The Walking Dead: Defending TV violence against children

Carol Peletier, The Walking Dead - AMC
Carol Peletier, The Walking Dead - AMC /

AMC’s The Walking Dead pulls no punches when it comes to violence toward any characters on the zombie survival program, including children and young adults.

Sometimes, there are topics that push people’s buttons in popular television shows. In the past, there have been plenty of discussion about race, gender and other issues on AMC’s The Walking Dead, but recently the topic of violence toward children has been a topic in the media.

Honestly, being a kid in the zombie apocalypse isn’t a good thing. Most of the young people who Rick’s group have come across have ended up dead. As a few examples, Sophia, Lizzie, Mika, Ron, Summer, Penny, Meghan and most recently Sam and Ron Anderson have all died on the show, leaving only a select few younger major characters alive.

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While Carl, Judith, and Enid may be the exception to this rule, it seemed to rub folks the wrong way at The Hollywood Reporter, who recently put out an article discussing the situations that kids on The Walking Dead face on AMC’s undead juggernaut.

In that article, THR spoke with executive producer, special effects guru, and director of season 6’s midseason premiere Greg Nicotero, who explained why The Walking Dead does things the way they do.

"“When we’re crafting the stories, it’s more about characters vs. how old they are,” Nicotero said. “The comic doesn’t pull any punches, and one of the things that’s important for us is that we honor that spirit by continuing to do things that are unexpected.”"

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There have already been times that the TV show did pull some punches. In the comics, there are some intense scenes such as Carl’s rape and the brutal way that Abraham’s family was treated before leaving him. Adapting some of these scenes from the pages of a graphic novel to a cable television show can be a major challenge, but fans and the media need to remember that the source material for this popular show is much more disturbing than the show has been.

However, that doesn’t mean that the show needs to dilute everything from the comics. In order to create some aspect of realism, children have to be at risk just like adults when facing dangerous situations. The kids, especially Sam Anderson, where not as well prepared for the threat of zombies as well as dealing with the situations that it can put the survivors in.

It is understandable not to enjoy seeing violence against children. One of the most emotionally intense episodes was “The Grove”, where Lizzie Samuels killed her sister Mika and was going to do the same to Judith. The intensity of the scene where Carol has to take Lizzie out of the world is so hard to watch, but fans know it is necessary. It is that kind of emotion that helps make The Walking Dead the roller coaster of a show that is has become.

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In the end, The Walking Dead is just a television show. While the violence and gore are all simulated, it can be a little too real for some people who are sensitive to certain material. However, AMC should not cater to the select few, and the hit show should continue to push the boundaries of cable television, even if that means that more child actors have their characters killed off on the show in heartbreaking ways.