I am three episodes into Fear the Walking Dead, which is a spin-off of The Walking Dead.  I started watching The Walking Dead – I never read the comic – when it first aired and enjoyed the first season.  The second season was a snooze fest and was so massively disappointed by the ending of it that I gave up on the show.  I figured I’d give Fear the Walking Dead a shot.

Basic plot of the show is following a dysfunctional family (guy, his ex-wife and son, his girlfriend, and his girlfriend’s daughter and heroin addict son) in LA as the Zombie outbreak begins and society falls apart.


So, like I said, I am three episodes in and think my tolerance is reaching its limit.

Dad/ex/son have just spent the night hiding out in a barber shop in downtown LA with the El Salvadorian barber who owns the shop along with the barber’s wife and daughter, as a five alarm riot is going on outside.  Everybody escapes the shop and makes it to the Dad’s house in the burbs to unite the dysfunctional family.

Meanwhile, girlfriend and her two kids decided the need to be prepared to defend themselves from zombies and so drug addict son, going through withdrawl, suggests they go over to the neighbor’s house to steal his shotgun they the son knows he has because he tried to steal it once before.  Neighbors are already zombies.

Dad and crew arrive home and zombie neighbor attacks.  Dad, DOES NOT WANT ANYBODY TO SHOOT THE ZOMBIFIED NEIGHBOR, even though it is on top of him trying to eat him.  El Salvadorian barber blows its head off.

Next day, bout 45 into the episode, scene opens with the barber showing the son (ex’s not the drug addict) how to load the shotgun, shoot it, how it patterns, and which shells to use – buckshot and No. 8 bird (actually pretty accurate).  Son is very interested in learning safe gun handling in case of further zombie confrontation.

Dad walks in and gets all pissy and demands the son put down the gun, which leads to one of the best exchanges in any TV show I’ve ever seen.

Barber:  “The more the boy knows, the safer he’ll be.”

Girlfriend: “I didn’t see the harm in it.”

Dad: “You know how I feel about guns.”

Barber: “The gun doesn’t care how you feel about it.”

Dad: “That’s enough.”

Dad than stops girlfriend from delivering the coup de grace to another zombiefied neighbor as El Salvadorian barber looks on in disgust.

Dad just escaped full on downtown LA, building being torched, cars flipped over, cops in riot gear firing tear gas, looting, etc.  Nearly gets killed by at least one zombie.  There is no power.  Phones are out.  Bodies of neighbors are lying in the street outside his home.  Civilization is collapsing and all hell is breaking loose around him and Dad still has the audacity to be smugly anti-gun.

I have never wanted to see a protagonist in a show die a horrible death so badly.

I’m a father, I believe to the core of my being that my first duty is to protect my family.  This Dad can’t get over his left-wing, LA suburb, smug, anti-gun attitude to do his duty!?! Did I mention Dad is a LA public school guidance counselor?  I want this guy to be munched on.

The funny thing is, I’m not the only person to feel this way.  Barber’s daughter says they should tag along with dysfunctional family as they head out of the city to the desert where they thing it will be safer.  Pleading to her father she says “they are good people.”  Barber dad says (and I love this) “good people are the first to die.”

If I continue to power through this show, I really want El Salvadoran barber to start kicking ass. I am predicting that he was a fighter in the El Salvadorian civil war.  He’s got that 1000 yard stare and has no compunction against shooting zombies.

There is an old expression: there are no atheists in foxholes.  In times of extreme stress, people who ordinarily have no faith will still appeal to a higher power for help.

I have postulated a corollary: there are no anti-gun activists during a zombie apocalypse.  When you find yourself to be the main course in a zombie buffet, the basic human instinct for self preservation will override any ideology.  I think that my corollary is accurate but not for the reason I originally thought.  There are no anti-gun activists during a zombie apocalypse because they all got eaten while moralizing about how bad guns are.

God do I want Dad and heroin addict son to get eaten and El Salvadorian barber to adopt the rest of dysfunctional family.

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By J. Kb

21 thoughts on “Desired Schadenfreude – A&E Edition”
  1. In the real world, there is a word for people like Dad. Bait. I hope gets eaten before the show ends (there’s only going to be 6 episodes). Followed closely by the drug addict.

  2. The fat kid who wanted the teacher mom to give him his knife back is the only other character with a clue, he’s already immensely popular with the audience, but outside of a group isn’t a survivor type.

    Gun control in the main series keeps raising its ugly head, even in the fifth season. The refuge that the group currently finds itself in, the Alexandria Free Zone, is surrounded by a high steel wall to keep out the dead; inside, with solar-generated electricity, it’s like the Zombie Apocalypse never happened, and all of the guns have been collected and are stored in a central location and must be signed out – – which is another gun control idea that is sometimes suggested for implementation in the US. Season Six promises to show the Alexandrites the error of this particular folly.

  3. The attitudes are actually pretty accurate in TWD universe. The Georgia crew, almost all of them, know how to handle guns, and if they don’t, they learned in a hurry. The LA crew are mostly statists and left-wingers, with the only sensible guy being the barber. Another telling statement in FTWD is when the dad thinks that the cops will “restore order” in a few hours.

  4. “When you find yourself to be the main course in a zombie buffet, the basic human instinct for self preservation will override any ideology.”

    That right there is gold.

  5. He’s just being a good Californian so it doesn’t bother me much. But someone (not me) has postulated he could be a good progun argument? because he will either learn the value of self defense firearms and not trusting the state or die. Both good for making a pro gun point.

    IMO the thing that pisses me off the most is the lack of reflection by the characters about what is going on. The only one who really does this is the drug addict son who ironically, or maybe not so, is the most in touch with reality. The mom/gf does this briefly but the show this far has been don’t spoil my daughters not so innocent innocence and shit like no one has ever seen before is going down, we all kinds know what it is but refuse to talk about it, and some how not a single person is freaking out. The show is either purposefully showing these people living in their delusions of safe suburban life, or the writing sucks and isn’t giving time to the emotional toll of teotwawki, or some combination of both. I’m leaning towards tmostly he writing sucks since that is generally par for the course.

  6. I’ve been watching the series too and shook my head as well.

    Darwin weeds out those who haven’t made proper alliances, who can’t run fast, and don’t utilize proper tools. Aren’t these Zomblieland rules?

    Luck helps, but I’m not about to count it.

  7. Hmm, my first comment seems to have disappeared. Basically it said that I think someone will die due to Dad being soft (probably a family member) and Dad will become much harder, probably asking the barber to show him how to use a gun. Character arc and all that.

  8. I actually think what they are portraying is very accurate. I think the way they have played TEOTWAWKI is probably very close to what would happen. It would be going on for a very long time before most people would be even remotely aware. The end would seem sudden, even though events had been leading in that direction for a long time.

    Even in the worst case scenario, there is going to be a strong human “need” to ignore the obvious and to hang on to the old normal with desperation. I think the biggest clue that they are doing this on purpose in FTWD is the scene with the Dad and the neighbor putting out the trash. Despite the chaos and anarchy they’ve all been through, they still expect the trash to be picked up on schedule.

    They’re was also some serious foreshadowing of what come next when the El Salvadoran barber says it’s “too late” when the government troops show up. He seems to know this won’t end well. In the meantime, everyone without his background (whatever that turns out to be) is going through the “we’re saved” emotions when troops show up.

    I still think the show has promise, even if the build-up has been a little slow.

  9. I gave up on The Walking Dead when the Guard unit got ambushed by the Governor and his followers.

    I just want one show where all the characters do is go

    “Shit, this is bad. Them folks just ate Earl! Everybody go get your deer rifle, put on your orange vest and muster at the court house square.”

    Jackie says the only reason I like that scenario is because I could probably velcro an eagle to my ACUs and get away with being a Colonel for the duration.

  10. Watch the El Salvadorian actually do that. He knows what he’s doing, and escapes with the rest of the family, or just his. And the dad and stoner ends up eating a shotgun shell to the face. Doesn;t matter though if they were zombiefied or not when meeting said shotgun blasts.

  11. There was a similar misguided character in “The Walking Dead”, Hershel. Hershel kept zombiefied neighbors alive in hopes that they could be cured. He refused to kill zombies, and refused to allow zombies to be killed, on his farm. Over time, he learned the error of his ways. I suspect “Dad” will either learn or die from ignorance.

  12. Ah, the joys of normalcy bias. Perfect example of it.
    And, don’t forget, the drug addict kid is the one who saved dad’s ass when he hopped in the drivers seat, and ran over his drug dealer pal! I’ve found watching the kid try to figure out what’s a combination of withdrawal, and drug-induced stupid vs reality, quite fascinating!

  13. I so hope that someone dies while fighting with a bullet button on a CA legal AR. I doubt it will happen but I hope it does, followed by a conversation about how much better the ARMY 30rd mags are than their 10rd mags.

  14. Miguel!
    Spot on! Great review! I thought the show was going nowhere til the barber showed up. Now I’m rooting for the dad to go to his anti-gun reward…

  15. The question remains, which group–the breathing or the non-breathing–is the title of the show really referring to?

  16. What do you think the odds are that Dad is being portrayed as such a liberal weenie in order to make his coming transformation into a cold blooded zombie slayer all the more dramatic?

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