The new half-season of The Walking Dead kicks off on Sunday and could everyone be less enthusiastic? I have the last two episodes of the first half season unwatched on my hard drive, and I’m going to have a hard time mustering the energy to watch them.

It’s not really the fault of showrunners Robert Kirkman and Scott Gimple that just as the most violent and horrible season yet was kicking off, the world was plunging into a very real hellscape. The episode where Negan’s folks plunder and humiliate Rick’s Alexandria crew aired the week after the election, and just hit a little too close too home. After all those years of teasing Negan, the real world timing of a story about a fascistic autocrat who uses his own warped reality to impose order didn’t seem so fun any more, even with cuddly Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the role.

And for the first time, ratings began to dip. And keep dipping.

The showrunners know they went too far with the season 7 premiere that presented not only a groundlevel view of two brain beatings, but torture and extreme psychological violence.

At a panel at NATPO, producer Gail Ann Hurd revealed that the negative feedback to the episode had led them to tone down violence for the second half of the season. “We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence,” she said. “We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season. This is not a show that is torture porn.”

Gimple and makeup genius Greg Nicotero pushed back against this statement, but even Gimple is spinning that the rest of season 7 will see
a “Joyful Rebellion”:

The show second half is about the masses rallying to unite against a lunatic and I can’t help but feel comparisons to our current political landscape. How does Trump’s election impact how you write Negan given the parallels there? Have you softened anything?

There’s absolutely no relationship there because so much of Negan is taken out of the comic, which was written years ago. There are diametric points of view at play here and a lot of separation. It’s both bringing people together and tearing them apart on both sides. There is no planning with current the political climate and there’s nothing connected there. There’s a theory about this thing called Ideas Space that [comic book legend] Alan Moore talks about — that there’s a collective unconscious that we all in some ways share this big huge meta story — and there’s also this projection where you have groups of people fighting and a world in conflict — and there’s a lot of conflict in this country right now. We’re trying to give people a departure from reality; we want to explore very general themes about life and being a human being. But we don’t draw specifically in the moment from the world; we really can’t because we’re not South Park. South Park can make episodes in real time but we’re months ahead.

Okay quoting Alan Moore? We’ll keep an open mind.


  1. Sadly, the same people who bitch about the show week in and week out will tune in. They always do. I gave up long ago when the wheels started spinning. I don’t need these type of bullshit TV shows in my life.

  2. ^^^ I wonder. I kept watching long after I stopped caring. I was waiting for the story to move on, but after the idiotic lies concerning Glenn last season, and the denutting of Carol, and then the completely unearned cliffhanger, I gave up and haven’t been back.

  3. I still like it. Neegan’s a great super-villain, and greatly acted. I thought the season with the Governor & getting Morgan back both went a bit too slowly. Otherwise, all good. The comics are way more grody and hardcore than the show. There’s a thousand legit reasons to get bored of it but I can’t help but find it disingenuous to criticize horror zombie content as too violent. Why even go there if horrific violence isn’t your thing? There’s always Golden Girls…..

  4. No probs with the violence more upset over th fucking homos they introduced plus th boring storylines where everyone just talks emoting like a bunch of f*****s

  5. I haven’t been back since the premiere, it left such a bad taste in my mouth. i have the whole 1st half on dvr, but i’m in no hurry to catch up

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