The AMC TV network produces some pretty awesome original series: Mad Men and Rubicon are two of my favorites. I am two episodes into their latest, The Walking Dead. It is a show about a post-apocalyptic world where some horrible disease has afflicted most of the people on earth (or at least, so far, in the Atlanta metro region.) These afflicted people are turned into zombies - walking dead who feed on the fresh and tasty flesh of the few who were lucky enough not to get this disease.
So far, it seems the whole show is nothing more than a live video game, where the living try to outsmart the zombies. The thing is - there are a LOT of these zombies. And they just keep coming, in wave after wave of stinky, rotten flesh and bones.
As I was watching it the other night, it occurred to me that "Hey! This looks familiar!"
In our lives, however, the walking dead are any number of real-life terrors.
The housing crisis, for instance. We keep waiting for all these toxic mortgages and vacant/foreclosed/zombie homes to just go away. But they keep coming in wave after wave, with no end in sight. I heard one analyst say that we are in the "third inning" of the housing crisis. Translation: those of us with living, healthy homes will not see those home values go up for a long time and God-forbid one of your neighbors turns into a zombie-home.
But pick your daily news event:
- grid-locked congress
- federal and state deficits
- Sarah Palin
- health care costs
- crazy f-ing North Korea
Each one of these, and countless others, is its own type of zombie, in some way conspiring to threaten us, the living. All we want to do is raise our families, go to work, pay our rent or mortgage, maybe take a vacation once in a while and live in the knowledge that if we are ever bitten by an actual zombie, our health insurance company will pay for the medical bills instead of canceling our policy (if we have one.)
Plot-wise, after the two episodes that I have seen, The Walking Dead leaves something to be desired. But it has nicely captured (for me) the cultural, political and social zeitgeist of the United States as we close the books on the first decade of the 21st century.