The Walking Dead?

Hi folks, it has been a while since I posted any thing but I wanted to chat a bit about TWD today!  If you have not watched the episode, click away. NOW.  Here is harmless picture before I start talking about the plot of Sunday's episode. As always, if you have comic book knowledge, please keep it to yourself unless asked!  This discussion is about the TV show.

The first question is who will be the first of the above two to be killed off?

Ok thats not really why I wanted to write today.

My question, and this can be answered by you comic book readers if needed, is what time is this world set in?  Obviously it is recent... but how recent? Or is it an alternative universe sort of setting? As I understand the comic setting, there was no zombie culture... so the word does not exist and this is why we get different groups calling the undead different names.

But can we zoom in on a time? I am guessing 1998 or so.  Why?

Well first, there is not a lot of difference in style between now and the late 90s.  Not that our characters are paragons of style any way, but Khaki pants, jeans, boots, corduroy, etc.

Weaponry is very much the same too.

There were some new cars like the Dodge Charger, but that is just about advertising, not continuity.

So why are we in the late 90s?  Well cell phones were still fairly in their infancy. not EVERYONE had one.  I did not own a cell until late 1999. And at most they were simply still just phones then. In none of the flashback scenes that I can think of do we see a cell phone in any ones hands.  There may have been one in the background here and there... Example? Take the flashback scene with Shane and Lori, Carol and her Husband on the road when Atlanta got fire bombed.  Were that today, every person sitting around, including Carol's husband, would have had their eyes glued to their devices... holding them up in the air trying to get service... etc.  This addiction to cell phones is a post 2005 thing.

You also don't see any cell towers. I drive down a parkway to get to work every day. There are cell towers every couple miles. Not only that, any water tower, stand alone or on a roof, or chimmey also has cell receivers on it.  In TWD, you don't see em any where. The water tower in the last episode had none of these. Granted the south is less populated and needs less cell towers... but still.  The lack of people on their devices and lack of evident cell towers screams pre 2005 and more closer to 2000.

Why is this even an issue?

The ghostly black and white photographs that Aaron used to try to convince the gang to join Alexandria.

Even in today's world, finding actual film in a film camera is a challenge. Finding the chemicals to develop them?  Good luck. I teach in one of the most Art supportive states in the country and even here most high schools have cut traditional photography. You really wont just find this stuff hanging around.  In a zombie apocalypse version of today's world?  I just can't imagine finding dark room supplies. Aaron explained that the camera was damaged and there were limited supplies or whatever so he couldnt print a pic of people.  But this is my problem.  Why restrict yourself to a film camera? Even if Aaron was skilled in developing film... why spend the time?

Reason two why TWD takes place pre 2000!

No digital cameras.

The leader of Alexandria sent out his recruitment scouts to try to bring in more deserving survivors, armed with horrible prints of ghostly, unpopulated walls and such.  Why???  If getting more survivors was such a priority, and using photographs to lure them in was their main tactic, why wouldnt they use good pictures?

While finding a working film camera, working film, and chemicals to develop it would be a chore in today's world... I would imagine every empty house in zombie apocalypse Alexandria would have at least one working digital camera, Ipad, phone... you name it.  Also there has to be at least one house per block that has a computer and a working printer.  Why not just devote some gasoline to a generator for ten minutes, scrounge up a working PC and printer, and print some nice pictures? Cant find a camera? While not having traditional film stuff available, ANY school will have dozens of computers, printers and digital cameras neatly organized on shelves. Police stations, hospitals, libraries... any of these places would have these devices in working condition.  (In addition to just about any residential.)  Not to mention any grocery store, Radio Shack or Best Buy. Digital pocket cameras would simply not be a priority when scavenging for the apocalypse... these things would simply be ALL OVER the place.  20 minutes plugged into a running generator and a ream of office paper with a printer and these guys can make all the great pictures they want. "What? That printer ran out of ink? Throw it away we have 32 more!"

The leader would have devoted some resources to making this happen.  Since it did not happen, and Aaron is showing off a collection of prints that look like they were taken off some 1950 bulletin board... I have to assume TWD happens in a pre 2000 era where digital cameras were an expensive novelty and many households lacked computers still, and many more lacked printers.  There have been laptops here and there... the office that Daryl and Carol were in... and I think Milton used a tablet when researching the zombies?  I would have to rewatch those episodes... some one fill remind me.  But the world is mostly devoid of high tech, much like the pre tech days of the late 90s.

Want more? Photo albums.  Rick and Lori are in their Mid 30s? Early 40s?  They, like most of us are children of the digital age.  Printing and making photo albums is tedious when we have Facebook, Photobucket and Snapfish.  Few people these days make photo albums.  You know when I used to?  Pre 2000.

Phew! Got that off my chest.

The rest of the episode was spot on... except for one more mild point.  I don't care how convinced Rick became, there is NO WAY he would have carried his baby through those gates and watched them slam closed behind him.  He would have insisted upon most of the group staying outside the gate, hidden, with one of the two scouts to use as bargaining. He even took the time to hide a pistol... just in case... why not hide... I dont know... the baby?

 He, with a few of the party would have gone into town to investigate.

Just a few weeks prior they were blasted out of their prison and then encountered Terminus.  When they got to Terminus, they took the time to scout and infiltrate, and that place proved to be a death trap. Alexandria? Rick would still have physical wounds from the beating at Terminus, not to mention emotional ones.  He would have investigated. He would have looked and made sure it was safe. Especially after a whole episode of not trusting.  But no... after threatening and beating the scout, and arguing with every one, bordering on near insanity... he walks into Alexandria with not an inkling as to what is on the other side... baby in arms.  What if they were just playing the sound of children on a speaker?




Dragons Claw said...

in the episode after the prison got attacked and Rick and Carl take shelter in a house Carl starts flicking through a pile of Xbox 360 games then yanks an HDMI cable out the back if the flats screen tv to tie the door up so that would put it at least 2004 but in not sure they put that much thought into that particular strand of continuity

Jawaballs said...

Nice catch! Still can put us pre 2005 For a very wealthy house! I imagine that LCD TV and 360 were a pretty penny back then. And you are right, I think that this tech might just be a continuity oversight in what seems to be a larger trend of time continuity.

Dragons Claw said...

I only started watching late last year then devoured all the series on catch up tv so its still fairly fresh. waiting for episodes sucks

The Hyundai 4x4 thing they had looked like a late 2000's model too but your probably right about product placement.

I'm hoping they start to make the dead a bit more frightening again soon as they seem pretty mundane for the last couple of series almost comical

Jawaballs said...

Yah certain things are just ads like the Hynudai and Dodge... the tools found by Carl in the car in the traffic snarl... etc. As for the zombies, it is pretty much accepted that TWD is hardly about zombies. In fact The Walking Dead really refers to the living... Rick even pointed that out last week.

One thing that has been refreshingly absent from the show lately is silly character flaws designed to push forwards plot. Season 2 and 3 were full of them. Honesly Rick's bringing the baby into Alexandria was probably the only thing I would say has gone against character this season...

Dragons Claw said...

With the zombies I suppose so but they do seem to have relegated them to comic relief this is supposed to be a threat that completely overwhelmed the US armed forces yet Rick and Carl completely defeat a huge herd with a couple of M4's at the prison and these week they couldn't even be bothered to fight them just push them off the side of a ravine. Back in the first series they were properly scary when Rick rounds that corner on the horse in Atlanta that was a proper need a new pair if underwear moment.

The character flaw thing did get a bit repetitive the bob alcoholism thing was particularly dull but the little girl with psychiatric issues did give us IMHO the best or certainly most powerful episode with the Grove I'll never hear look at the flowers again without the hairs on the back of my arm standing up.

I think the Rick going into the camp thing was meant ti be symbolic of him leaving the barbarism behind and in guessing that will be a theme over the next few episodes Michonnes speechs the last couple if episodes have kinda telegraphed it

Fabian Valle said...

i believe amy made a refernece to missing texting or her cell phone in season one.

Jawaballs said...

I agree, they have become more about comic relief. Im not so sure that is such a bad thing though. Looking at current zombie culture they are more of a punchline.. table top games and such... It it not so much about the fright factor of zombies and more about the most inventive way to kill them nowadays? Inventive kills and gruesome looking makeup sculpts are about as much as we can expect from the actual zombies going forward I think. With the occasional fright... but were any of us really frightened when the zombie kid bit Tyrese?

I think the only truly frightning moments are going to come from humans... I much more fear the inner workings of a sick mind than a walking corpse. The image of the Governor sitting and staring at a bunch of living heads... the thought of what could have been happening to Beth... the thought of what happened to that bound female walker in the trunk... imagine her horror! I would love to see a series of webisodes telling her story.

When I refer to the character flaws I am talking more about the convenient "out of character" decisions characters made... probably the most obvious was Lori leaving Carl with no one watching him at the farm to go charging out to look for Rick who was only gone for a couple hours. Nothing in her character would have let that happen... but the writers needed to get her into trouble to spark a conflict... Especially in season two they relied far too much on those sort of things to progress the plot.

Jawaballs said...

Fabian, I sort of remember that too... they were doing laundry and reminiscing or something... still could place them circa 1998 ish!

sonsoftaurus said...

I don't mind them not being as scared of walkers. It makes sense to me. Initially, they didn't know how to deal with them or what was happening, that's why the dead were able to overrun things so fast. For the survivors, who know how to kill them, what draws them, their limitations, the fact that everyone rises not just those bitten, etc. they are much less of a threat. They are mostly dangerous when they catch you by surprise/at some kind of disadvantage and/or in large numbers and can be a resource depletion threat - do you use up your bullets or not? The living that are dead inside are certainly more dangerous but you can't ignore the threat of walkers.

Jawaballs said...

Sorry for not posting your comment sooner sonsoftaurus, I missed that one.

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