Meta-humor

I’m only on the third episode of season one, yet I’m already starting to understand why “The Walking Dead” is so fun and entertaining, in spite of being a vision of our world transformed into a hellish nightmare.

I think the key is the humor. Not humor among the characters — their lives are grim and terror-filled and constantly in peril. I am speaking, rather, of all the witty meta-humor sailing over the fourth wall. The characters are not in on the joke. But we and the writers are.

For example, at this point our intrepid every-man hero, having braved huge ravenous hordes of flesh-eating zombies through a combination of resolve, resourcefulness, and an insane amount of dumb luck, is finally reunited with the wife and young son he had feared dead.

Because he is the hero, and therefore noble, our man decides to turn right back around to brave the flesh-eating hordes yet again, in order to honor a promise he had made. His wife is frantic with despair at the thought of her husband deliberately heading to near-certain death so soon after their tearful reunion.

But listen to what their young son tells her in the very next scene:

Son: “I’m not worried.”
 
Wife: “Why?”
 
Son: “Think about it mom. Everything that’s happened to him so far. Nothing’s killed him yet.”

Just in case, um, you were worrying that they would kill off the hero after only three episodes. :-)

This is very funny stuff. The writers are obviously having a great time, and so am I.

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