Cry-Baby Spoilers AHEAD ! ! !
Proceed at your own risk.
The LA Times sat down with some of television’s hottest producers and talked shop. We’ve picked through it and cut out The Walking Dead show runner Glen Mazzara’s answers to some interesting questions and get his answer to why . . .
WON’T CARL STAY IN THE *BLEEP*-ING HOUSE ! ! !
What do you think people are keying into about your shows?
I think what people like about our show is for some odd reason everybody can buy a zombie apocalypse. Like people just get that, you know? Like, and so then they put themselves into the show. Like, oh, I would do that. Or, I would leave that guy there. Or, I would rescue that guy. Like it’s sort of, you know, people are screaming at the TV like when they watch a horror movie.
What considerations go into putting a character in jeopardy, particularly children? On [Glen's] show, I started watching Season 2, you know, Carl gets shot and then the little girl is a zombie and …
Yeah, kids get shot on the show a lot. … It’s something we talk about because it obviously has a huge impact on the characters. It’s something that has to generate other story. You can’t just do it to be gratuitous or to be a shocking moment. It’s got to be earned. The pain that would be involved with a child being killed or hurt or missing, that pain doesn’t go away. And that becomes ingrained in the characters and then screws them up and makes them make bad decisions in the future and you can find the story that way.
There’s been was a rash of major characters killed off.
We had two big deaths. We had, you know, Shane played by Jon Bernthal. And that was in Robert Kirkman’s comic book. … We were having a lot of discussions about, well, this group is on this farm and is the farm dangerous? And we need people to be killed by zombies. We need to have a mean character because otherwise it’s gonna feel like … you’ve got these scary zombies but nobody’s getting killed by them. They can kill each other, but you need some zombie action there. So we decided to kill Jeff DeMunn’s character, Dale.
What’s the biggest argument you’ve had in the writers’ room?
We had a debate about the young boy, Carl. And everyone wants to know why Carl’s not in the house. Well, it’s boring to sit in a house. And he’s a little boy and he wants to mix it up and stuff. And he’s walking through the woods and finds a zombie trapped in the mud and he starts doing what any Huck Finn would do and starts throwing rocks at the monster. And then later that is the same zombie that pulls itself free and kills Dale. And the writers were very nervous about that, you know? It feels earned, but it’s a risk. Because Dale is a beloved character and if this other character is involved and responsible for that death, is the audience going to now hate Carl? But I thought the story was worth the chance.
This NerdBastard loved the “Why isn’t Carl in the house?” controversy and figures the writers decided to throw Carl under the “Zombie Bus” this season and deal with the negative fan reaction to the character later. In the comic Carl is a pretty bad-ass kid that quickly goes from a helpless child to someone one would want at their side when the zombie shit hits the fan.
Carl’s shooting of Shane might be that turning point, the beginning of the redemption of Carl. One can only hope that season three will let that side of Carl continue to develop and not return to the “Why isn’t Carl in the prison?”
What are your thoughts on Carl, The Walking Dead, and how the show has played out so far?