl holds her tightly against him as he caresses her back and looks at her lovingly.
I wonder if Gimple and Co. ever truly stop to think what this fandom and its ships mean to some of us. About how the terrible writing and character separation affects us.
For some of us, it’s so much more than a tv show.
For some of us, the couples that we ship are about so much more than kissing and sex.
Some of us NEED this fandom. To escape from, to cope with, to shut out the world. We need writers who don’t abandon our characters.
Some of us need our OTP to FINALLY get together after a million seasons of build up because it gives us hope that love can exist and be beautiful even in tragedy and darkness.
I am one of these people.
I suffer from an anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Sometimes it’s hard to leave my apartment or go to the dining hall and get lunch. I’ve been in fandoms before TWD, but this fandom has brought me out of my shell so much. I have related to these characters more than any other tv show. I have related to and learned from Carol and Daryl–my two favorites. Although I am getting better at coping with my anxiety and panic attacks, it’s still hard. But this show, this fandom, have been so helpful to me. I’ve made friends who get me. They get the struggles of this fandom and have similar life struggles as me. This fandom has helped me to embrace myself and my geeky fangirl self. I’ve discovered new hobbies through this fandom. New ways to channel my emotions and thoughts.
Through this fandom, I found my OTP in Caryl. I grew up with parents who have always cared for me and loved me unconditionally, but didn’t really love each other unconditionally. Carol and Daryl have shown me what true, unconditional love and acceptance can and should look like. They’ve fought, been separated, been hurt by each other and by others, and they have never once stopped accepting each other. Finding each other. Loving each other.
Gimple and Co. taking the time to really think about these characters and the fans that love them would do wonders for this show I believe. Trolling, misleading, and teasing fans isn’t funny or cute. Now it’s just frustrating and makes us want to leave the fandom, and that’s heartbreaking for some of us.
As a Caryler, finally having these two characters come together and be open with their love for each other would mean the world to me and more. And I know that I’m not alone in that.
I know this is technically “just a show”. And the characters are fictional. But for me, it’s been so much more. It’s changed my life.
Is it just me or is watching “The Walking Dead” like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I used to stream live now I can barely make myself watch it. Unless Carol is in it there is rarely not a lot of point. What have they done to Michonne? Sasha? Rosita? Carol? Tara? Maggie? Come on lets face it these stand alone eps have basically ruined the show. Only certain people want to watch a whole ep focused on Tara, or Rick and Michonne, Or Sasha and Rosita. Lets just say if all these eps were mixed up over five eps they would have been exciting but alone….
As much as I love Andrew Lincoln, the ONLY reason I stick around for this show is Melissa McBride. I am very much a Caryl shipper and do my utmost best to respect Norman Reedus because I love Daryl - but my unconditional love for Carol Peletier is what convinced me to stay.
I’m so screwed.
Okay, so for those of you that don’t know, I have this aversion to writing smut. It makes me ridiculously uncomfortable and I have no idea why because reading it is definitely not a challenge. So, my proposal is this; I’mm looking for a writer who is perfectly comfortable with writing smut for TWD characters and everytime you write for me, I’ll be sure to give you credit in the beginning of the fic. Plus, if you already read my fics, you’ll get to read what I’m editing before anyone else, so I guess that’s kinda cool. Inbox me if you’re interested! Love y’all x