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Post Column: When killing stereotypes, aim for the head

The sound of gunfire still echoed in my ears as our group crept through the woods, leaving the chaos of Woodbury behind us. When the dead had begun to rise and our world crumbled around us, we had thought zombies Walkers™ would be our biggest concern. But it turns out we had much more to fear from the living — for in the end, we’ve realized Man is the real monster (the undead cannibals are still kind of a problem, though).

“Does anybody else get the feeling that could have gone better?” I asked, wiping the blood off my shirt. Our valiant leader Rick Grimes turned around to shush me.

“Ryan, be quiet! They’re still looking for us, and these woods are crawling with Walkers™!” he hissed.

When Rick’s band of survivors had found me collapsed on a pile of empty vodka bottles and dead bodies, they had taken me in under the assumption that I was some kind of Walker-slaying™ machine. I had tried explaining to them that I’d been sleeping on that pile since long before the whole zombie apocalypse thing, but they weren’t having it.

We had decided to infiltrate the town of Woodbury in order to rescue Glenn and Maggie, who had been captured by Daryl’s racist redneck brother Merle and his awesome knife-hand. I was kind of hazy on the details, but apparently Glenn was “literally the only Asian we have” and “we can’t afford to kill off another female character,” so off to Woodbury we went.

I had a few objections about leaving the prison. “Guys, are we seriously going to leave our only base in the hands of, like, four people, one of whom is Carl?”

“Hey,” said 13-year-old Carl, before immediately wandering off to try and get himself killed again.

“Relax, Ryan,” Rick said. “What could possibly go wrong?” This was hardly the first time my concerns had gone overlooked (“Hey guys, maybe we shouldn’t bring our only doctor with us on the scouting mission when there’s a pregnant lady in the group? Guys?”), but it was still as grating as ever. I was starting to feel as if our actions were being directed by some divine force that was determined to make us embark on the stupidest plans possible, all in the name of providing conflict and drama, which you wouldn’t think would be hard to find considering, you know, the walking corpses and all.

Eventually, we had made it in and out of Woodbury, though not unscathed. In the process, we had lost our dearly beloved friend Oscar, with whom we had shared so many tender moments — three episodes’ worth, in fact! His death was something I couldn’t help but bring up as we trekked through the woods.

“Our group’s only black guy died again? Already?” I pinched the bridge of my nose. “If we get back to the prison and a new one has already popped up to take his place, I’m officially quitting this apocalypse.”

“Once we get Glenn and Maggie to the prison, we have to go back to Woodbury,” said Rick, ignoring me. “We left Daryl behind, and it looks like Andrea is in love with the evil governor!”

“Why bother?” I replied. “Daryl is way too handsome and popular with the fan girls for the writers to kill him off. We don’t need to worry about rescuing him.”

“Wait, really?” said Glenn, coughing up blood. “Why’d you guys come for me, then?”

We all stared at him for a bit before Michonne piped up. “We can’t just leave Andrea there,” she said. “I saw the governor’s room. He kept a bunch of severed heads in jars!”

“Yeah, well, who doesn’t keep a few severed heads lying around the place?” I retorted. “Besides, it’s not like this is the first time Andrea has fallen in love with a psychopathic madman. It seems to be kind of a recurring theme with her.”

“We can discuss this later,” said Rick, once again displaying the excellent leadership skills of a novice kindergarten teacher. We were nearing the gates of the prison, where Carl was ready to greet us with a group of strangers at his back.

“Dad, you made it! This is Tyrese, he–”

“Oh, you have got to be kidding me.”

“Ryan, I’ve had it up to here with your whining,” Rick growled. “If you hate us so much, why did you stay with us? What could possibly make you put up with our stupid decisions, and the contrived plots we get into, and the latent racism and sexism that seems to surround us? Why would you stick with us despite all that?”

I pointed outside the gates, where a horde of Walkers™ was clawing at the steel. “That’s why.”

Rick seemed to ponder that for a moment before nodding sagely. “Fair enough.”

Ryan McAndrews is a real-life zombie hunter who sometimes poses as a senior journalism student and a columnist for The Post. Tell him why he’s wrong at rm287608@ohiou.edu.

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