The Walking Dead thread.

Posted by Roger 
Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> This one's for Gingy: I submit, sir, that the
> endlessly deferred narrative has retarded our
> collective sensibilities about what constitutes
> quality entertainment; i.e. more ='s gooder. I
> command you to argue with me using a painfully
> extended zombie metaphor.
>
Mr. Crush, you saucy wench, talking about narrative blue-balling and somesuch...I suck at metaphors.

My peepee is a Pringles can.

That's all I got, see? Problems of a limited mind.

But in the general sense, yeah, I'm on board with the Law of Entertainment Entropy. Much as I love the Firefly series, you can already see the writing/originality waning in the last couple of episodes of this much abbreviated show--though this could just be weak links in the batch as opposed to a trend.

On the other hand, partner, as far as the relationship of these stories to our ability to "think," we'd have to examine whether these endlessly recursive pop culture products have a causative or merely correlative relationship with our ability to decipher the quality inherent in said art products. Is it that these kinds of stories limit our creativity, or that they're symptomatic of our progressively limited imaginations, living as we do in an era/country that's becoming more and more hostile to the humanities and the arts? That's a whole other issue, though (which I'll follow up on in the last paragraph of this overlong rant).

As far as the Walking Dead, I'm still sussing out in my own head why/whether and how much I like this show. It's in fact a regurgitation of every other survival/zombie show/movie we've ever seen, with enough hackneyed elements to turn even the most devoted fan away.

The difference is in the amount of time spent with the human characters, such that the proportion of human drama to zombie survival/action is constituted with an emphasis on the everyday mundane stuff that's rarely doted on, or as Robert said a while back, the "emotional realism." It occurred to me that it's not that this show explores human reactions in a more realistic way than other similar shows--it's just that it spends a lot more time exploring them. That's what saves this show, that Darabont's patient and smart enough not to give us a money shot every fifteen minutes.

Like in the last episode, we had that nice montage of everyone in the shower, and while shower scenes are nothing new, using them not to titillate, but to express nonverbally what the characters are going through, is a smooth move (given that the shower is one of those few places where we're at our most vulnerable, literally stripped down)...so you get to see Rick getting "reacquainted" with his wife, Shane drinking his jealousy and bitterness away (which is pretty hokey--I mean, when's the last time you drank whiskey while showering?), and Andrea still in shock and grieving. Though for maximum realism, I would have preferred that they show T-Dog and Glenn wanking it in the shower, because as single, male, minority, supporting characters in a survival film, they are 100% for-sure not going to get any nookie before they die, and it would have been nice to see the sorrow and regret on their faces as they shoot their lonely loads, contemplating their sexless doomed lives.

gaiking123 wrote:
>Anyone surprised Dale did not care at all about Jacqui, almost as she was invisible while he was trying convince Andrea to leave? I was
>waiting for her to say, "wait, I'm here too, Hello?"

Nice observation. I think part of the reason why they went overkill with the "You and your sister are the only people I've come to care for" speech earlier was to set up for this scene, so Dale's concern for and attachment to Andrea overrides any concern he might have for anyone else. It's like if someone in your immediate family and some stranger were contemplating killing themselves at the same time--all your attention would be focused on saving the person in your immediate family. Unless the other person was hot. Like slutty hot. Like super slutty hot.

>Come to think of it, I'm not a big fan of the Andrea on the show either. She's
>one of my favorite characters in the comic book but I think casting the older
>Laurie Holden was another misfire...since Amy died, there is not young woman in
>the whole show (not counting Carol's daughter who to me is more of a background
>character) which is kind of strange.

You kidding? I'm way glad that the women are more mature and not your typical young, hot monster-fodder. I mean, I can appreciate the intricacies of gratuitous T & A as much as the next dude, but this show seems to be going for something more than average, and I'd like to see it attain that. This is some nice going-against-type here, and the only thing that would make it cooler would be if a woman were in charge of the group.

Anyway, as far as the state of our minds, can someone please come to my school and explain to my students that lifting other people's text without proper citation is not cool? It's baffling to me, what a couple of my students have done this quarter, and the fact that they don't seem to know why it's so wrong, from an ethical, legal, academic, and moral perspective, despite the speeches I have given on the matter. It's not just cheating (borderline or otherwise, unintentional or otherwise)--it's a complete disregard for originality, creativity, and the written word. Then I get put into this uncomfortable position of having to choose between whether to tell the dean or not, depending on the specific circumstances, of course, when all I want to do is just go home and watch zombies on TV and not have a student's expulsion riding my conscience.



Edited 8 time(s). Last edit at 12/08/2010 12:47AM by gingaio.
gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Mr. Crush, you saucy wench, talking about
> narrative blue-balling and somesuch...I suck at
> metaphors.

Haw!


> But in the general sense, yeah, I'm on board with
> the Law of Entertainment Entropy.
>
> On the other hand, partner, as far as the
> relationship of these stories to our ability to
> "think," we'd have to examine whether these
> endlessly recursive pop culture products have a
> causative or merely correlative relationship with
> our ability to decipher the quality inherent in
> said art products. Is it that these kinds of
> stories limit our creativity, or that they're
> symptomatic of our progressively limited
> imaginations, living as we do in an era/country
> that's becoming more and more hostile to the
> humanities and the arts?

I've got a handy way to sort it out. It depends on which end of the process you emphasize - the creation or the consumption. Chickens and dinosaurs both laid eggs, but (theoretically) no one has ever eat a McMuffin with a saurian abortion in it. I don't think the deferment of the third act developed as a way of giving consumers what they want (i.e. not correlative, and not consumer causative). To continue the painfully strained metaphor I started, it's the product of a different animal that has supplanted the egg-laying niche of a predecessor through either evolution or competition (i.e. creator causative). That chickens came from dinosaurs has nothing to do with how much we enjoy eggs.

Now to clean up the mess I just made, I'll put it this way. I think that endlessly deferred narratives by design create a false demand in the audience for economic reasons. They ride that demand until the diminishing returns produce an economic collapse that reboots the cycle anew. Why is it a false demand? Because it lures in the audience with the promise of delivering something when instead it just delays it. That something would be narrative development, pushing the story through clearly identifiable stages; either concluding the series of events or bringing the characters to a steady-state without introducing new events.

For example, nobody watched Lost just to see what would happen next; instead they kept tuning in to see how it would end, how it would be explained. Not surprisingly, some people caught on and the show peaked and declined in popularity accordingly. And, go figure, the writers/producers/network never delivered on the promise to have it all make sense.

Contemporary stories have begun to segment in ways that are, I presume, mostly novel and propelled by economic motives built around delaying the ending. Check out this glorious deconstruction of House. Prior to the advent of electronic mass-media could you imagine any story being broken down like that? Newspaper serials seem to come close, especially the "funny pages" if you consider them predecessors to the comic book.

Then again, maybe this has come about because pop culture really is giving audiences what they want (as opposed to what's good for them). More outlets are doing it because it is successful and it is successful because it genuinely satisfies a desire and that desire is to keep the story going no matter what.


> As far as the Walking Dead, I'm still sussing out
> in my own head why/whether and how much I like
> this show. It's in fact a regurgitation of every
> other survival/zombie show/movie we've ever seen,
> with enough hackneyed elements to turn even the
> most devoted fan away.

Yeah. I trace the intimate disaster / (post)apocalypse stuff back to War of the Worlds and Day of the Triffids. I'm not saying it's a stale genre, but there is only so much that you can do with it. In terms of what they have available...


> It occurred to me that it's not that this show
> explores human reactions in a more realistic way
> than other similar shows--it's just that it spends
> a lot more time exploring them.

...TWD gives us room to expand in ways that cinema does not. It also expands in ways that I think are superior to the source material. So far, so good.


> jerking-off in the shower

Agreed. It's so repressive that the only sexuality that gets acknowledged is between hetero couples. In mainstream media if you're single it means your genitals have been turned "off".


> gaiking123 wrote:
> >Anyone surprised Dale did not care at all about
> Jacqui, almost as she was invisible while he was
> trying convince Andrea to leave? I was
> >waiting for her to say, "wait, I'm here too,
> Hello?"

Dale is a closet racist. That's why he never made a pass at the black lady and didn't give a shit if she died, too. Only pretty white gals are worth saving.


> Anyway, as far as the state of our minds, can
> someone please come to my school and explain to my
> students that lifting other people's text without
> proper citation is not cool?

I have an untenable thesis on this. Check your email later.
Sanjeev (Admin)
G, I wish I could understand you sometimes. ;)

Nah, I agree: the rise of perpetual narrative, in my eyes, isn't about causality (perpetuity makes people slow versus slow people make perpetuity). It's about moolah. The shit sells.

And I think it's related to students' lack of citation. This society emphasizes consumption over critical thinking. From day one. Oddly enough, this board--while centered around a hobby of consumption--often has a variety of discussions that are, well, dry, antiseptic, and ejookated. Academic. We type these posts as though they're term papers.

And why not? Given the medium, it's the most efficient method for getting your point across. SO...it's in our best interests to argue in this classical, academic way. Proper citation benefits us immensely and lends creedence to our points. It's not about right or wrong, cheating, morality, legality, or whatever. We do it because we pretty much have to.

Now, what do students really want? What do they have to do? Do they spend hours discussing all sorts of stuff with people all over the world via an internet forum? Maybe...I mean, we see lots of young folks posting on other forums...sometimes even here. And not to hate, but sadly, you can usually *tell* when they're young. But if the majority are indoctrinated into a culture of immediacy and consumption, why the hell try to master argumentation? There's no personal need for it. Not like us...and these silly word games we play! ;)

Anyway, back to the show...

gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ...T-Dog and Glenn wanking
> it in the shower, because as single, male,
> minority, supporting characters in a survival
> film, they are 100% for-sure not going to get any
> nookie before they die, and it would have been
> nice to see the sorrow and regret on their faces
> as they shoot their lonely loads, contemplating
> their sexless doomed lives.

Story of my life, bro. LOL

> I mean, I can appreciate the
> intricacies of gratuitous T & A as much as the
> next dude...

It's not that I don't dig chicks, but...

;)

Nah, I think that the show seems well-cast. I like Andrea and Dale simply because they seem realistic to me. They're not flat, throw-away characters.

And even if I'd hate them in real life, that doesn't bother me. In a zombie holocaust, you don't get to pick who you're survival buddy is.

My only real beef with the show at this point is the wack dialog and other fake bullshit. The aforementioned Shane drinking in the shower. Andrea pulling a gun on Rick during her vigil over Amy's body. Daryl looking filthy at all times, despite having access to a shower. C'mon now...

I've only seen a few episodes of Mad Men and Breaking Bad and the level of script-writing is on some other shit compared to TWD. If only...
<<<For example, nobody watched Lost just to see what would happen next; instead they kept tuning in to see how it would end, how it would be explained. Not surprisingly, some people caught on and the show peaked and declined in popularity accordingly. And, go figure, the writers/producers/network never delivered on the promise to have it all make sense. >>>>>

To me, that is why most series finales for episodic shows are a disappointment because by dangling that carrot of explaining things in front of the audience all throughout, producers have created incredibly high expectations all the way through to the last episode. It is probably impossible to leave the audience satisfied at the end.

<<<TWD gives us room to expand in ways that cinema does not. It also expands in ways that I think are superior to the source material. So far, so good.>>>

I don't know if I can agree with that. I think the show is pretty slow. Nothing really happens to move the story forward. I can accept that in the comic book since it takes at most 10 minutes to read. But if you're dragging the story into 45 minutes or so, it just bores me.

<<<Dale is a closet racist. That's why he never made a pass at the black lady and didn't give a shit if she died, too. Only pretty white gals are worth saving. >>>>

I think it's the fault of the actor portraying him. He does kind of seem like a lech to me trying to use this Zombie Apocalypse as a way to get some younger nookie. Is he trying to be Jackie Wright from the Benny Hill show? I'm waiting for someone to take off that hat and pat him on his head.


<<<I would have preferred that they show T-Dog and Glenn wanking it in the shower, because as single, male, minority, supporting characters in a survival film, they are 100% for-sure not going to get any nookie before they die>>>>

Now that would have been interesting although I'm sure someone would complain about the only time an Asian Male character gets any sex on a show is in an act of homosexuality. Can't please everyone, right? But yes, minorities, especially Asian males might as well be castrated on anything mainstream media. I've read the comic so I wonder if they'll follow it where Glenn does get some.
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nah, I agree: the rise of perpetual narrative, in
> my eyes, isn't about causality (perpetuity makes
> people slow versus slow people make perpetuity).
> It's about moolah. The shit sells.
>
Right. To build on this, we have to keep in mind that with the earliest TV programming--the first sitcoms and westerns and dramas, the line between commercials and show was much fuzzier (and by early, I'm not talking about the 20s, when the first TVs appeared, but the post-War boom of the 50s and 60s).

Mr. Crush is right to think about both the creation/consumption ends of things, because there's a creator view of what these shows are (product used to fill the time between commercials) and the consumer view of these shows (stories interrupted every eight minutes or so by the damned commercials), and the fact that TV shows are structured to climax right before each TV break is but one consumption-minded structural anomaly among others (the others including, but not limited to the neverending narrative framework, which speaks to establishing a brand, like LOST or DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, that would help sell the commercials).

Given that, the essentialist view would be that all TV shows function like our favorite 80s cartoons, right? And that's why ultimately, they all end badly.

Mr. Crush wrote:
>Then again, maybe this has come about because pop culture really is giving
>audiences what they want (as opposed to what's good for them). More outlets are
>doing it because it is successful and it is successful because it genuinely
>satisfies a desire and that desire is to keep the story going no matter what.

And that's the reason I mentioned correlation, that what's "good" sometimes is that point of benefit for both the creator/consumer. So AMC can put out a quality show like The Walking Dead on the presumption that it'll be interesting and different enough (i.e., competitive enough) to draw enough viewers to ensure the advertising revenue.

Sanjeev wrote:
> And I think it's related to students' lack of
> citation. This society emphasizes consumption over
> critical thinking.
>
I guess that's a part of it. What Mr. Crush and I agree on, and it's a stance a lot of academics in English/Composition agree on, is that things like copyright/intellectual property are not viewed by the newer generation from the same perspective as ours, and that tends to muddy the waters a bit. So it's not necessarily just brainless consumer zombie versus critical thinker. To paraphrase Mr. Crush, for a kid who's never had to buy a CD, who's downloaded most of his entertainment, who sees information as an entitlement, how do you get him to understand that there's a proprietary component to another writer's ideas that he found online, and to respect the value of another person's ideas.

That said, my personal experience is that a lot of these students learned what we learned, simply that "copying is wrong," or something to that effect, without understanding why. And in this day and age, it's just easier, more habitualized, for them than for us to ignore the warning, which then makes me more responsible to find new and interesting ways to get the message across.

Mr. Crush wrote:
>Contemporary stories have begun to segment in ways that are, I presume, mostly
>novel and propelled by economic motives built around delaying the ending. Check
>out this glorious deconstruction of House.
>
I saw my first episode of House a couple of years back during one of those marathons. I was like, Wow, this is a pretty cool show. Then five or six more and I felt like I was in a Twilight Zone episode watching the same exact show over and over again, my brain degenerating with each passing minute.
>
>...TWD gives us room to expand in ways that cinema does not. It also expands in
>ways that I think are superior to the source material. So far, so good.
>
This makes me wonder what is meant when someone says of a TV show that it's "cinematic." Obviously, the implicit argument is that TV shows are inferior to cinema, but why exactly? Certainly, part of it is due to the restrictive and formulaic architecture of TV shows, but what else? The length of the TV show certainly allows for more character development and a richer storyline, if done right, and in fact, it's commonly understood that a 2-hour film is really just equivalent to a typical 20-page short story, in terms of narrative capacity, which is why adaptations of novels, particularly epic ones, are so tricky to pull off.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/08/2010 06:44PM by gingaio.
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It's not that I don't dig chicks, but...
>
> ;)
>
Haw!

Missed this earlier...not that I can't afford them either.

But yeah, if I were in any way serious about establishing my raw, overpowering heterosexuality on this board, I think I'd be better served not posting pics of my Guardsmen dance troupe.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Haha...I dunno--showing off your Guardsmen troupe may be a sign that you're SO unbelievably secure with your masculinity (read: your Pringle can cock), that you can rock that shit!

gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> all TV shows function like our favorite 80s
> cartoons, right? And that's why ultimately, they
> all end badly.

Sorry for drifting off topic, but I've always found it interesting how anime fits into this equation. Like, if you've ever seen Macross Frontier, while it's no more or less contrived than your typical ongoing western tv series, it's engineered from the get-go to end in such a way that it's satisfying for the view (even if still open to sequels or follow-up movies).

Like, main action/plot climaxes happen at episodes 7, 13, and 26 (the finale). You can tell it was written way ahead of time to follow that timetable. And the finale, while resolving the plot, doesn't actually resolve the love triangle, but it's still a happy ending.

Of course, I'm not trying to argue whether Macross Frontier is good or bad--I'm just showing how it follows a different strategy...even if the goal is still money. As a member of the audience, I would prefer if western programming started following this strategy more.

Yes, I'm still traumatized by the ending of BSG.
There are many differences between the way anime like Macross Frontier is produced and shows like The Walking Dead. Macross Frontier is funded primarily by sponsors like Bandai, etc. who are willing to pay for production and a time slot. It's like an infomercial, and the payoff for them is that they use that half hour to juice you up to buy their related models, action figures, wall scrolls, etc.

And the show does not live or die by the ratings like American shows do. The sponsors control it. If the start losing money on the property (stock is rotting on the shelves, etc.), they pull the plug, and abruptly. Producers don't always have the luxury of planning for a 52-episode story arc when the show can be canned at a moments' notice.

In the case of Walking Dead, they had a budget for a pilot and five episodes that were all being delivered well in advance of the air date so the storylines had to be brief and self-contained. I think they did an okay job but things like Dale's speech to Andrea would have had more weight if we had more time to spend with these characters.

I'm going to watch the series again as a long 300 minute movie. My memory is that throughout the episodes there was about a 60/40 ratio of things I liked and things I didn't like so much. I'm hoping that with just Darabont and Kirkman writing everything that things will be a little more even and consistent, and they will have a bigger canvas (13 episodes) to paint on, which helps.

I hope that Walking Dead gets a decent chance to grow from the network and the viewers, and I hope they also continue to diverge from the comic. The series is still pretty new, there's a lot that can happen. At this point on Galactica, we only knew 4 out of 12 cylons, Starbuck hadn't screwed any of the other characters, and Tigh still had two eyes. The night is young.
<<<<There are many differences between the way anime like Macross Frontier is produced and shows like The Walking Dead. Macross Frontier is funded primarily by sponsors like Bandai, etc. who are willing to pay for production and a time slot. It's like an infomercial, and the payoff for them is that they use that half hour to juice you up to buy their related models, action figures, wall scrolls, etc. >>>>>

Is that almost the model for most of the cartoons on TV these days, make a show to sell a toy?

Funny how people were so up and arms about it when He-Man, Transformers and GI Joe, etc came out.

I have no problem with that at all. It isn't any different than adult shows who slyly put products in their show. I remember watching this one acclaimed drama where the mother of a character, commenting on her son eating Kraft Cheese and how at least he's eating something good for him.

I think for TV shows, writer's are forced to stretch out the story into longer than it really should be. Of course they are trying to claim the goal most shows try to obtain, syndication. Can you blame them?
Roger Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> There are many differences between the way anime
> like Macross Frontier is produced and shows like
> The Walking Dead...And the show does not live or die by the ratings
> like American shows do. The sponsors control it.
> If the start losing money on the property (stock
> is rotting on the shelves, etc.), they pull the
> plug, and abruptly. Producers don't always have
> the luxury of planning for a 52-episode story arc
> when the show can be canned at a moments' notice.
>
Good distinctions, though there are some similarities, too. For one thing, product placement in a lot of American TV shows (maybe not TWD, but still) also lend an informercialesque feel to the proceedings (http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/life/10-worst-examples-of-product-placement-on-tv-1888739). Albeit it's more subdued in these cases, but that's also because the audience is more mature and not as suited for the toys-in-your-face style of advertising.

Both the anime shows in question and the American shows are beholden ultimately to corporate sponsorship, only with American shows, the route is more circuitous because of the middleman, the network. Remember that ratings don't mean much in and of themselves, but shows that get better numbers will attract more advertisers, or keep the ones they have, and that's what matters.

Also, American shows can get pulled or canceled abruptly--hence the need for midseason replacements.

That said, yeah, they're two different animals. Sort of.

The point Sanjeev raised about limited story arcs for anime series speaks directly to Mr. Crush's point about quality and the neverending narrative. Imposing this kind of limitation (a definable story arc) always makes a difference and is what I love about shows like Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Giant Robo, etc. I would say, though, that Escaflowne was probably Kawamori's zenith as a show runner.
>
> I think they did an okay job but things like Dale's
> speech to Andrea would have had more weight if we
> had more time to spend with these characters.
>
Yeah, that speech felt very hollow emotionally because we didn't see much of their interaction.
>
> there was about a 60/40 ratio of things I
> liked and things I didn't like so much. I'm hoping
>
That reunion with Rick and his family was done so well...there were things that were so striking (the overhead shot of the tank getting swarmed...the visual irony of that tank being a death-trap), and then there are so many things that were so...familiar (Rick waking up in an empty hospital, Merle sawing off his hand).

I'm still excited for the next season, though, and based on what everyone's said about the comics, I have no desire to read them at this point.
>
> I hope that Walking Dead gets a decent chance to
> grow from the network and the viewers, and I hope
> they also continue to diverge from the comic. The
> series is still pretty new, there's a lot that can
> happen. At this point on Galactica, we only knew 4
> out of 12 cylons, Starbuck hadn't screwed any of
> the other characters, and Tigh still had two eyes.
> The night is young.
>
At this point, despite the post-apocalyptic milieu, the show doesn't feel quite as nihilistic as BSG. That's mostly because of how treacherous and murderous the characters ended up in BSG, though if they do push Shane further toward the dark side in the next season, it could have a similar feel. Because this show is, you know, helmed by the guy who made that celebration of life, the Mist.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/09/2010 11:10PM by gingaio.
<<<<Also, American shows can get pulled or canceled abruptly--hence the need for midseason replacements.>>>>

Looks like shows only get pulled on the big networks. I don't think cable shows do that which some attribute to one of the reasons why cable shows seem better. Less pressure on them to grab ratings right away. Cable shows, no matter how low of ratings play the season order at least since they cannot afford to not air something. Just too much money lost there.
gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> This makes me wonder what is meant when someone
> says of a TV show that it's "cinematic."
> Obviously, the implicit argument is that TV shows
> are inferior to cinema, but why exactly?

I think you've brought this question up before and I prepared a canned response but never delivered it. Time to pop the Pringles.

To me, and I'm guessing for others who make the same comment, "cinematic" refers to a feeling synthesized from a combination of factors including, but not limited to: (broadly) production value and direction.

Production "value", as it were, comes from better equipment, writing, actors, and settings or the more skillful use thereof. Direction involves camera placement, scoring, lighting, editing, and control. The combination of improvements or attention in these areas can vastly buffer the fourth wall to the point that we are temporarily elevated above it despite the medium. They improve the scope of the project in a way that it feels freer of distraction and more focused. Despite improvements in the ability of consumers to replicate the cinematic experience outside of the theater, television is still very much about being in (your) home on (your) couch. Cinematic television works hard to overcome that.

The things you described about TWD such as the camera placement and so forth would be contributing to the cinematic feel of the show. Compare that to Friends or House and you'll instantly see what I mean. Everything in those shows is so canned and cookie cutter that it becomes interchangeable. Even shows (i.e. most legal/court/police dramas) that attempt to look "un-canned" through excessive cut-shots and shaky camera work still end up becoming repetitious and formulaic. Cinematic television is less predictable and more auteur.

Seehwatimsayin?

Oh, and The Mist? One of the best fucking movies of all time. It demands to be viewed in black-and-white as Darabont intended it. Utterly glorious.
Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> To me, and I'm guessing for others who make the
> same comment, "cinematic" refers to a feeling
> synthesized from a combination of factors
> including, but not limited to: (broadly)
> production value and direction.
>
I'm reminded of a colleague who, in teaching the Dark Knight, talked with his students about how the effect of the grand, sweeping shots Nolan has a boner for tends to completely dissipate on a tiny laptop screen, which is what most college kids use to watch their assigned movies these days. So the visual effect goes from "Holy crap, Batman's standing on top of a super-tall building!" in the theaters to, "What the hell am I looking at!" on a laptop. (Lighting has a lot to do with it, too.)
>
> [An argument I could agree with]
>
I guess, for me, the term cinematic is so overused in popular media and by mushy-minded critics as a way of assigning absolute positive value that sometimes it feels amorphous to me, like a catch-all for, "This is EPIC and GOOD!" all the while conflating all the visual/aural elements with all the narrative ones in some large soup, when all they mean is that something looks Epic and Good. Because something that's poorly written or acted can look and sound like a million bucks and still be shit, and good writing/acting are not the defining attributes of just the cinema.
>
> Oh, and The Mist? One of the best fucking movies
> of all time. It demands to be viewed in
> black-and-white as Darabont intended it. Utterly
> glorious.
>
Huh, I didn't know that that was the intent. But yeah, I'm puzzled by the reception it got. This and 30 Days of Night are two of my favorite horror/survival films of recent memory, 30 Days less so because of the crappy Western-styled showdown toward the end.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/10/2010 06:45PM by gingaio.
gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Bonered laptops.

Definitely. There's actually a neurological component involved in interpreting material across different spatial planes. Like, reading a page in a book that fits in your hand is fundamentally different than reading the same page projected on the side of a building. Your eyes have to move further and process the input differently in each case. The sweet-spot for detail/density varies based on proximity. It's great human-factors stuff, but it translates to art as well. I once caught a director talking about creating for the small screen (handhelds) and how she had to scale back on everything accordingly; it struck me as a point too many people miss.


> I guess, for me, the term cinematic is so overused
> in popular media and by mushy-minded critics as a
> way of assigning absolute positive value that
> sometimes it feels amorphous to me, like a
> catch-all for, "This is EPIC and GOOD!"

I personally wouldn't assign "cinematic" a flatly positive value, but I see what you mean about how the term gets bandied about. Broad scope and tight control alone do not a goodness make. Take Bay's Transformers movies. They're highly cinematic, but utterly irredeemable in quality.*


> Huh, I didn't know that that was the intent. But
> yeah, I'm puzzled by the reception it got. This
> and 30 Days of Night are two of my favorite
> horror/survival films of recent memory, 30 Days
> less so because of the crappy Western-styled
> showdown toward the end.

I love The Mist so much that you almost shouldn't believe me when I say that the black-and-white version is a different, and superior, experience.

Also, it's pretty creepy how you seem to be reading over my shoulder quite often. I'm only 50% sure that the TBDX community is not some crazy, fanciful construction of my subconscious to start with and when you mentioned The Mist and 30 Days of Night in the same breath it lowers my certainty to about 10%. If you had dropped The Road as well it might have pushed me over the edge completely. Which, by the way, is another must see. If the Kill Bill series was an ultra-violent chop-sockey meditation on motherhood then The Road is a cannibal-apocalypse documentary about fatherhood.




* Unless you look at RotF as an avant-garde joke on the audience, it which case it's the fucking ghost of Citizen Kane wearing a rubber Nixon mask.
Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I once caught a director talking about creating for the
> small screen (handhelds) and how she had to scale
> back on everything accordingly; it struck me as a
> point too many people miss.
>
This shifting paradigm, w/r/t music videos, was covered nicely here:

[www.npr.org]

Now if Kanye had simply explained that he thought Beyonce's video was way better than Taylor's because it captured the zeitgeist of the new digital age better, then maybe people wouldn't have thought he was such a jackass and all...
>
> Also, it's pretty creepy how you seem to be
> giving me powerful shoulder rubs quite often.
>
My father worked nearly twenty years at LAX before he retired. Things get passed down. What can I say?

But yeah, maybe Mason was on to something when he said we were really just Sanjeev. Or something like that.

Really enjoyed the novel, but haven't gotten around to seeing the film version of the Road yet.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/10/2010 11:09PM by gingaio.
Sanjeev (Admin)
gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Now if Kanye had simply explained that he thought
> Beyonce's video was way better than Taylor's
> because it captured the zeitgeist of the new
> digital age better, then maybe people wouldn't
> have thought he was such a jackass and all...

I still would have.


> But yeah, maybe Mason was on to something when he
> said we were really just Sanjeev.

We.

Are.

All.

Sanjeev.
Dunno, the last two episodes totally fizzled for me.

I agree with The Rog that the voice activated computer and CG zombie MRI transformation scenes were really not good and unrealistic.

The countdown with warning sirens a la Alien and Aliens I thought was really terrible too. Somehow the last few episodes went really "sci fi" to me and not in a good way. Anyway.

The Road is THE be-all-and-end-all of post apocalyptic movies by the way. I highly recommend it if you're into that sort of thing.
mcfitch (Admin)
***SPOLIER ALERT LABELED BELOW***

I just watched the season finale and I really have been digging this show. Then again I'm looking for filmed entertainment and an adaptation of a comic book that I think tells an amazing story in a very human way. Maybe that's why I seem to like it more than most here?

My biggest complaint is that the redneck character seems to be attempting to kill, shoot, chop everyone that makes him mad and someone in the group stops him and then he's okay. I don't see how someone at the point of murder just ignores that impulse when someone not as equally driven, or as passionate, simply grabs the weapon with less force than is seemingly put into putting it to use. Meh, no big.


***SPOLIER ALERT***
Oh and I believe Merle will end up playing "The Governor" later on. Given that in the comic Rick has his hand taken by the Governor I think the setup of Merle choosing to cut off his hand due to a situation that Rick helped create will make Rick's own hand loss have more meaning other than simple sadism.

-Mason

P.S. I'm still convinced that Ging-Crush is the same person though I am glad to see that he gave literary credit to me for my idea ;-)

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Matthewalt &quot;I actually kinda LIKE that approach! You know: let's make a TOY. Remember those? Products designed to be played with without breaking? DO YOU REMEMBER, LOVE?!&quot;
mcfitch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My biggest complaint is that the redneck character
> seems to be attempting to kill, shoot, chop
> everyone that makes him mad and someone in the
> group stops him and then he's okay. I don't see
> how someone at the point of murder just ignores
> that impulse when someone not as equally driven,
> or as passionate, simply grabs the weapon with
> less force than is seemingly put into putting it
> to use.

That part didn't bother me. It's how most of my day goes - yell, screaming, threatening to kill, and people gently pulling weapons out my paws. All in a day's work at the kindergarten.


> I'm still convinced that Ging-Crush is the
> same person though I am glad to see that he gave
> literary credit to me for my idea ;-)

We are all SANJEEV.

I'm not Herbert.

We reach.
So....all you assimilated Dr.Mr.Prof.Rev People can look forward to more yappin' this October!!

Season 2 Trailer out at SDCC!

[www.youtube.com]
Awesome. Thanks for the heads-up, Jon. Definitely looking forward to it.
Well, last night's episode was interesting.

The deer, man, the deer...

Goofy dialogue aside, that opening shot of Shane and Otis running through the high school hallway with Rick's drawling voice-over was pretty damn stunning. Easily my favorite part of the episode.
gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Well, last night's episode was interesting.

About half way in to the episode my wife said, "This season is really slow. Too much talking, not enough happening." I pretty much agree. We get almost two episodes of build up around the kid being shot and then it's all fixed in around two minutes. Really uneven.


> Goofy dialogue aside, that opening shot of Shane
> and Otis running through the high school hallway
> with Rick's drawling voice-over was pretty damn
> stunning. Easily my favorite part of the episode.

Agreed. It was well played.
Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> About half way in to the episode my wife said,
> "This season is really slow. Too much talking,
> not enough happening." I pretty much agree. We
> get almost two episodes of build up around the kid
> being shot and then it's all fixed in around two
> minutes. Really uneven.
>
TV shows love to run thematically parallel plot lines, and the idea of going from Carl's fight for survival to Shane's/Otis's was a nice idea, especially as Carl's predicament likely helped to provoke Shane's final act at the high school. The Carl sequences also helped to highlight Rick's moral code (rigid, life-affirming...i.e., the motherf&*#ing deer) in contrast to Shane's (uh...not so rigid or life-affirming), setting up their eventual showdown, no doubt. So in terms of plot/character logic and theme, the two sequences worked well together. But that said, the writer definitely had difficulty sustaining the drama/tension in the Carl scenes.

I didn't mind the quick wrap-up on the kid, given that in hindsight, Carl getting shot was really just a way to trigger Shane's rise as the antagonist, which was the big revelation.

Daryl Dixon is turning into the most interesting character on the show. Will be really interesting if Merle returns, given that Daryl seems to have joined the "other side," as far as Merle is concerned.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/02/2011 02:36AM by gingaio.
gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> TV shows love to run thematically parallel plot
> lines,

This is just one reason I generally don't like television...


> and the idea of going from Carl's fight for
> survival to Shane's/Otis's was a nice idea,
> especially as Carl's predicament likely helped to
> provoke Shane's final act at the high school.

Yeah, I got what they were reaching for. But I felt like it was clumsy.


> The Carl sequences also helped to highlight Rick's
> moral code (rigid, life-affirming...i.e., the
> motherf&*#ing deer) in contrast to Shane's
> (uh...not so rigid or life-affirming), setting up
> their eventual showdown, no doubt.

Again, I agree that by the end it was a good launching-off point for it. But...


> So in terms of
> plot/character logic and theme, the two sequences
> worked well together. But that said, the writer
> definitely had difficulty sustaining the
> drama/tension in the Carl scenes.

That was part of the problem for me. Clunky dialog, lots of nothing happening, and scenes that could have just as easily been included after the resolution cluttering things up. But...


> I didn't mind the quick wrap-up on the kid, given
> that in hindsight, Carl getting shot was really
> just a way to trigger Shane's rise as the
> antagonist, which was the big revelation.

I still hate the wrap-up because the whole plot movement could have been accomplished in one episode instead of two had they trimmed the fat with the pointless missing girl scenes. They had not just two, but three(!) parallel segments running and one of those did nothing to move things forward. Between the two episodes, half the time was spent watching some of the cast bumble around in the woods not doing anything. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

So the eventual resolution of the runaway kid will take considerably longer than the resolution of the kid-who-got-shot. In addition to being boring, that's way unbalanced.


> Daryl Dixon is turning into the most interesting
> character on the show. Will be really interesting
> if Merle returns, given that Daryl seems to have
> joined the "other side," as far as Merle is
> concerned.

Agreed about Daryl. But I dread Merle's return because it will probably be an awful, clumsy shoehorning.

[SPOILERS?]










If they follow the comics, I'm guessing that they'll spend at least one or two more episodes at the farm before the zombies in the barn spill out and compel them to leave - somehow tying up the missing girl bit in the process. (Perhaps they found her as a zombie and penned her up with the rest?) Then they mosey on over to the prison and either Merle is there, Merle becomes the one to lead the Governor to them, or Merle is part of the Governor's crowd when the prison showdown occurs. It would be the perfect spot to pit Daryl's character against that of his brother - does he stay with Rick's group, persuade Merle to do what's right, or turn to the dark side with his kinfolk?

Anyway, they'll probably do none of that and instead spend the rest of the season walking through the woods doing nothing at all.
Random questions that came up.

Why does the farm always seem to have the electricity on?

If they have a generator, aren't they worried about wasting fuel on lights and the hot water heater?

Why aren't they all growing beards and hippie-hair?

Why is no one getting emaciated?
Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Anyway, they'll probably do none of that and
> instead spend the rest of the season walking
> through the woods doing nothing at all.

You mean a literal adaptation of the Lord of the Rings?

I think the best way to resolve the missing girl storyline is to not resolve it at all, to just leave her fate unknown and unknowable.
Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Why aren't they all growing beards and
> hippie-hair?
>
> Why is no one getting emaciated?

I think it's because this is the same fictional world as the one of Fist of the North Star, in which almost every single nuclear holocaust survivor works out on P90X and drinks steroid juice.

When we meet the governor, we'll be surprised to find out that his day job actually involves being the Warden.
gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You mean a literal adaptation of the Lord of the
> Rings?

"The Walk of the Ring".

I expect to see lots of it this season in "The Walking Living".


> I think the best way to resolve the missing girl
> storyline is to not resolve it at all, to just
> leave her fate unknown and unknowable.

Agreed. But it's tv. They can't possibly let that happen.


> I think it's because this is the same fictional
> world as the one of Fist of the North Star, in
> which almost every single nuclear holocaust
> survivor works out on P90X and drinks steroid
> juice.

Maybe it's just me, but I live on my goddamn stomach. And it always puzzles me how so few fictional worlds adequately address the need to eat. And not just like, "Then they ate," but the ecology of where the food comes from, what they do with the garbage, and where they poop. These are serious issues. Hell, civilization evolved to address them.

I think "The Road" and "War of the Worlds" dealt with food in an evenhanded way. But everything else? It's like during Armageddon they pass out buffet tickets, gym memberships, and cosmetology degrees to all the survivors.


> When we meet the governor, we'll be surprised to
> find out that his day job actually involves being
> the Warden.

I love it.
Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Anyway, they'll probably do none of that and
> instead spend the rest of the season walking
> through the woods doing nothing at all.


Totally called it. In a show called The Walking Dead, we get one, only ONE, zombie in last week's episode. And it was for gross-out comedic effect. To be fair, it was pretty successful to that end. But, 45 minutes of talky and walky? Too. Slow.

Guess it was nice to see the Korean guy getting (randomly) laid. But did they have to make him such a doofus in the process? Maybe it was just me, but I really read that scene as less about the white woman's assertiveness and more about the Asian dood's submissiveness. Sigh. At least he wasn't presented as a martial arts badass. Or slapstick comedy sidekick. Oh, no, wait. He totally was on that last one. See the ONE zombie segment mentioned above.

And... It looks like they're building up to the Big Barn Reveal. Maybe that will make up for the frozen molasses pace of things thus far. If they can get to it within the next half dozen episodes.
Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Totally called it. In a show called The Walking
> Dead, we get one, only ONE, zombie in last week's
> episode.

I've got a lot of patience for this show, built up on the goodwill generated from last season, but yeah, this is starting to wear. I wonder how much of it is the creative staff adjusting/not being used to a longer season.

> And [well walker] was for gross-out comedic effect.
>

That was quite a highlight. Very nasty.

> Guess it was nice to see the Korean guy getting
> (randomly) laid. But did they have to make him
> such a doofus in the process?
>

I kept waiting for him to say, "And...wait...wait...will you touch my penis, too?"


I thought it was a pretty clever metacinematic jab to have Daryl call him Short Round in one of the other episodes. Now I'm wondering if the writers/producers actually think that's a flattering remark.

The whole cultural misappropriation of the Trail of Tears (?!!) was a bit ham-handed, too.

>
> And... It looks like they're building up to the
> Big Barn Reveal. Maybe that will make up for the
> frozen molasses pace of things thus far. If they
> can get to it within the next half dozen episodes.

I'm looking forward to seeing how they handle the Return of Merle w/r/t Daryl.

And please, for goodness sake, keep the girl forever missing!
Erik Sjoen (Admin)
Merle is going to comeback with a chainsaw hand.. Now there's an idea! ;)
>Merle is going to comeback with a chainsaw hand..

CLASSIC. I wish!

Halfway through last Sunday's episode I was thinking about quitting the series altogether. It's not the slow pace, it's the fact that I don't find any of the characters compelling, except Merle's brother (I'm blanking on the name. Jeb? Jim-Bob?).
The last video game I played had a protagonist with a glorious chainsaw hand.




They upped the ante by giving some of the villains chainsaws as well. Such as the double-bladed monster being wielded by the, uh, psychotic Minotaur cosplayer below. If I remember right, the protagonist could acquire these chainsaws as various points. It was awesome.




In looking for the above images, I cam across a sequel. I guess the double-bladed action gets more intense if you make them longer. Which sounds more erotic than it should, but I blame Robert Smith's starring role in Edward Penishands for that.





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open | download - chainsaw paw.jpg (173 KB)
open | download - chainsaw duel.jpg (200.2 KB)
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gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I thought it was a pretty clever metacinematic jab
> to have Daryl call him Short Round in one of the
> other episodes. Now I'm wondering if the
> writers/producers actually think that's a
> flattering remark.

It's probably just what they called their Asian friend in high school.


> The whole cultural misappropriation of the Trail
> of Tears (?!!) was a bit ham-handed, too.

You know, nothing says backyard-mystical like labeling something "Injun". It saves you the trouble of flying overseas to Asia. Especially when the Injun flower was originally imported from there. BOOM! Double-mysticism. If I had a nickle for every Cracker girl that I've heard mention that her grandmother was a Cherokee Princess... I'd have a bag of nickles? I don't know. How is that supposed to end? Let me try again:

If I had a nickle for every Cracker girl that I've heard mention that her grandmother was a Cherokee Princess, I'd have enough money to buy a Chinese plant so named because some white people thought it'd be "honorable" to memorialize their ethnic cleansing project with it.

Also, if you believe the video games, zombies would have almost certainly eaten all those flowers. I can't put up with this kind of scientific inaccuracy. Bah!
Erik Sjoen (Admin)
Have your own chainsaw hand!!

[www.youtube.com]
>Have your own chainsaw hand!!

Holy exaggerated facial expressions, Batman! Cool video though.
So... At least something happened this week. I think. But the "introduction" of the two teenage characters left my wife and I scratching our heads. Did they even show them in the background of the last two episod es? And what happened to Otis' wife? They need to trim the cast with some timely zombie massacre.
Best episode this season so far, though that's not saying much, and that's not a surprise either when most of the episode revolves around the most interesting character. Norman Reedus is doing a great job on this show. I only remember him as the annoying punk mechanic in Blade II and the main character in John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns, so go figure.

I think it would be highly romantic if Otis ate his wife. In a zombie fashion, of course.

I noticed the thing with the mysterious background characters, or the zombie equivalent of the Red Shirts from Star Trek, last season. When the camp was attacked, I noticed that there were random black and Hispanic-looking people served up as entrees. I had no idea who they were or where they'd been the entire time. It was like they'd just driven in from out of town that morning just so they could get eaten. Neat!
gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I noticed the thing with the mysterious background
> characters, or the zombie equivalent of the Red
> Shirts from Star Trek, last season. When the camp
> was attacked, I noticed that there were random
> black and Hispanic-looking people served up as
> entrees.

The first thing The Man does in a zombie apocalypse is distribute free meat-scented "survival" blankets to all the minorities.

I thought the transition from Merle pulling Darryl's shoe to the zombie munch-out was cool. But I hated the awkwardness of most of Merle's lines. It was like a committee of Yankee writers, none of whom had ever been south of DC or west of Philly, was charged with portraying a Redneck stereotype saying, "Get up, faggot!" with the stipulation that they couldn't use any of those three words.

Actually, the whole dream thing was odd. To be fair, I've never been shot with a crossbow, but I have never experienced hallucinations that were as coherent as Darryl's; they always been gobbledegook mash-ups of sensory information that were impossible to interpret. The trippy shit from Twin Peaks might be close to recreating them. That would have made for some cool stuff with zombies added in the mix.

Forgot to mention that the wife has begun overlapping Zombie Time with Crochet Time. This is not a good sign. She's usually a very generous audience member when it comes to the genre, but I think the sluggish pace of the season has used up her good will. She did, however, look up from her project long enough to ask, "Why is Darryl doing squirrel-shooters instead of eating its meat?" It was a serious question on two counts. First, it really did look like Darryl was slurping something out of the critter instead of eating it. Second, she knows I have eaten squirrels and thought I might have some insight. Alas, we only ever stewed them.

So, does anyone know what was up with Darryl's squirrel sushi? Who eats 'em like that? Is it some kind of Bear Grylls survival technique to drink the juice from a rodent while tossing the piss-free parts away?
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