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CE- The Walking Dead

I was housed at USP Coleman about twelve years ago when I first saw a commercial on AMC for a coming series "The Walking Dead". It looked pretty damn good and I was looking forward to watching it. I'm not a huge television guy and my interest in a new program was an oddity. Getting to actually watch it was going to be an issue though for two reasons. First we were locked down so much and I couldn't see the TV that was for white prisoners from my cell. Second, the TV that I could see was the black TV and I had absolutely no say so or vote as to any programming that was on there. So I thought I was going to miss the premiere and the show altogether.

     I was wrong as my next cell neighbor J.D. (a huge black twenty five year prison veteran) wanted to see the new show too and made sure it was on the TV in front of our cells. We watched it and get completely fucking hooked. J.D. and I actually develop a friendly acquaintance based off of the show and talk about it like two yenta soap opera fans after each and every episode.

    Every season, every year, from the very beginning, I've been watching. Every season, every year, from the very beginning I've been an invested fan. I'm one of very few people who can honestly say that they've had to beat people up on several different occasions who attempted to change or otherwise usurp my TWD time. No, sir. Not going to fly. So sorry. The only time I wasn't faithfully watching is when I was in the SHU ("the hole"/isolation). To be honest, that was what sucked most to me about being isolated in the SHU, I didn't know what what going on in the TWD storyline. Thankfully though, AMC would do their pre new season marathons and I would catch up on what all I missed all at once in one big block.

     I've told people who weren't TWD heads like myself that the show isn't even really about zombies or the apocalypse. That's the setting, of course, but the real meat and content was an evolving character driven socio-psychological-moral narrative and comparison. A raw study of humanity through archetypes. More simply, I've also labeled TWD "a soap opera for men".

     The thing that has meant most to me as a day one fan is the redemptive story arch of so many of the characters. Seeing that people can and do change for the better is meaningful and inspirational to someone like me in prison. TWD clearly says "Who you were yesterday isn't who you have to be tomorrow. You always have a choice." That is important and very powerful. Carol started out a meek abused housewife and grew into an unstoppable force of nature. Daryl was a unlikeable asshole hick and he grew into a totally reliable and loved brother figure to the entire group. Negan started out as a charismatic bloodthirsty psychotic despot and grew into (after that long stretch in the SHU under Alexandria) someone who is more concerned with helping and serving others that dominating and extorting. TWD repeatedly says that we can be better versions of ourselves if we push forward towards it. I love it.

     Now, tonight, as I watch the last episode I am a bit melancholy. Not supposed to be sad over a TV show concluding in prison, but there it is. True, there will be spin offs. True, the story and the characters will veer off and go further than the comics ever could (no spoiler for anyone who hasn't read all the comics). Also sadly true is there will be some idiot new guy who thinks he runs the TV and will try to hijack my new TWD spinoff time and I'll have to punch him repeatedly in the face until he clearly sees the error of his ways and I get my unopposed TWD time.

    I've spent the last twelve years emotionally invested in this show, and no matter how stupid it sounds, I am sad to see it end. And to be perfectly up front and transparent, I like the old charismatic bloodthirsty psycho Negan much more than the new kinder and gentler version.

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