The Walking Dead: Why Do We Love the Zombie Apocalypse? – Wisecrack Edition
Articles Blog

The Walking Dead: Why Do We Love the Zombie Apocalypse? – Wisecrack Edition

August 17, 2019

Hey Wisecrack, Jared here. I wanna introduce you guys to one of the star
writers here at Wisecrack – Alec. He’s worked on some of my favorite episodes,
like the Philosophies of Rick and Morty, South Park season 19, and Deadpool. Today we’re asking a question that’s near
and dear to my heart: why is the apocalypse so awesome? Whether I’m watching the pandemonium unfold
in The Walking Dead, or even making dumb zombie-preparedness plans with my friends- FYI, mine is looting
Korean BBQ with Woody until the undead come –
I, and probably you, can’t get enough of the end of the world. Thankfully, Alec has a theory of WHY we can’t
get enough. So, because he’s our resident Walking Dead
expert, I’m going to pass it off to him. Thanks, Jared. I did a bunch of reading on this and believe
it or not, this obsession is kind of new. I don’t mean the idea of the apocalypse
is new. You’ve got films like Omega Man, Night of
the Living Dead and people have been rambling about the end of days since they figured out
how to write. But apocalypse is certainly having a moment
in popular media, and I’m going to argue that it has a lot to do with what we all secretly
believe about our current world. Welcome to this Wisecrack edition on The Walking
Dead and Apocalyptic fiction. But first, I want to thank the team over at
Next Games and The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land for sponsoring this video. They saw the original Philosophy of the Walking
Dead and Philosophy of Negan videos, and they asked if we had more smart stuff to say about
zombies. I’m going to suggest that, despite ostensibly
being about the hellscape that the world will become when civilization collapses, most apocalyptic
fiction is really just repackaged utopia. Stay with me – I’ll get there in a bit. In apocalyptic fiction – we get two scenarios:
surviving, and rebuilding. Survival fiction includes Dawn of the Dead,
in which our survivors hunker down in a mall; 28 Days Later, where our protagonist seek
sanctuary from a virus and This is The End, where our celebrities have to avoid
being swallowed up by hellfire. But we also have “rebuilding” as a component
of apocalyptic fiction. The Walking Dead starts with “survival”
and kind of veers off to rebuilding : Rick Grimes wakes up well after the world has collapsed
and has to fend off Walkers as he searches for his wife and son. But as the show progresses the surviving zombies
part becomes kind of easy: if anything it becomes a chore. Killing off walkers becomes no more significant
than say, remembering to get your brake pads checked. So, the later seasons focus on piecing society
back together, and fighting off fellow humans that threaten this new society. We get to question the merits of democracy
as the gang rebuilds in the prison, the importance of public health policy, the joys of gardening
and the subtle art of diplomacy. As the show progresses, it becomes less a
battle against flesh-fueled monsters, and more a battle for the very soul of humanity. In his forthcoming book “The Playstation
Dreamworld,” philosopher Alfie Bown argues that The Walking Dead and other apocalyptic
fiction provide a “sustained escapism from our own reality.” But unlike other forms of escape, like drugs
or fidget spinners,, doomsday fantasies offer a unique glimpse into what we think of our
own society. For instance, the fact that apocalypse is
so popular instead of, say, utopian science fiction, is telling. The 1940s, 50s and 60s were the “golden
age of science fiction,” and despite the fact that we could have been annihilated by
nuclear war at any second, shows like the Jetsons or Star Trek imagined a future with
flying cars, robot maids, teleporters, and space travel. Humanity would pull out of its petty nonsense,
and focus on the real problems it faces: like inventing an on-demand all-you-can-eat buffet
in space. And while Science Fiction is certainly still present, we’ve long since ended our media romance with jetpacks and utopian futures. And that’s because, to paraphrase Bown,
it’s far easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of our current economic
reality. If The Walking Dead has had such enduring
success, perhaps it’s because it taps into why people fantasize about the end of the
days. One theory: We feel impotent in the world:
working jobs we hate, participating in a political system that seems broken, and binging on avocado
toast to forget that we’ll never own a home. The Walking Dead provides a reset, in two
important ways: by presenting a world where people are in control of their destinies,
and offering us “pastoral serenity” once you brush away the hordes of undead, of course. Let’s start with personal agency, or control
over one’s life. A prevailing theme in the Walking Dead is
that the apocalypse, is a fresh start for its survivors. Carol was the victim of an abusive relationship
at the start of the series, but now she’s a murdering machine who answers to no one. Daryl and Merle were the poor refuse of a
society that wanted nothing to do with them – they were disposable. Growing up poor with abusive parents doesn’t
do you any good in today’s world. But after the apocalypse, these tragic events
translate into survival skills that now mark Daryl as a leader, an essential part of society. Negan was a used car salesman, and can now
use his manipulative talents for something a little more ambitious than selling extended
warranties. If we love these stories it’s because deep
down, it’s easier for many of us to imagine being reborn in the ashes of the world than
say, getting affordable health insurance. Not that we’d actually fare better, if you’re
like me and spend most of your day watching YouTube videos, let’s be honest, we’re
going to die first. Don’t believe me? Case in point: I’ve spent dozens of hours
playing The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land. Here I am building a new settlement, going
on a scavenging run, and raiding some schmuck’s outpost. I keep beating Todd at the weekly challenges,
and it really gives me the illusion that I’ve got some control in my life. Playing with characters like Daryl and Glenn
reminds me of the badasses I’ll never be anything like, and hey, they’re even releasing
The Governor and Merle, so I can pretend to be a villain too. And if you’re sadistic, you can unlock Negan,
but I’ll tell you more about that, and the game, later. Anyway, I digress. While people like Carol and Daryl have finally
found control of their existence in the new world, The Walking Dead also sells us the
fantasy of having control over our political existence. Regardless of your political affiliation,
it’s easy to feel out of control in 21st century America: long gone are the days of
meaningful political engagement with your community. now we have 24 hour news cycles, lobbyists,
and partisan politics. And, unlike former generations that saw unfathomable
shifts in our global reality like the rise and fall of fascism, the civil rights movement,
or the end of the Cold War, today’s youth has seen a somewhat stagnant political reality,
with a few exceptions. And while the politics of Rick’s survivors
aren’t always ideal, at least the characters have a tangible impact. In Alexandria, Rick can use persuasion and
sometimes a little bit of violence to get his way. The leader of hilltop may be a coward, but
at least he’s a guy you can go and talk to. The survivors even dabble with direct democracy. In other words, individuals still are afforded
power in their political climate, a sentiment foreign to many people today. And economically, the Walking Dead offers
us this same fantasy. There’s a sort of “pastoral serenity”
offered to us first on Hershel’s farm, and later in the prison and Alexandria. We forget our alienated modern lives of constant
distraction, and enter a nostalgia for a quiet community where one can work the land,
put in an honest day’s work, and reap the benefits of their labor. Unless you live under Negan’s feudalistic
economy – but hey, that’s why he’s the bad guy. So, to get back to the Jetsons and our loss
of utopia- well, it’s not really gone. Bown notes: “The problem we are faced with
is not so much a lack of utopia, because this is really what dystopic dreams are: the enjoyment
of a chance to re-start in a more simplified world thinly veiled by the apparent horror
of dystopic collapse.” And it’s not just The Walking Dead. Between Bear Grylls, Naked and Afraid, and
Survivor, the “shock” of living a simpler existence provides the same kind of escape
as space travel did 50 years ago. So what do you think? Is our love of Walking Dead a resignation
to the hopelessness of it all? Or do we just love seeing zombies get stabbed
in the brain? Speaking of stabbing zombies in the brain,
let’s check out some more of The Walking Dead No Man’s Land. Here’s my camp, you can see how much time
I’ve been putting in meticulously organizing it. You can upgrade buildings to get more resources,
and level up your equipment, armor and people. I’ve been dumping all of my experience into
Daryl because he can mow down rows of walkers. Now I’m going to put him on my team for
this story mission So it looks like I have to get into these
supplies and get out. So clear those guys out. Ah, it looks like I have to protect Abraham
while he opens it. This is my favorite part. Now time to get out without dying. And, safe at last. I got some experience for completing the mission,
and they made a pretty fun game of opening boxes for some random rewards. They also just released these new highlight
missions. Let’s play one. It looks like you get to relive Rick and company
securing the prison. I have to block these entrances where walkers
keep spawning. And, you know, make sure they don’t murder
me in the process. So I’ve got to get that dumpster blocking
it, then this. fence. And now over here. And…that’s a ton of walkers in my way
I guess this is home sweet home now? So thanks again to Next Games for sponsoring
this video and be sure to check out The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land on the App Store or
Google Play. Download it using the link in the description
below before June 28th and you can unlock Negan for free! They’re also doing a special event called
Midsummer Mayhem where if we all collectively kill 1 billion walkers everyone gets a Golden
Lucille. And, you can play with us. Join Wisecrack’s “Hyperion Guild” with
me – I’m SlavojZizek, and Todd is Farkin Basteege, which I’m told is a botched reference
to some movie. There’s 17 slots left in the guild, so hurry
on up. Don’t forget to subscribe and ring that
bell! Thanks for watching, Wiscrack!

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Hey guys, we hear you and thanks for your comments. Without you we'd be the walking dead!

    We'll work on more artful approaches to get the balance right. Thanks for the support!

  2. I get you guys need to pay your bills during the adpocalypse, but when content and advertising are as intermixed at this, it makes it hard to not feel the whole thing is a thinly veiled ad.

    You guys makes some amazing content, so please at least make the ad portion of the content a bit more separated from the actual content.

    I have nothing against ads and sponsors being a part of the content, but when content and ad becomes one and the same it feels disingenuous.

  3. Down below is a quick recap of the video, for the people with no time to waste. No need to thank me…but you're welcome anyway.

    "Hello, guys! The question we're going to try to answer today is Why Do We Love the Zombie Apocalypse so much?"

    "But first, let's thank out sponsor, Next Games' The Walking Dead No Man's Land. A great game that you should download right now!"

    "Now, Why Do We Love the Zombie Apocalypse? Or is it only the Apocalypse? Well…there's this guy that wrote a book with some anlysis about it. You should read it. It says something about surviving & rebuilding. Some people likes the first one. Others love the rebuilding part"

    "But if you don't wanna read…you should go and download Next Games' The Walking Dead No Man's Land. It's an awesome game, where you practically don't need to read anything. Just tap, tap, tap and be happy!"

    "So…do we love the Apocalypse or not? It's not an easy question to answer. So…let's say…MAYBE. Who knows? Maybe we just love the idea of a simpler life and that's why a bunch of lame Discovery Channel shows exist today. Or not. Who knows? Maybe we're just a bunch of morbid individuals that just love to see zombies being stabbed in the head all the time! Haha!"

    "And speaking about stabbing zombies in the head: watch me play Next Games' The Walking Dead No Man's Land for the rest of the video and see how much fun I have!"

    "Thank you to our sponsor, Next Games, maker of the fabulous The Walking Dead No Man's Land that you can download today in the App Store or Google Play. If you do it fast enough you can enjoy some empty rewards too! But only if you download the game today (since the company needs to see an increase in downloads in order for us to receive some cool bonuses)"

    "Oh, and don't forget to check our other videos and like & subscribe! Bye!"

  4. everyone bitching about the ads, better be $50+ patreons pledgers or shut the fuck up, people have to eat

  5. Michonne was just some lawyer that picked up her neighbor's sword which he used to kill one of her cats, she even took fencing classes at some point which translated into her becoming a bad ass samurai warrior.

  6. Fetishizing the past it's the cornerstone of fascism… Just add a patronizing sponsor and you are ready for white supremacy. So disappointing.

  7. I really prefer the "Survival" aspect of apocalyptic fiction, the "Rebuilding" part always seems boring. Be it in games or shows.

  8. I like how you censored the word "Capitalism" to "current economic system" and then awkwardly shoved an add into the middle of this video … yes, the end of the world is much easier to imagine than the end of capitalism.

  9. you guys should do "The Philosophy of: How Wisecrack made a 9 minute advertisement for a fucking mobile game". serious turn off guys.

  10. OK, I know I'm going to vanish into the comments, but… Chill. Sure, Wisecrack made a video that had a few too many ads. They done goofed. But, the actual content was great, as always, and did the ads detract from this? If you're whiny, then yes. Wisecrack made a mistake, but they learnt from it. Watch the video for the video, and take comfort in its solitude in terms of advertising.

  11. I understand your need to eat.
    So this comment is more about to other portion of this video, you know the apocalypse and all. The show itself is dumb and not engaging, it dumbs down some of the concepts it tries to present. But i digress, now that you know my bias, to the rest of the rant…
    I dont give your analysis any intellectual credibility, your like the show and the game your promoting, "dumb and stupid with the promise of something grand in the end of it all." Even if more than half of your audience are under 20, they are not dumb dont treat them as such. waste of potential.
    I feel much of the stories that present the apocalypse is about the loss of humanity, a friend, family. yes it is about survival, but its a great little glimpse of the world without the very things we take for granted, people and the system that allows for the many convinces that make our lives incredibly easy. How circumstances change people, and the potential failure we cause one another under those circumstances. The stories of people rather than banding together to fend off the undead horde we fall apart. The apocalypse isnt even the end its just another chapter in human history, hell its not even a reset button since people still have their experiences and conceptions of their past society. True apocalypse explores the possibility that the planet would continue without us humans as we dwindle to extinction, the true end. but of course the show would never explore that.

  12. "Harder to imagine the end of the world than the end of our current economic reality" someone's been plagiarizing Slavoj Zizek

  13. People are complaining about ads but they turn a blind eye to the fact that all of Wisecrack's content is free 😛

  14. I was gonna use this video for my essay research but then the ads got in the way. So much potential wasted.

  15. Love you guys. Awesome content. My reason for love of apocalypse movies, I'm so over all this. I'm ready for what's next.

  16. Lol…its like Jared passed this off to Alec because he didn't want to feel the hate from the Ad plugging.
    You guys have good content, but don't turn into "that".
    Peace and GOD bless!

  17. Shame to see such an original and quality youtube channel becoming a sellout. You are talking about philosophy and other high leel intellectual stuff, dont expect us to tolerate 5 minute mobile game commercials. Sellouts…

  18. In my opinion one of the reasons we "dream" of an apocalyptic world is to have true purpose in life, something to life for.
    We are never challenged on our basic survival instincts and i think we miss it in a way.

  19. I love your videos, don't get me wrong, but these ads threw the whole point of the video off. Glad to know you guys are balancing out the video in terms of sponsorships and actual content.

  20. I guess it'd go against the sponsorship of this video, but I've been nurturing a pet theory that a lot of the public's contribution to the political atmosphere in the US today (and other areas, I suspect) is shaped by the tone and themes of shows and other entertainment such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. There are a lot shows/movies/etc that copy the general themes.

    I haven't articulated it too well yet, and I may never really get to with the events in my life right now, but the gist is that there's a sort of impression with these shows (and other similar works) that we're all doomed and the only way to survive and be successful is to be cut-throat, unforgiving, and focused solely on your own well being even to the detriment of all others. Characters who could be seen as heroes or moral-compasses tend to fail in extreme ways, usually with a painful or humiliating death, and they are painted as failures for trying to be charitable, compassionate, progressive, etc. Basically, they are the example of "don't be like this person."

    One of the few exclusions to this is, at least at times, found in the likes of the Marvel movies where there are actual heroes performing heroic, and perhaps selfless, deeds successfully. Though even here, the success tends to come at a price without any complete successes to be had — there's always a downside, which makes some sense in a continuing, interconnected saga that needs to maintain some elements of conflict.

    But my concern isn't that downer stories like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones (or most of the current DC movies) exist. Rather, my concern is that they tend to be the prominent style of story now rather than the uncommon niche story. Even to that end, I think these kinds of stories had more weight and value to them when they were the exceptions rather than the rule, keeping optimism from going too far. Conversely, we don't have much in the way of optimistic media to keep the pessimism in check.

    Art imitates life, but life also imitates art. Sometimes we get caught in these sort of feedback loops. And right now I think most have been trained on an unconscious level to expect the worst and to root for the most ruthless approach rather than the most beneficial for all of society. That is, I think we are more "everyman for himself" than "united we stand".

  21. My worst problem with this video wasn't the ads but the fact this dipshit did no research to find out that negan was actually a gym teacher not a car salesman tf

  22. lol you know damn n well that you only play this game when you go take a shit, don't play with me. "my favorite part"

  23. The content in the video was good at least! If you need the revenue is that bad then go ahead, content is worth it. Y'all deserve to get paid

  24. once I see pass the ad, which is super hard I must say, it do raise a good point. But I would say it links more to what makes fiction works: conflict. it is way easier to find conflict and drama in post apocalypses world then a perfect utopia. conflict is everywhere in PA worlds: hostile world, unknown encounter with other individual and inner struggle of the characters. as for utopia, everything works perfectly, unless it is a on-the-surface fake utopia, it's really hard to find more conflicts in that world, AKA who the hell would watch everyone get along?

  25. The WD is one of the most overrated shows ever, the only reason people like this is because America has a zombie fetish, zombies are just a stupid fad, and it deludes itself in thinking it's far better than it really is, especially the milk cow AMC, Also this what Animerica himself said about the WD: "I despise the Walking Dead. I have never been able to get past the second episode of Season 2. I have tried 3 times and I fell asleep every time. Literally. As in I was fully awake and ready to give it a good shot because I have friends that really like it, and less than two hours later, I was falling asleep because I was bored out of my mind. I thought the first season was very good, but that was it for me." "This is probably going to sound like the nitpick of all nitpicks, but it is the number one thing that prevents me from getting into the show: In TWD, the word "zombie" does not exist. I have no idea whose brilliant halfwit idea this was, but it makes it impossible for me to actually buy into the series. The word "zombie" is not trademarked; no one owns any rights to it and there are no licensing fees for using it. Despite this, they have to call them "walkers." So, apparently, in this "realistic" zombie scenario, George Romero doesn't exist and no zombie movies have ever been made. Zombies do not exist in the horror genre, have never existed in any capacity whatsoever, and have no place in the cultural consciousness. At all. SEEMS LEGIT. It may be the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg, but MY GOD does it drive me nuts."

  26. Second part: "Why even bother with this, the Walking Dead series is one of the most overrated shows, it’s just plain stupid to put a zombie apocalypse in modern times, they seriously expect us to buy that even with all the advanced weaponry, resources and advances in medical and medicine treatment, the zombies took over and they couldn’t find a single lead on a cure or at the very least a weakness or a way to slow it down or even more nonsense like how this apparently happened to the intire WORLD even though no indication of this is given and it’s set intirely in America (typical self centred-ness), not to mention all the other clichès like, why aren’t animals affected by the virus, why do zombies still go after animals even though they are immune and etc, and then there is pure exploitation such as the over the top zombie violence, seriously why do zombies “eat flesh”? They’re just supposed to spread the virus, what is with the flesh eating, they’re already dead and their stomachs are dead, this is just pure exploitation, which brings me to the exaggerated zombie bites, zombies are decaying, their muscles are decaying including their jaw muscles plus they have no blood flowing which means no adrenaline with adds additional strength, they should barely have any strength or bite power, yet we get scenes where they are able to grip and pull people towards them, constantly knock down someone and lay on top of them without them somehow being able to easily push them off, and sink ridiculously exaggerated bites into them. I seriously regret ever watching this show, I initially watched it thinking it would have a mystery revolving around how the outbreak started and the origins of the virus which would be revealed later on, but nope it’s just the clichè’d corpses come to life because of a magic virus with no indication of exactly what it is or where it came from and it’s just a unsympathetic and unlikable character focused, wangsty exploitation show that takes itself way too seriously. If I wanted to see that I would watch the Mad Max movies, except they wouldn’t have what I listed above and would actually be interesting and entertaining. If you’re going to take this route at least make it fast paste, like a movie or series of movies, or make the seasons much shorter like with season 1, or most importantly and I think Robert Kirkman should take this advice, have it set either during the early 1900’s or the late 1800’s that would make the whole thing more creative, it would be more plausible as this would be before the invention of all the powerful weapons, modern technology and advanced medical treatment and medicine, and before the George Romero films and the zombie craze. (also Carol did bad stuff during the terminus rescue where instead of giving the terminus woman who had revealed their tragic backstory a quick and painless mercy kill she just lets walkers in and devour her like a complete psychopath, which in itself is also really stupid as it puts Carols friends in the building at risk of being bitten.): “You should see all the constant junk and exploitation AMC’s the Walking Dead throws at us, actually you might as well use that ridiculous violence counter on any unsubtle Zombie flick that takes itself too seriously while being ridiculously exploited and exaggerated, with the exceptions of one that are supposed to be black comedies and/or dark satires, significantly George Romero’s original night of the living dead.”

  27. Why bother with content at all? Just upload ads for your sponsors if you're about to spend so much time talking about them 😉

  28. It wouldn't be like the walking dead. More like mad max, with the zombies in it lol. I love the fact TWD fans missed the point of Romero's movies and have confused soap opera dialogue with the actual horror of society collapsing as meaningful. Yet they are all the zombies at the mall. Rampant consumerists wandering around. The fact they don't get that speaks volumes.

  29. Shit, forgot to get my brake pads checked, and here comes carmart saying that my brakes almost fell off. Car still shakes though. Waste of 280 bucks. Am i there yet? (Me abstractly trying to adhere to the rule of 3s.)

  30. The walking dead has tons of stuff to cover so if you’re getting paid doing it do it good don’t just put out a bad video
    Do your research next time.

  31. wow this was just awful, constant tie ins to the fucking gamr, basically made me disregard whatever he was saying, since basically he doesnt mean it hes just talking to fit in an ad..

  32. I understand that ads pay but damn, its too obvious that the whole video mas made for the ad of the game and the show, which neither is good, or really thought provoking, the video feels empty overall.

  33. What’s the philosophy of Wisecrack talking philosophy, but at the expense of being mindless advertisers for an app?

  34. Buddy i know it's important to please your sponcers but this is getting out of hand now.I love your content very much that's why i subscribed to this video almost 5 mins is for promoting that appa and only 4 kinutes for the content of it please change it buddy

  35. Despite the ludicrous amount of ads, this is still a pretty good video imo. But I think you are missing one important point, that killing zombies SOUNDS a lot more doable than surviving traditional apocalypses like 2012 or The day after tomorrow.

  36. hey dipshit! neegn was a high school ping pong coach.. lost my interest there, no sub, change channel….

  37. Watches apocalyptic dystopian stories
    Looks around
    "Eh, everything seems okay right now."
    I'll bet it makes peoples' present lives seem more bearable: "At least we're not overrun by zombies."

  38. Sees video with good content and lots of paid promotion because that’s how you get any fucking content at all
    Dislikes and leaves nasty comment instead of skipping the easily skippable ads

  39. I thought negan was a teacher prior to the apocalypse not a car salesman? Also the ads were way too gratuitous in this video

  40. Utopians always believe that they will be on top of whatever will succeed the existing order once it’s all ripped down.

    To the extent that they recognize that there will probably be an underside, they believe that it won’t happen to them obviously.

    This is the sort of thing that motivated All utopian movements from the fascists in Europe to the Red Guards in China, to today’s “democratic socialists”.

  41. Because as George Romero shown it’s a reflection on our culture and it’s problems plus who when we give up and stop working together to worry our own survived we don’t survive that’s why we love the zombie apocalypse.

  42. I just like the thought of no government and stuff like that in an appocolypse its really that simple for me 👍

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *