Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Carl, Stay Back

As an avid viewer and fan of The Walking Dead, I was bound to get onto the topic of Carl Grimes, and the fact that so many people just want Carl to stay in the house, stay back, get back, keep the door locked, etc.

There is plenty of criticism online from bloggers, article writers, people interviewed for news and entertainment bytes - all about The Walking Dead character, Carl Grimes and his penchant for getting into sticky, dangerous situations because he wanders off or won't stay in the house.

I've read blog posts where the writers call even the writers/creative team, producers and directors of TWD show awful names because the latter should never have written/presented Carl's character that way.

  • Carl's antics and wanderings caused another (crowd/viewer favourite) character's death
  • Carl running off/disappearing is always causing stress in other characters
  • Carl disappearing has caused other people to abandon current important projects/work in order to go look for Carl
  • Worrying about Carl, not trusting him to stay put and follow directions, constantly grates at other characters' attention spans when they need to focus on safety and more important matters

By contrast, I have loved what writers/creators of the show have done with the Carl Grimes character. As I watched and proceeded through all of the episodes, from season one to the last season, I kept thinking, "Yeah, a kid would do that - wander off, explore."  (Let us not forget that Carl showed up a time or two when and where he wasn't supposed to be and saved other characters).

At times, particularly early on in the series, Carl hasn't quite understood his strengths and weaknesses, primarily assuming that he can handle much more than he actually can. How natural is this in a kid? I think all kids go through stages of overestimating their skills, underestimating risk and danger.

I'm glad the people who create and produce TWD have allowed Carl to have so many flaws, make so many mistakes, tick off so many adults and even viewers. This has all made his character changes really stand out. Carl could have been pushed to the sidelines much more in this show, one of the most violent shows on television. Carl could have been another cardboard kid character, just present as a character accessory to Rick Grimes, to prove that Rick was once a family man before the Zombie Apocalypse hit. Instead, Carl has become an integral and really important member of the survivor group he's in, including resorting to violence when that is needed - even from someone who is still technically a KID.

Okay, so Carl isn't a GREAT KID, not a perfect kid - he wasn't in the beginning of the series, either. Not being perfect made him seem so real, quite normal, as far as children go. (Children make MISTAKES all the time in real life). As the series has progressed, Carl has re-formed with a few holes, gaps and breaks in his general make-up, but then, this has happened with everyone/character in the show.

My biggest question (to those upset with TWD for Carl's actions and character) is this:

Did you think this show was going to be Little House on the Walking Dead Prarie?

To sum up, I think we're seeing, in Season 4 and 5, a Carl who has learned some hard lessons, partly from previous mistakes of his own, and he's grown into a kickarse character that more viewers respect. By Seasons 4 and 5, Carl can take care of himself in about as many situations as the adults can.

It's New Years Eve day 2014 and the new TWD shows won't start up again for several weeks, so I'll be off now to watch TWD past episodes and take another look at Carl, who won't stay back, won't stay in the house, keep the door locked, and who now kicks zombie arse!

Leaving you with a vid I found, a parody... there are a few bad words, but I'm sure you can handle 'em:

Enjoy the show once it is back on in a few weeks...