Sometimes I come up with a title for a blog and then wonder if I even need to write the blog? That title pretty much speaks for itself right? Do I really need to explain the analogy. Keeps up the same bad behavior over and over and you keep telling yourself it’ll be different and that’s all in the past…until eventually you realize that it is what it is and you leave.
TWD is what it is and every time something happens that would make someone else just walk away, you come back..until you don’t. Let’s say for the sake of discussion the “something” is a beloved character getting killed.
The ratings on TWD have been dropping considerably, and there has been many people pontificating on why and what changed. To my mind, nothing has changed and it is simple math. The show isn’t any more or less absurd than it ever was. I beat up on it a lot, but it’s in good nature because it is an entertaining show…as much as it aggravates anyone who wishes it’s “world building” actually built a world and gave us some parameters of its reality by season 8. and wished by season 8 the characters would have learned ANYTHING from previous mistakes. But…that’s part of its charm. It’s storytelling, acting, character development has all been…consistent. There was no real change in any of that to cause a ratings drop.
So…onto the math. Remember Dale? the kooky old man who was the voice of reason. How many people put up with the show because they liked the kooky old man? Probably not many maybe 1/4 of a percent. So he dies and they lose 1/4 of a percent. But what about Shane? There’d be more people who watched just for him…maybe 10% But he died on a season finale so fans would tune back in and get Michone, and eventually see that Merl is back. Then Merl dies…Merl is a unique character…they kind that is not easily replaceable and the kind that gets people to keep watching the show, a good percentage of people will keep tuning in to see if an a-hole redeems himself…maybe 7%. The he dies…Herschel dies, the Governor ( a unique villain ) dies, Lori dies, then someone else then someone else…not major characters…maybe 4 percenters, but you kill off five 4 percenters and that’s 20%…then Glenn and Abraham…Glenn’d be worth 25% on his own I’d say. You can only keep giving people new characters to keep a percentage from leaving when their favorite character gets killed so many times before they just stop connecting with new characters because “what’s the point?”
“the behavior is never going to change, it’s time for me to move on”.
For people still watching in hopes the abuse would subside, now Carl’s dead…he’s gotta be at least a 10 percenter, right? But, what’s worse is this…The show doesn’t feel the same without Glenn does it? Glenn represented hope. No one else can take on that same role for the fans because no one else has been hopeful for 7 seasons. Maggie is being put in that role, but any hope she presents has the death of Glenn in tow to remind us anyone of them can end up dead…so her hope is the opposite of hope for the fans. No one else represented hope like Glenn, ‘cept maybe Carl…who’s now dead.
This show is a good example of – what people say they want and what they really want can be two different things- People say they want a show where no one is safe, no one has “plot armor” because it’s more dramatic, more realistic, less formulamatic (might not be a word)…they say that…but they don’t really want that. They aren’t going to keep watching a show after the character they cared about is not longer on it. Before you bring up Game of Thrones…let me explain to you that GOT hasn’t lost any characters. It lost a lot of NAMES, but it still has the same 5 or 6 CHARACTERS it has ever had. I’d like to think I don’t have to explain what I mean by that…I will anyway. There is so much redundancy of personality types in that show they could kill 12 people every year and go on for 8 more seasons.
TWD, being a show about the end of the world, didn’t have the luxury of starting out with a glut of people to build redundancy into. Guy’s like Merl, Abraham, Shane, Glenn, Carl…had no parallel personalities on the show.
The show will seem even more different now as ALL the dynamics Carl ,as a character, brought are gone. The writers have a lot less tools in the tool box to keep this show interesting. All it has now is a little more world building it can do, and a bunch of archetypes we’ve seen on other apocalypse type shows…and have been watching for years on this show, and since they are grown ups…there is only so much changing they can reasonably do. Measure it any way you want, character growth of an adult can never be as much as character growth of a child. The subplot of watching someone grow up in this world always seemed to me as the most intriguing element of the TWD.
I don’t know how they can replace that. I guess I’ll watch and see…until I’m one of the 1/16th of a percent that leaves after Gavin is killed off. Even I have my limits on how much abuse I’ll take before I walk out the door forever.