25 March 2013

Walking Dead Recap: This Sorrowful [American] Life

As of last night's Walking Dead episode, the two day period between Rick & the Governor's summit and Rick & the Governor's follow-up summit has lasted two weeks. Is it vital that we know every single detail of that 48-hour period? Is the writers room running low on cool ideas before the season finale? How many adult men can we turn crazy in the same weekend? All of them, I guess. Morgan, the Governor, Rick, Merle, and now Daryl (sort of) have all gone crazy. Get crazy!

Rick's gung-ho for the Governor's flimsy "bring me Michonne and I'll leave you alone" deal. Neither Hershel nor Daryl love the idea, but Merle thinks it's worth a try. He warns Rick about what the Governor will most likely do to Michonne, however, and it sounds pretty rough. For the first time, Merle looks conflicted - he's wary that Rick's plan will inflict a lot of undue pain, but he's by no means shrinking from the idea. Also, he's tearing mattresses apart looking for prison dope, so.

It's no secret that Merle has full moon crazy eyes now, and he seems to be formulating a plan. He knocks out Michonne and sneaks her out of the prison, as if he expects Rick to change his mind. He's taking her to Woodbury no matter what, and he's giving the rest of the gang a clear conscience by doing it alone.

Ever the watchful eye, Rick doesn't realize she's gone for hours. He goes looking for cable to tie her up as Lori spies on him and Hershel reads Psalm 91:1-7 (KJV) to his girls:
91 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
This all finally boils together in the stockpot of Rick's brain as a good reason not to take Michonne to Woodbury, after all. He finally realizes that Merle's already taken her, so Daryl volunteers to catch them before they reach the Governor. Why he doesn't take his SS motorcycle is beyond me.

In the meantime, Glenn tells Hershel he understands what his antique watch means (the one Hershel's first wife kept for him even though he pawned it because he used to be such a miserable lush): he wants to marry Maggie. Although that's not at all what the watch means, Hershel gives his blessing. Heck, why not? Well for starters, because there's no point in a Zombiepocalypse, because it increases the chance that they'll try to get pregnant (thereby endangering the group even further), because this is an existence without burden of visitation rights, because it will make Glenn and Maggie react more selfishly in the future, because one million more reasons that are just as good. But sure, go ahead and "let her know before 'who knows'." God knows words aren't enough. Glenn snatches a lady zombie's engagement ring and two fingers with it.

Merle ties Michonne up to a post in a motel parking lot while he hotwires a car. Soon the goddamn car alarm goes off and attracts every walker in the area. With limited mobility and zero weapons, Michonne fights off two of them, but eventually Merle pauses his insane reverie to save her from the rest. Hey Merle, great having you back in reality. Just kidding, you're still a complete psychopath. If I had a nickel for every time I wrote that sentence.

Michonne does her best to talk him out of taking her to Woodbury. She tells him he's no better than a henchman, and she asks how many people he killed before he met the Governor. Merle doesn't think he deserves redemption even though he recognizes all he's done wrong, so he lets her out of the car and crazy-eyes his way to destiny on his own.

Michonne runs into Daryl on the way back to the prison. He's really booking it.

Merle gets drunk and blasts the car stereo to attract as many zombies as possible. He leads the gathering pack to the halfway point where the Governor waits. Merle kills a few of the Governor's guards in the chaos of shooting the attacking zombies, but eventually the Governor finds him. He bites off two of Merle's remaining fingers and shoots him in the chest. Merle Dixon: A man who must have given people the finger more than a few times in life has lost 7/10 of them in death.

Back at the prison, Rick tells the gang that he can't be in charge anymore - they have to vote on everything, starting with leaving the prison or staying and defending it. Remember when they voted on whether to kill that kid with the broken leg last season? And it took forever and they still didn't agree on an answer? This is probably a great idea going forward.

Michonne makes it back to the prison around the same time that Daryl makes it to the aftermath of the halfway point dust-up. He knows what he's looking for, and the poor guy cries and cries when he finally finds it - Zombie Merle.

Zombie Merle wants to eat Crying Daryl, but Daryl keeps pushing him away. Hey look, another Dixon Brothers metaphor: Daryl pushed his brother's negative influence away time and time again in life only to finally push his destructive tendencies away in zombie un-death. He stabs him in the head several times and collapses on the ground. Keep an eye out for the other zombies, buddy. You're gonna make it. But keep an eye out, though.

photos courtesy amctv.com

20 March 2013

Make Your Own Maxine Wallpaper!

Are you like me? Did you spend your childhood days getting dragged to the Hallmark Store by your mother? Do you see a blank wall and wish there was wallpaper there? Did you go to K-Mart just after New Years and spend your fun money for the week on a Maxine page-a-day calendar? Great news: you can make wallpaper out of it!

As you can see here, I've been saving each hilarious Maxine cartoon since January 1st and taping it to the wall in my office. Once that space filled up, I moved it over to another wall:

What's great about this type of wallpaper is that when the wind picks up, you get nice movement through the pages. 

Lately I've been drawing on some of the cartoons with a red colored pencil. I regret it now. Here are a few pages I've selected to show how hilarious Maxine is. She's a real crab apple. And she stopped smoking!



Here is one that's not funny on purpose but very funny because of the applause sign and kerchief and hand puppet:

Congratulations, now you can have the best of the best just like me! Maxine on every wall, embodying life and love. Every single day of 2013.

She tells it like it is, dipsticks.

18 March 2013

Walking Dead Recap: Eat "Prey" Zombie

Last night two very important things finally happened on Walking Dead last night: Andrea finally made a move, and the Governor finally came out as Officially Crazy. This was another tunnel-vision episode, exclusively following Woodburians, and I think this mode of storytelling is working out well for this season's apparent lack of things to do. If this is the week Rick takes Michonne and Carl back to King County, I don't want to watch Milton wipe down beakers half the time. If this is the week the Governor finally goes for-real-totally crazy, I don't want to watch Merle rack his brain for more cool misogynist almost-insults. Great news, Merle - you've got another week to brainstorm!

The episode opens on a flashback of Michonne and Andrea's honeymoon in the woods. Andrea finally asks who these walkers were back before they were zombified, but Michonne doesn't want to talk about it. The memory seems too painful. But not as painful as these chains the Governor is setting up in a secret Woodbury torture chamber! [Spoiler Alert] OH BOY, COMICS! [End of Spoiler].

Milton's onto this torture business and he whispers his concerns to Andrea. They spy on the Governor from above as he whistles some dumb song that's supposed to be scary, but no whistled song is scary anymore unless it's "Twisted Nerve" by Bernard Herrmann (Kill Bill, AmHorSt, etc). Not even "Singing in the Rain" is that scary anymore. So the Governor is whistling some dumb song and Andrea ALMOST shoots him right then and there, but Milton pushes the gun away. Milton, you useless, useless, dumb loser.

So Andrea decides it's time to leave - FINALLY, ANDREA DECIDES TO DO SOMETHING - but Martinez stops her to grab her gun real quick. At the fence, Tyreese and his [daughter? something else?] try in vain to stop her. She's gone before they can shrug and go "oreo...?"

To reward Tyreese & Co. for being very useless, Martinez drives them out to the zombie pits where they're storing up zombies for the long winter. Just kidding, they won't be storing them for long. They'll use them to unleash mayhem on the prison. Tyreese doesn't seem into the idea, but his white-guy friend is all too happy to do whatever it takes to stay in Woodbury. He has a teenage child, you see. Not like Tyreese?

Meanwhile, Andrea runs anywhere from 5-50 miles through the woods with nothing but a pocket knife and gumption. When she stops and leans on a tree to catch her breath, a zombie grabs her by the neck from behind! The noise attracts more zombies, and the whole scene looks eerily like a zombie trap, designed for and by zombies. She fights her way out, but I mean...uh oh??

Somehow the Governor placed a GPS tracker on Andrea's tucked-in pants or something because he drives exactly to where she is. She loses him at a treeline, but somehow he figures out her exact exit-point from the forest. His loud, honking pickup truck meets her at a creepy warehouse. This must be a bad dream because the logic here is at best phantasmagoric.

She leads him through the warehouse making tons of noise, and it's up in the air whether she's doing it on purpose or not. He whistles, makes weird psycho-voiced threats, and breaks all the glass in the room with a shovel. Then he hangs up one of those party banners that says "It's Official: I'm a NUTBAG!"


Over at the zombie pits, somebody's wasting a bunch of gasoline to burn all the imprisoned walkers. I'd guess that zombies burn up pretty easily on their own - they're dried out, they do nothing but bump into each other all the time - but I guess it's worth it to waste all that hard-siphoned gasoline. Just kidding, I am beyond upset about this. Seriously, if I were in a Zombiepocalypse and someone wasted gas like this, I would spring into a murderous rage. IT IS NOT FUN FOR ME TO SIPHON GAS, A-HOLE. FIX. THIS.

Luckily, Andrea finds a stairwell full of zombies in the warehouse. She coaxes the Governor into her trap, opening the door and hiding behind it so that all the hungry zombies stream right toward him. This is a smart decision by Andrea, bringing the count up to like 1 or 1.1 or something low like that.

Foolishly, Andrea leaves the Governor for dead, which is a bad, bad idea. Somehow he escapes the mini-herd of zombies that were reaching for his delicious brains not one minute ago. He comes up behind her just as she approaches the prison. Uh oh. That torture chamber just popped back into everyone's mind.

Tyreese admits that he set fire to the zombie pits, but when the Governor gets back he asks where he got the gasoline. Tyreese is like "durrrr, gaso-what???" which makes no sense at all. If Tyreese didn't really set the fire but is taking credit for it, wouldn't he at least pretend to know there was gasoline involved? Wouldn't a better, more sneaky question from the Governor be something like, "How did you set the fire?" so that the burden of bringing up gasoline falls to Tyreese? This is all a nonsensical dream. If you lie about committing a crime, you cop to whatever the accuser asks about. That's kindergarten.

So this is how we find out Milton set fire to the pits, and it still makes no sense. I guess he wants the Governor to kill him but he doesn't really want to kill the Governor. Oh, Zombiepocalypse Stress Disorder! You are confusing because you are a hypothetical psychosis!

By the way, the Governor is outwardly lying about letting Andrea get away. No one knows he's got her locked up in [Spoiler Alert] Michonne's [End of Spoiler Alert] chains. And to think, Andrea could've escaped if only she weren't living in an actual nightmare.

Next week: The prison gang finds a new room in the prison that's their kitchen at home, but not their real kitchen, just like a kitchen they know is theirs even though it's like, completely different. Then it turns out they all came to school naked!!!!!!!!!

photos courtesy amctv.com and The Walking Dead wikia

11 March 2013

Walking Dead Recap: Arrow On The Doorpost

Communication is key. So many wars have been avoided by leaders engaging in simple heart-to-heart chats, just by seeing eye-to-eye, or no wait, that's not true at all, and it's definitely not true of Walking Dead, either. Rick and the Governor meet up in a dilapidated barn to hammer out some sort of truce, but they end up back where they started: a Zombiepocalypse where men pose more of a threat than walkers. Now that's crazy.

Right off the bat, the Governor and Rick waltz into a barn and circle each other for a while before Gov suggests dropping their weapons "in good faith." He puts his gun belt on the table, but then he sits down next to a gun taped to the underside of the table. This is stupid. Obviously even if he puts his first gun down, Rick would be expecting him to have a secret second gun. So it DOESN'T MATTER if it's under the table or in his pants or up his nose. This isn't The Godfather. Nobody patted anybody down.

Outside, the Governor's crew makes friends with Rick's crew. Martinez and Daryl have an impromptu zombie kill-off and realize they'd make cool rebel friends. Daryl's even like "You army or somethin'?" That's basically the same as saying "I like your whole deal. Can we please be friends immediately forever?"

Hershel and Milton bond over Hershel's amputated leg and how Milton never thought of such a clever idea. Milton was the worst, most useless scientist on earth before the Zombiepocalypse. Now he's the king of the losers. It's like in Saved By The Bell how there were nerds, who were smart, but then there were dorks and doofuses, who were lame AND stupid. Milton falls into the lame AND stupid group. He wants to see Hershel's stump, but Hershel's like "at least buy me a drink first!" Nobody makes Hershel seem cool and edgy like Milton does.

Back at the prison, Merle wants to go AWOL and assassinate the Governor. Nobody will let him  because Rick said to stay put, so Merle gets into a roll-around fight with Glenn. Nobody can stop the carnage but Beth, who shoots a bullet into the ceiling. THANK you, BETH, for ruining an otherwise watertight shelter. How about you sing some Travis Tritt song up through the hole in the roof so MORE zombies can come and stand outside the prison?

Rick and the Governor just aren't seeing eyes-to-eye. Rick wants to use a nearby river as a natural boundary to their claims, but the Governor just wants to be a COMPLETE PSYCHO. Andrea can't understand it. They send her away and she walks out of the barn like "Oh boy, I don't know what to do with my hands right now oy oy oy oh boy!"

It looks like we've found another foil for Rick in this crazy Governor guy. His wife died, too, and he had a child he struggled to protect. With Morgan's son and the Governor's daughter dead, the fact that Rick's son is still alive seems like a lucky fluke. Remember when Carl got shot in the chest? Looks like Rick needs to add "survivor's guilt" to his long list of cognitive issues. PS I keep hearing a baby cry in the background. Add it to the list.

The Governor lays it out for Rick in a pretty clear way, for a crazy person: Bring him Michonne and he promises he won't attack the prison. I guess Milton's worked out a way for Michonne's presence to bring back Gov's eyeball. Because otherwise, it has become incredibly clear that the Governor is a sinister, torture-loving freak. He wants Michonne so he can mutilate her, plus much, much worse. At least we know who we're dealing with now? Just kidding, we always knew.

Maggie and Glenn finally have sex for the first time since the Governor made her take her top off. This is a good thing for them, theoretically, but for me it's a heart attack waiting to happen because who knows when a bunch of zombies will come pouring into whatever love shack they've created? It's nice to add dimension to their relationship, but PLEASE close the door a LITTLE more, just in case, please?

Rick and the Governor part ways, agreeing to meet again in two days. The Governor immediately orders Martinez to reneg on their deal if he should see anyone from the prison gang march up with Michonne. Kill them all but leave Michonne, he says. It's the "best way to avoid a slaughter." "That is a slaughter," says Milton, who I guess grew a brain & a pair in the last ten minutes. Then Mister Guv'na does a sloppy walk-and-talk with Andrea where he lies a bunch and she side-eyes him incredulously.

Rick tells the prison gang that it's hopeless - the Governor wants to kill them all. Outside he secretly tells Hershel about the Michonne deal. Hershel's like, "Welllll, she's helped us out a lot so far..." but Rick's like, "Wellll would you rather her stay alive or your daughters?" Somehow no one brings up how unlikely it is that the Governor would keep his honorable offer once he gets Michonne. Be smart, guys. And get some sleep, for God's sake.

photos courtesy amctv.com

04 March 2013

Walking Dead Recap: For CLEAR, Dry Eyes

Last night's Walking Dead stuck with Rick, Carl, and Michonne for the entire hour, and I wish every episode would follow suit. Throw in Daryl for good measure, but that's all I need. I don't need the Governor's superslow creepiness, I don't need Beth's a cappella concerts, and I don't need Andrea's dumb tucked-in pants. I just need Rick, Carl, Michonne, maybe Daryl, and maybe this chair, and that's all I need! ...And this lamp! But that's all I need!

Rick, Carl, and Michonne are on a day trip back to Cynthiana, or wherever Rick's from in the tv version. I just looked it up and it's King County, GA, which is not a place. And Georgia has more counties than any other state (besides Texas)! So they're taking a quick jaunt over to a neighborhood that's only a day away, which could easily set up camp in, and why they're visiting isn't exactly clear. But you know what? I don't care!

They pass a hitchhiker on the way, and Michonne speeds right by, ignoring his miserable cries to be picked up. It's always the most recent members that want to make the club more exclusive, you know? Like, Michonne, they let you in and you're already on your second chance. What did this poor shlub ever do to you? They get stuck in the mud at the camp where the Governor sawed that guy in half (and picked up Andrea & Michonne), and the hitchhiker catches up to them again. But not before they're like "vrooooom vroooooom see yaaaaaaa! WOOoooooo!"

I guess Rick has brought the mini gang back home to get more guns out of his precinct, where he has keys. Didn't he clean that out during the pilot, though? Or at least show Morgan how to clean it out? I figure he could visit other precincts along the way to stock up. "But he doesn't have keys, Becky!" But surely a zombified policeman hanging out at the station would!

Nope, a better idea is to have a look around in King County, where the walls are spray-painted with inviting phrases like "Turn Around & Live." There are like five or six skateboards lined up perfectly. Oh God, oh boy. I'm pretty sure this is post-apocalyptic skateboard brigade HQ, and I for one don't want to stick around to meet those guys.

Eventually a zombie woman following them runs into a trip wire, which makes a sniper come out and start shooting. Rick and Michonne decide to try to snipe the sniper, even with CARL THE CHILD around, COMPLETELY UNPROTECTED. Somehow Michonne appears on the roof just as the guy appears on the ground, and Carl shoots him right in his bullet-proof vest. Doesn't Carl wear a vest sometimes? How about right now?

Guess what, the sniper is Morgan. DUH, WE KNEW THAT FROM SECOND 0.01 OF THE EPISODE. But did we realize he's crazy?? YES WE SAW ALL THAT GRAFFITI. But did you realize the entire place was booby-trapped??? THERE ARE SPIKES EVERYWHERE. I HATE THIS PLACE.

Rick sends Carl and Michonne on a crib shopping spree and waits around for Morgan to wake up in the booby-trap funhouse. Instead of being like "Hey, remember me? We saved each other's lives a little less than a year ago - you saved me from zombies and I supplied you with guns and ammo. We are friends and I want to help you. Please, please don't hurt me," Rick just sits there in the chalkboard paint-covered room, scratching his butt.

Remember when Rick was obsessed with his walkie-talkie reveries? And he'd talk and talk and talk like he was freakin' Walt Whitman over here? Well it turns out Morgan, who is completely crazy now, never heard them. Or if he did, he wasn't really listening. Because when Rick said he had to move his camp out of walkie-talkie range, Morgan was like "???! Oh, that's IT!!!" And he's been very upset with Rick ever since.

While Morgan and Rick crazy-babble back and forth like twin babies, Carl and Michonne begin their cribventure. Carl tries to shake Michonne to get something else for Judith, but she follows him nonetheless, thank goodness, and they end up at a zombie-filled diner. Carl's there to fetch the last remaining photograph of Lori Grimes.

They slide rat cages into the diner to distract the zombies, but one gets loose and ruins the plan. Zombies everywhere. Michonne and Carl barely escape, but the photo doesn't. Telling Carl to "wait here - no more bullshit - wait here," Michonne slips back in and grabs the picture, as well as an art deco cat statue. "It's gorgeous," she says, and for the first time I'm like "A-THANK YOUUUU, NICE TO MEET YOUUUUUUU!!!"

This didn't strike me during the episode and isn't important, but look how photoshopped this still looks:

I didn't even DO anything to it!!

The Foil Dads (not only are they foils for each other; they're wearing foil hats! BECAUSE THEY'RE BOTH CRAZY) swap sob stories. Morgan explains that Duane died and turned because he was face-to-face with his zombie mom and couldn't pull the trigger. Rick explains that Lori died giving birth to Judith, but Morgan just spins it into "you got a new baby and you didn't have to watch your wife become a zombie." C'mon, Morgan. This is a 2-way street, buddy.

Rick invites Morgan to come live at the prison, where it's safe and there are other people, but Morgan's like "lol no way." He knows how badly people must want to take over that prison, and he's not trying to jump into that mess. Carl apologizes for shooting Morgan, but he's like "SON, DON'T EVER BE SORRY!" Now I'm sorry. This whole apocalypse thing is just awful.

Rick, Carl, and Michonne drive back the way they came and pass a bloody corpse on the road next to an orange backpack. In an exceptionally bleak, what-the-everloving-fuck final image, the car rolls back to pick up the backpack and then speeds off again. Good God.

photos courtesy amctv.com