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?
The first half of The Walking Dead‘s second season is almost over and a lot of questions have been raised which may or may not be answered before the show’s mid-season break. While making recent interview rounds, creator, writer and producer, Robert Kirkman has been fired at with a zillion questions, but mostly about few major points. One, when is Rick going to realize there’s something going on between Shane and Lori? And speaking of those two, just whose baby is Lori carrying? Also, while Sophia is still missing (Seriously, where the hell is that girl?) there’s another character we haven’t heard from in a while we just know will return, Merle. Where’s he hiding?
I think it’s clear, but spoilery talk lies before you.
Kirkman talked about the love triangle and the ramifications of Lori’s pregnancy with TV Guide,
Lori is pregnant! How is she going to deal with this revelation?
Robert Kirkman: It’s definitely a terrifying thing to consider in this world with the state of things, it’s like going back to pioneer days and having to worry about how you’re going to give birth and how you’re going to survive the pregnancy. This is a very complicated process in modern times, it requires a lot of interaction with doctors and none of that stuff is available, so it’s going to be terrifying for her.
The big question is whether the baby is Rick’s or Shane’s. How is that going to affect the dynamic among the three of them in particular?
Kirkman: This is going to be a catalyst for Shane. Once he finds out about this, assuming he does find out about this, he’s going to react pretty strongly to this. His whole reason for worrying about Lori and Carl (Chandler Riggs) is that they’ve become a surrogate family for them. If he believes this baby is going to be his, that’s just going to solidify his state with this family. It’s definitely going to throw a wrench in the whole love triangle thing that’s going on.
Yeah, nice save Kirkman. IF Shane finds out Lori’s pregnant. Him finding out would be enough for him to start thinking everything would be a lot better if Rick wasn’t around, setting up the inevitable Rick vs Shane showdown.
What I really want to now is what the fuck did Jenner whisper back in Rick’s ear at the end of season one!? I was convinced it was, “Lori’s pregnant.” And if Rick does know he’s going to look like a giant dick for not telling Lori first. Again, adding more drama and more fuel for the Rick-Lori-Shane love triangle.
Is Lori’s pregnancy what Jenner had whispered to Rick at the CDC in the Season 1 finale?
Kirkman: [Laughs] I can’t say. That remains to be seen. All I can say is that it’ll definitely be revealed this season. We’re getting close to the midpoint of the season, so the likelihood of it being in the first half is looking pretty slim.
If it’s not the pregnancy, what else do you think Jenner could have whispered to Rick?
And once everyone knows Lori’s got a bun in the oven, well, surely someone (RICK!) will notice Shane acting a little funny at the news. A little funny like, “Holy shit I might be the father,” -funny. Will he ever put it together those two had an affair?
Yeah, definitely. The thing is: We never want our main character to seem like he’s stupid. That’s not something we ever want to do. The audience has been aware of this affair since the very beginning of the show. Rick is a police officer, so I would suspect that he might start catching on to things sooner rather than later.
All right, besides all the baby drama, there’s another huge cloud hanging over our group of survivors, what the hell happened to Merle? When are we going to see him again?
All I can really say about Merle’s return is that it occurred to us in the writing of bringing Merle back that we never even saw Daryl Dixon and Merle Dixon interact in the first season. They were never in a scene together. Getting to see Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker actually interacting and playing off each other is going to be an enormous treat for the audience and it’s something we’ve been dying to get to.
So will we see Merle before this coming mid-season break? I’m thinking his return would be a great cliffhanger. Come on, we know they’ll be ending episode six with a huge cliffhanger to make us go insane until the season returns February 12th.
Here’s a preview of this Sunday’s episode, “Chupacabra.” Umm, is that really the title?
With only two more episodes left what do you think are the most frustrating questions so far left unaswered on The Walking Dead?