Monday, October 24, 2016

A Bad Double Header

The Walking Dead made its highly anticipated return last night and delivered on new bad guy on the block Negan’s promise to take a life. But much like the stern reactions to the sixth season finale, the seventh sesson premiere had its share of people throwing up their hands including Rob Bricken
“We all knew the minute it was announced that Negan was coming to the show, that he would introduce himself by killing a main cast member. And that’s exactly what happened in the season six finale—he showed up and murdered somebody. We just didn’t find out who. So we haven’t been waiting all summer to see what happens next; we were waiting for a payoff to a scene that we’d not only watched, but that had been promised to us. The short-term result of the show’s decision was that it kept the audience obsessing for six months, which we did, and ensured we’d watch the season seven premiere. (I feel pretty confident guessing the ratings for the episode were phenomenal.) And the showrunners took every opportunity to hype the “big reveal”—how the cliffhanger would all make sense, how it would shock us, how it would devistate us. By fetishizing this one plot development, the makers of The Walking Dead amplified not only our desire to see it, but our need for it to pay off—to a degree that the show couldn’t possibly achieve.”
Paul Tassi accuses the show’s producers of resorting to “cheap tricks to try and mislead and manipulate the audience” and points to the approach used to obscure Glenn’s fate in the season six episode “Thank You” as an example:
“If that wasn’t bad enough, we arrive at last night, the conclusion to another cliffhanger that used this exact same trick. Everyone knew that last year’s finale was leading up to one of the most important moments in the entire series. But when the moment came, again, the show used the camera to trick viewers into “not knowing” the fate of a character, even as everyone else around witnessed the slaughter. This is as close as you can get to breaking the foutht wall without someone Jim Halpert mugging into the camera. This is creating cliffhangers using artificial mystery that is solely based around fooling the audience and essentially blackmailing them to tune in next year to see how it all works out.”
Lenika Cruz, who unleashed her frustration with the show back in April, now just sounds exhausted with the whole thing:
“I’ve come to realize that I don’t watch The Walking Dead because I think it’s a holistically great series (even though it has had many moments of brilliance). On some level I regret all the hours I could have invested in a different, better show—but I keep coming back out of habit, out of hope that something will change, because I still genuinely care about many of the characters. I’m far from the only person who feel this way, and AMC and the show’s executives know that all too well. Which is why they can take advantage of the show’s massive viewership and pull stunts that defy narrative integrity in the name of artistry.”
(Image: Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in the on-deck circle, AMC)

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