Due to a minor oversight, I am no long eligible to enter Brian McClellan’s truly inspired contest. He is giving away a number of C-format copies of the soon to be classic THE CRIMSON CAMPAIGN. All you need to do to be eligible to win is write him a short (1500 characters or less) review of the last entertainment media you consumed. Movie, book, magazine, tv show. Doesn’t matter. The review can be as simple as “Bob thought good.” But the more creative or interesting or well-spoken you are, the more likely he is to pick you. Flattery will get you nowhere.
This evening I knocked out ~1,100 words reviewing the season four finale of WALKING DEAD. I had the reading version of a typo and imagined that I had 1,500 words to get the job done. Oops!
The whole time I was writing it I kept imagining the piles of submissions Brian was going to have to sort through just to get to mine. I admit, there was a certain amount of schadenfreude lubricating my fingers on the keyboard. Not because I harbor any particular animosity toward Brian — I’ve met him, he’s a really nice guy — but because I’m the sort of bloke that periodically gets off on other people’s misery. Mind you, it’s only from time to time, but still.
Anyway, so now I’ve got a short that isn’t half bad, although it’s probably not half good either. A short that I cannot cram into the text window on his google form. What to do, what to do? I know, I’ll inflict this on all of you and sleep soundly knowing that my efforts have paid off, if not in free signed copies of highly anticipated sequels, at least in the moans and groans of hapless readers. And interns.
Without further adieu I give you …
AMC Top Secret (Eyes Only)
Transcript of Walker 178,241 Interview
Location: AMC Viewer Service, 15th Floor NY, NY
Subject: Walking Dead, Sn 4, Ep 16 ‘A’
Interviewer/Translator: Gabriel Gasman
What follows is the translated transcript of my hasty interview with one of AMC’s season one writer’s working on the hit program the Walking Dead. Former screen writer might be more accurate. Walker 178,241, hereafter known as “Bruce”, was retained by the production staff for post production notes and consultation. The rest of the staff were destroyed after their employment termination notifications were eaten. A combination of tire irons and golf wedges has proven effective for this purpose. Interns were employed to drive home the point, otherwise no full time staff were harmed.
Gasman: So tell me “Bruce”, we’ve talked before, what did you think of the final episode. I mean the Season 4 finale?
“Bruce”: Aaaaaaarrrrrrggggggghhhhhhh. Snap, snap. Urrrrggghhhh!
Gasman: Oh, so sorry, I forgot to turn on the translator. One moment.
“Bruce”: Where’s my meat. No meat, no review.
Gasman: Again, my apologies.
“Bruce”: Thank you. You want to know what I thought of ‘A’? It was crap! That’s what. You guys clearly don’t understand what it’s like to be undead. I mean look at my hand, will ya? Half rotted off and I’ve only been dead three years.
Gasman: Why was the episode “crap”, please? I mean, you have your intern, on ice even, just the way you like it. We need to know because Darabont and the rest are trying to work on a compelling opening to season five.
“Bruce”: Like I said, you have no clue what it means to be undead. The show isn’t about the undead any more, is it? We’re just props in Darabont’s little survival fantasy now. See, they’ve made it all about humans. There wasn’t so much as a mouthful for us let alone a meal in that episode. Just the living shooting at each other. Poorly I might add; seriously why where those morons atop the Terminus site wasting bullets herding Rick and his gang? Aren’t bullets supposed to be as precious as food? Oh wait, and you’ll have to forgive my zombie sarcasm, because Darabont, Kirkman and the rest of them, need someone more evil than the Governor for season five.
Gasman: So you’re saying there needs to be more undead eating the living?
“Bruce”: What the hell, man? Aren’t we ‘evil’ enough for you? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. And not just because I want to eat more people. You guys keep insisting that the living wouldn’t band together against the undead. The program is about the living killing the living, usually for no good reason. And yeah, sure there is evil that lurks in the hearts of the living. It’s what we crave. Why we like to eat you. We’re after the creamy evil centers to your otherwise leathery faux-tanned bodies. But, the living constantly killing the living? Nothing but incapable morons, people so inexpert at solving any conflict, that they invariable resort to the aid of boomsticks. These are the only living creatures that make it through the apocalypse? Yeah, that’s stretching even my ability to suspend disbelief, and I’m a damn zombie.
Gasman: What do you mean, stretching your “ability to suspend disbelief”? I thought that last episode was excellent. What about the way that Rick more or less single handedly ended those blockheads Darrel was forced to pal around with? Shocking! don’t you think?
“Bruce”: Shocking? Really? This is the same show that just killed off two little girls (Sn 4, Ep14) right? I mean, to us the only thing tasty about that sad affair was all the foul scent left on the screen play. Think back to the first season. You’re going to have to help me, my memory isn’t so good, all the rotting. Do you recall when Rick encountered one of us, or half of one of us, when he made his way out of the hospital? That was shocking. He had empathy for the undead. He saw a beauty that had been violated by the taint. It’s even possible he imagined himself down there, half a corpse, on the edge of death and turning. On the edge of the hunger. Now? Yeah, not so much.
Gasman: So you’re torn? The undead have some sort of internal conflict? Keep going, this is good stuff.
“Bruce”: No you fool, we’re all bad all the time. Damn it! You keep me around because I can give the show some authenticity. Listen to me. Get the zombie’s point of view. That feeling that Rick had in season one, that’s everything we’ve lost. Seemingly you’ve lost it too. If I were to bite you or scratch you right now, soon you’d understand. That’s what is shocking.
Gasman: You can’t bite me. And you’d better stop tugging at those chains, you’re libel to pull something else off.
“Bruce”: I can’t help myself. You’re so wicked. Do you really loathe your parents that much? What did they ever do to you?
Gasman: That’s not what we’re here to talk about. Tell me more about what the undead crave. What they find shocking.
“Bruce”: Well balls! “Shocking”, pretty much nothing. But we know what gets you, because when it does it stirs the hunger something awful. We see that you know. You want to shock the living, I’m all for it, just make sure there is a plate of intern, chilled and waiting for me, is all.
Gasman: So how do we do that? I mean, how do we shock the living?
“Bruce”: Pull at their heart strings man. Think about the things that would tear you apart and then write them as if they were all true. Passion, rage, misery and loss, even manic happiness. But no more of these gore fests. So, tell me why do you detest your old ma and pa so much? I mean really, I can see it right there at your dark center.
Gasman: If you must know it’s because they’re so provincial. Just a pair of back country hicks. They bore me. Again, “Bruce” you really need to stop pulling on those chains so hard. You’re pulling your arm right out of the socket.
Summary Notes: Walker 178,241 was later put down by a private security team that entered the interview room providing clean up services. In addition to the two security team members that were infected, and the single hapless intern that randomly wandered into the room at the wrong moment, Gabriel Gasman was bitten. He will be missed. Condolences and a faux-crystal placard commemorating his sacrifice have been sent to his family who have been forced to move to New Jersey.