“The Walking Dead” is TV’s First Unisex Soap Opera

By | February 28, 2018

Cables two biggest soap operas are back this week with premieres for “The Walking Dead” and “UnReal.” Now before you scoff at the definition of TWD as a soap opera remember that zombie Godfather George A. Romero dissed “Dead” as a “soap opera with zombies.” And I might have to agree after watching the mid-season premiere—largely centered around Carl’s death and Morgan’s ever evolving “arc” which seems to exist around “kill people Morgan!” “No, don’t kill people Morgan!”

What are the hallmarks of a soap opera: simplistic characterizations, florid acting, melodramatic moral quandaries, repetitive plot-lines, slow pacing, and staying on the air too long. Oh joy, “The Walking Dead” has all those elements! Just check out Carl’s drawn-out death bed scene not-so-skillfully intercut with a separate plot-line, and the same conversation the characters have been having for years: “You don’t need to kill!” And then, of course, that decision almost always bites them in the ass. The plot-lines are moving so slowly this entire season has literally taken place over the course of one day. An epic battle worthy of it or a way to fill time and draw out the plot?

Oh well, like any hopeless soap opera watcher, I’ll keep grousing (and watching) for years to come, but I sure hope we’re closer to the end than the beginning. Grade for Premiere: Three Hankies…unless, like me, you don’t like Carl, and then probably just one. Also, this moment was handled staggeringly bad, with Carl pretty much using his last moments to unrealistically champion peace/chastize his father rather than make meaningful goodbyes.

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