The Wilde Wilde Walking Dead


Was Oscar Wilde making his witty comments about AMC’s The Walking Dead?

Literary master Oscar Wilde was not describing high society life in post apocalyptic Alexandria in his plays, but some of his quotes and humor from over a hundred years ago still seem apropos somehow.

Let’s take a look at a few quotes from Oscar Wilde and see how they might apply to the characters on The Walking Dead or our love for the show.

Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.”

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Something I’ve never understood is the idea that people didn’t “deserve” to have something happen to them. Obviously, nobody deserves to be eaten alive by zombies. Life isn’t fair. That’s something we see all the time in

The Walking Dead.

People talk about what characters they think should die because they are useless or wimpy.

Would we think this way in a natural disaster? Would you want your family member who is young or weak or old and frail to be abandoned and not protected because they are useless and can’t contribute to the group? Is contributing always defined in physical terms?

Scott Gimple says it all the time. This is The Walking Dead and bad things happen.

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“I beg your pardon I didn’t recognise you – I’ve changed a lot.”

The characters in The Walking Dead have gone through so much and have adapted, changed and evolved, dramatically in some cases, they sometimes don’t remember what it was like for them at first. They’ve lost patience with some of the new survivors. They’ve built walls of distrust. They don’t recognise other people they’ve known when it’s actually they themselves who have changed.

Eugene hasn’t changed. Glenn hasn’t changed. Father Gabriel hasn’t changed.  But Rosita has. And Tara has. Carol has. Rick has. They want those other people to change faster than is perhaps appropriate.

“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”

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This just makes me laugh. But in the world of

The Walking Dead

good and bad are not so easy to define. I think this helps me understand why people hate Gabriel so much. His screen time has been used to make him seem rather tedious. He’s definitely not charming in the context of the show. But his sins are no more punishment-worthy than anyone else’s.  Everyone has lied and everyone has gotten people killed in one way or another.

Now, look at the Governor. He has many fans and defenders. He didn’t just get people killed because he was afraid for his own life and locked them out, he gunned them down. But apparently, to some he was charming and sympathetic. Shane, Merle, Gareth. All charming. Though Merle was tedious!

“No good deed goes unpunished.”

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I never knew this quote was attributed to Wilde. This is a concept that Chris Hardwick talks about all the time. He always fears for the moral center or the good guys on the show. It seems like this is the case, but bad deeds get punished as well. And we’ve seen many good deeds get rewarded, so while this is witty, like all Wilde, it’s witty and not necessarily a rule, just a clever observation of things at times.

“Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer.”

Fans of the show and characters on the show do sometimes forgive people who have done bad things, but they are very reluctant to forgive or to give some wiggle room to those characters with compassion. I’m almost surprised at the reaction to Glenn considering how he forgave Nicholas.

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Fans were very quick to turn on Tyreese when he had a hard time killing walkers and an even harder time after Karen’s death and the deaths of Lizzie and Mika. He was berated for taking care of Judith when, in fact, if someone doesn’t take care of her, Rick can’t be the leader of the group.

Fans are now just as quick to turn on Morgan. I’m not saying they should agree with everything he believes, but as Michonne said, it’s not that simple. He’s Morgan. Do we as fans just throw him to the walkers because he’s having a difficult time with things? Do we not support our family and help them work things through?

Did we turn on Rick when he was a little crazy after Lori? Or when he agreed to help Hershel wrangle walkers and put them in the barn? Did we turn on Daryl when he went back to give Tina her insulin? I think fans almost turned on Glenn because of Nicholas. Maybe the dreamers have something to offer, too?

“The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.”

This is The Walking Dead! The show keeps us in suspense  and we hope it will continue to do so for many seasons to come.