The first Fear The Walking Dead episode was underwhelming in its execution, but I defended it to many of my self-doubting friends. There are many slow pilots that lead to read hot series so I was more than willing to give this show another chance. I even ignored the fact that the first young black man in the series lived in a great neighborhood, but turned out to be a drug dealer.
I can't believe I willing to ignore this glaring stereotype to try and like this show.
This young man ends up being one of the first main casualties of the show. It's almost textbook how stereotypical this show's writing is. It's a joke in the black community that if you see a black person in a horror movie, they will be the first to die. That's because movies made it a point to kill off black characters first. Horror movies finally slowed down with that cliche (mostly by not putting black people in horror films altogether) and it appears that Fear The Walking Dead is looking to start that trend all over again.
By the middle of the second episode, I knew I needed to quit this show. The second prominent black male in the show is apparently infected. Seriously? What was even stranger was how his parents left him to go on a vacation in Las Vegas. While everyone else seems to have family that love them, the black kid has parents who leave him completely alone to vacation in Vegas. We were introduced to 3 black characters in the first two episodes and two of them are already infected.
Finally, the black principle that is guarding an abandoned school is also now a zombie. This makes no sense. Why is the principle guarding an abandoned school after all of the kids and teachers have been sent home instead of being with his own family. Why is it that as two white characters wonder around the school they never encounter the same infected zombie that crept up and turned the principle? Surely, that zombie would have come for them like the principle did being the school is so quite.
So, the 3 main black characters we were introduced to are now infected as zombies or dead. That's all within 2 episodes. Was this done on purpose? It's hard to believe that killing 3 main characters who happen to be black wasn't done without thinking about it first. According to the show's showrunner, it wasn't intentional at all. He had this to say:
"When we were writing the pilot, it wasn't something that came up in conversations in the room or with the network," Erickson told The Hollywood Reporter. "Ultimately, it came down to when we were casting those parts, we didn't know who was going to live, who would die or how those stories would arc out or not arc out. For us, it was about casting that felt reflective of the community and getting the best actor and that was the final determining factor."
"For that episode, it was about how it would reflect on the characters themselves and how things would play out over the course of the season," he said. "I realize it's clearly become an issue and it's something we are mindful of. But ultimately it's trying to tell the story the best way we can and cast the best people we can."While I know no on would cop to writing the deaths of 3 black males within 2 episodes on purpose, I still didn't expect an answer that was so completely full of crap. After the characters were all cast as black men who would die quickly, given the state of racial tensions right now, I find it hard to believe that no one put two-and-two together that this looked like a bad idea.
When Erickson said casting was "reflective of the community" does that mean that's why a black actor was cast as a drug dealer in an upscale white neighborhood because that "reflects" what's going on in the suburbs? I'm sorry, but I grew up in the suburbs and most of the dealers where I lived were white.
So this is why I'll quit watching Fear The Walking Dead. I know they won't miss my measly TV viewing among their astounding Nelson ratings, but I'll feel better knowing I'm not supporting a show that doesn't think twice about the perpetuating painfully obvious stereotypes to their viewers.
|courtesy of NBC|
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