I missed the first season entirely and only heard about it as the second season was gearing up last October. The premiere had me hooked and I thought I'd be settling in for some appointment television for the foreseeable future. Some of the criticism about deeper-than-necessary character development and low body count was justified, but if the characters were a bunch of rape deniers/enablers, why would I care if anyone survived? I liked the show so much that I even watched the live aftershow, Talking Dead, for no additional benefit.
Everything was going along just fine...until Episode 5, Chupacabra.
|Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon|
Daryl is sort of a backwoods, survival type of southerner. His last name is also either a play on Dixie, or just taken straight from the Mason-Dixon Line. Either way, he's from the south, so his ancestors owned slaves and he has probably lynched someone or burned a cross. In this episode, we find Daryl injured after a fall, trying to climb back up a hill. I think he has just fallen back down the hill after getting near the top. As he lies defeated in the mud, his deceased brother, Merle, played by Michael Rooker (the other guy in Days of Thunder), appears to him in a vision. Merle is sass-talkin' Daryl to get his ass up again, basically. This is the pertinent part of their exhange:
DARYL: I ain't nobody's bitch
MERLE: You're a joke, is what you are. Playing errand boy to a bunch of pansy-asses, niggers, and Democrats.
I finished the episode, but I swore to never watch another. It isn't enough that Daryl is a southerner...the ghost of his brother has to use slurs to make it authentic. And to top it off, 'Democrats' rounds out the chain, to imply that Daryl and Merle are Republicans. That 'ni**gers' wasn't edited for television either - we got to look Merle right in the face and hear him say it. Nevermind that Republicans, of all colors, freed the slaves, and still fight to this day for equality. This exchange is just another incremental brainwash of Americans into believing that it wasn't southern Democrats who fought to keep slavery, or who enacted Jim Crow laws, but it was Republicans all this time.
So, like I said, I finished the episode, grumbling, and looked forward to Talking Dead afterwards because it's a live show and thought the use of 'ni**ers' might come up. Not a peep.
This is Aisha Tyler: a comedian, actress, and the first black guest to appear on the Talking Dead (maybe the last, too, I also stopped watching the aftershow). I'm not sure why she appeared after this episode - probably a big horror buff. She has some writing credits to her name so she might be on the Walking Dead team. She and the host, Chris Hardwick, may be old friends, and someone cancelled on him and they needed a filler. I don't know. But it's not like they just threw her to the wolves; she shared the couch with Michael Rooker (the other guy in Cliffhanger).