If someone could please tell me what in the world the producers of The Walking Dead are doing, I’d appreciate it.
You don’t even have to be following The Walking Dead to know what happened in the season six premiere. Negan caved in the skulls of Abraham and Glenn in what was easily the most violent, bloodthirsty scene in the series. And of course, there were people who complained that it was too violent for tv. But who cares that a minority group of people thought it was too violent? Well, apparently the producers of the show did.
In case you aren’t up to date, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd made some comments last week in regards to the violence of the show. She said that they “look(ed) at the feedback on the level of violence” and that they “tone(d) it down” in the episodes that were still in production for the latter part of the season. Those are kind of major comments for a show set in the zombie apocalypse where violence is what the entire series is built on. So let’s take a minute to clear this up.
As I’m sure everyone can recall, the sixth season of The Walking Dead ended with an all time abysmal cliffhanger that maybe 98% of the planet hated. If you will also recall, the producers of this show then defended that cliffhanger and stood by it throughout the entire offseason, basically insulting the viewers’ intelligence throughout the process in doing so. But as soon as a few people complain about one particularly violent scene being too violent, they all scrambled to react to it? What are these people doing? What happened to all that creative direction garbage that was thrown in my face for months on end?
I also particularly hate Hurd’s use of the term “torture porn.” No, this was just a brutally violent scene in the series. Many of us heavily anticipated it because it was a gigantic event in the story. The level of violence was necessary for the scene to maximize its impact. Calling it torture porn implies that it was done just for the sake of being overly violent or to satiate some lust for gore, which is not what it was. Again, this just reeks of catering to the vocal minority and worrying about casual viewers.
Now, in a random turn of events, the producers are backtracking on Hurd’s comments. Both showrunner Scott Gimple and executive producer Greg Nicotero denied that they toned down the level of violence as a result of fan feedback, citing similar reasons that I just mentioned. However, it’s also noted in the EW article that Joshua Hoover, the actor who played Fat Joey, stated in an interview with ComicBook.com that there was a bloodier version of his death that was cut from the season seven midseason finale. EW also mentions the ironing scene from episode seven that felt a little jumpy, as opposed to focusing on the actual act taking place. So there’s a whole lot of contradicting going on here between what’s being said and what we’ve seen in the show.
Let’s just get this out of the way; I don’t believe anything the producers of this show say. If you followed the interviews from the producers after season six, there were a whole lot of contradictions and high horse quotes from these guys for months. Telling us how we didn’t know what we were talking about or that set leaks were just made up by fans who didn’t know what was going on. They’re liars, plain and simple. I’m more inclined to believe Hurd’s initial comments than I am Gimple and Nicotero’s denials. And that sucks.
I’ve been wary about the direction that The Walking Dead is heading in for quite some time now and this is just the latest piece of evidence. My fear is that they believe the show’s massive decline in ratings is related to this kind of nonsense instead of the real problem. It’s the hardcore fanbase they’re losing, not just the casual fans. The Walking Dead is in a downward ratings spiral because the quality of the show has rapidly decreased and people feel like it’s a waste of time watching it, not because you had one violent scene at the very beginning of the season.
The writing is not great and actually kind of terrible at times, the pacing of the episodes/season is horrendous and a lot of the characters have become stale. They have a blueprint for a decent show in the comics and they’re not using it. They keep fluffing this show with garbage and fan service instead of just focusing on making a good show. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the ratings go up in the spring once football is over and we’re in the black hole of the calendar but even if that’s the case, it doesn’t solve any of the core problems. These producers need to get their act together, identify the actual problems and get this show back on the rails before they completely lose this thing. The Walking Dead has way too many good things going for it to be become a failure.