Friday, March 9, 2012

The Lori Problem

Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes

As always, if you aren't caught up on "The Walking Dead," come back and read this post once you are, because there are SPOILERS AHEAD!

If I don't like at least one character in a play, movie or TV show, then there's no point in my watching it. This is the problem I have with Sondheim's Company (I know - sacrilege!); "The Real Housewives of (Insert Location Here)" and almost everything ever written by David Mamet, but I think that's just because the man himself is so unlikeable and almost incapable of writing a likeable character (among other issues I have with his work). But this isn't a Bash Mamet Post (though don't think I don't have one in me). 

In any drama worth watching, there should be a character you hate. This character doesn't have to be the villain. Current TV characters I love to hate are Jane Lynch's hilarious (and often touching) Coach Sue Sylvester on "Glee;" Eden Sher's doofy Sue Heck on "The Middle;" Jared Harris' David Robert Jones on "Fringe" and Marc Vann's imperious Conrad Ecklie on "C.S.I.," among others. Then there are shows whose main character is so odiously obnoxious (see "House"), the whole thing belongs in there with Mamet. 

But what if the character you hate isn't the one you're supposed to hate? This is the problem with Lori Grimes in AMC's amazing zombie apocalypse series "The Walking Dead." If you've been following my usually weekly recaps, thoughts and reviews, then you know that Lori is the wife of protagonist Rick Grimes, himself a Georgia Sheriff's Officer who was wounded and hospitalized when whatever happened, happened. The dead walk, seeking human flesh and Rick's only imperative is to protect his wife and their son, Carl. This is the end, my friend. Society as we know it is gone. What would you do to survive?

Well, let's see. So far... Thinking her husband was dead, Lori almost immediately falls into the bed of Rick's partner and best friend, Shane. It doesn't matter that as soon as she learned Rick was alive she ended things with Shane. I can understand going with him for protection, but did she have to jump right into the sack with him? Of course, the argument could be made that we all grieve differently. And since then? She's stood by her man. Even when she thought he was wrong (as in "Judge, Jury, Executioner" last Sunday). She recklessly went alone in search of Rick and company when they were at the bar, getting into an accident and almost ending up as Walker Chow. And while she was all concerned about Carl when she thought he might be dying from Otis' bullet, she completely zoned out to argue the virtues of housework with Andrea while Carl was taunted by a caged Randall, then stole Daryl's gun and incited a Walker to make its way to the farm in time to take out both an errant cow and Dale. Oh, and Maggie almost got killed when she accompanied Glen to the drugstore for Lori's pregnancy test. And - Lori incited a fight between her husband and her ex-lover, which resulted in both of them almost being killed by Walkers which were awakened by the fight.

I have read a few issues of the comic (though not necessarily in chronological order) and I do know Lori's fate in that storyline. AMC's series has already veered in many ways from its source (not that there's anything wrong with that - creative license, etc., etc...) so it wouldn't surprise me if Lori's storyline is changed, as well. 

Sarah Wayne Callies ("Prison Break") does the best she can with what she's given, but the writers seem to want Lori to be some sort of 21st Century June Cleaver/Stepford Wife/Damsel in Distress combination platter, and it just isn't working. Lately, just about every time I see a Walker, I'm thinking: "Oh, please. Please bite Lori. Please put us out of our misery and send this useless, misogynistic Fembot to that giant flat-screen in the sky!"

And I know that I'm not alone in this. Almost everyone I know who watches "The Walking Dead," hates Lori and wishes she would be killed off. But now that she's pregnant, we'll never get rid of the stupid be-yotch. Her baby (whether Rick or Shane's) represents hope for the future, something that sells ads in Middle-America (despite the fact that the majority of Americans live along its coasts). So what if she's setting women's rights back 40 years? She's having a baby! Can ads for zombie-inspired diapers be far off?

I'm sure it won't get to that point. Zombies and babies are better left off to comedies like Brain Dead/Dead Alive

None of this solves the problem of the sanctimonious, judgmental, oblivious and obviously in-denial character of Lori. There are two episodes left to this season. We already know, thanks to a now-fired AMC employee's on-line gaffe, that Shane is not going to make it out alive (as I've been speculating all season). Would it be too much to ask to bring Merle, Morgan and Duane back while killing off Lori in an excruciatingly painful Walker attack?

OUCH! That sounded kind of harsh, didn't it? But I bet you get just how much I hate this character.So tell me, "Walking Dead" fans, do you hate Lori, too? What other characters in TV, film or theatre do you hate? I love to read what you have to say!

Here are some Season 1 zombie kills, just because:

More, anon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'll stick to TWD - I kinda hate all the characters. You can count on them to make the wrong choices for the wrong reasons. They were so concerned and high and mighty about that group of 30 finding them when they have proven again and again that they are the dangerous group that others should fear.

Instead of growing the characters seem to be regressing but maybe that's the point.