Shawn Maxam wonders why Black characters don’t speak on cable television’s most popular show.
I’m the one black guy. You realize how precarious that makes my situation?
-T-Dog (Season 2, Episode 2: Bloodletting)
First I am trying to create a coherent argument about a zombie TV show. This isn’t based on any sound logic or reality. Second there are a ton of spoilers below (from the TV show only) so read at your own peril.
Last season T-Dog barely had any lines. Half the time I didn’t even remember he was still on the damn show. Now they killed him off. I should have realized this once he started being more present in the show’s narrative. His death wouldn’t have had any emotional weight if he never spoke. I see what you are doing AMC and Glen Mazzara (the current show-runner).
The other Black male character of Morgan Jones (who with his son Duane) who assisted Rick in the beginning of the Zombie apocalypse during the show’s first season hasn’t been back, but racist redneck Merle has returned. They killed off Jacqui, the black woman from the original group, at the end of season 1. By the way, why can’t most of the Black characters have regular names? (I’m joking—sorta). Somehow Rick and the crew didn’t find any more Black people—even though they came from Atlanta—until they show up at the prison in season three. Really!
This season has introduced the fan favorite character of Michonne. On a positive note we have a dark-skinned woman of color who has natural hair on one of television’s most popular shows. I guess that’s a win. Unfortunately she barely speaks. This isn’t just a racial issue but gender too. The women on this show are poorly written and very one-note. I think everyone is distracted by the mere fact of seeing pretty women shoot guns and being “Bad-ass”.
Fan-boys are primarily by definition white men. Based on the Kevin Smith show Comic Book Men, I wouldn’t expect the non-white male characters of The Walking Dead to be nuanced and complex. My wife also noted how Michonne is functioning as a protector of Andrea (which wasn’t her role the graphic novel). Hopefully the character development will gain momentum in the upcoming episodes.
The good news is that even though T-Dog died last week, we now have Oscar (the other black guy) to replace him. Yeah for tokenism!
Enjoy tonight’s episode.
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