Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Daryl Dixon: To arms! To arms!

Norman Reedus arms3It’s still too soon for me to write about what happened in Boston yesterday. I just...I can’t even...no words. I didn’t turn on the news today until this evening, and I’ve avoided most online articles about it. I’m trying hard to not let the rage and despair overwhelm me (Remember me writing about my intense emotions lately? Right.), and I know when I need to step back. A little time will restore my words, and I’ll write about it.

But not now. Instead, I’m just going to go total fangirl on you and write about something fun. Not the Stones this time, believe it or not!

Most people know that I’m a huge fan of “The Walking Dead.” I was hooked from the very first episode. Let me channel my Inner Stefon and say, “This show has everything. Zombies, katanas, crossbows, eyepatches, and a human plumb-bob.”

“What’s a human plumb-bob?”

“It’s that thing where a zombie dangles from a rope down a well and then gets torn in half and....”

Okay, you get the idea. I love the show. I get a little discussion thread going on Facebook every week after the show, and call it my Dead Thread. (I’m sure others have used the term, too. I don’t claim that it is original to me, although I had never seen it before.) We talk about what happened, what might happen, and what we hope will happen. It’s fun. I had never read the comics, so I have no expectations of what will be or what should be; it is impossible for me to be disappointed because the show did something different from the graphic novels.

One of the things that I love about the show is the way the characters evolve and change in response to “this sorrowful life.” Nothing is as it was; rules have changed or disappeared completely. It is not so much living as it is surviving, and sometimes, there are pretty dark decisions that have to be made. When the show started, I really dug the character of Shane. He obviously loved some people, but he took a real dark turn there—it happens in this world—and I was saddened by his necessary demise. It didn’t have to be that way, Shane, but you made your choice. This world does bad things to some people.

A more redemptive storyline has been that of Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus. It just astounds me to see the way his character is evolving, and to learn more about him. Daryl is probably the breakout character on the show, with a legion of fans vowing to riot in the streets if they kill him off. We understand that no one is safe, but NOT DARYL. Do you hear me, WD writers? NOT DARYL. Anyway, it’s a fascinating character study: abused as a child, looking up to his older brother Merle but kind of despising him at the same time, a true loner yet still wanting and needing to be part of the group, loyal to a fault. Daryl never gave up on searching for Sophia...maybe because he identified with the lost child and always hoped that someone would save him when he was a child? I don’t know, but he has proven to be a complex and fascinating character, and Norman plays him perfectly.

I had never heard of Norman Reedus before this show, so I was interested to find out that he’s apparently a pretty cool person in his own right. Artist, sculptor, photographer, by all accounts a super nice guy and kind to his fans. And he has a cat...a black one! Sheeba approves! I had heard of the Boondock Saints movies but didn’t know he was in them and I’ve never seen them. I just got them and am looking forward to watching. Anyway, nice to find out that he’s a good guy in real life, and not a douche.

Norman Reedus arms2I read a lot of stuff about the show, including interviews with the cast. He said in one interview that the writers were planning on taking Daryl another way. They wanted him to start taking drugs after Merle was split from the group, and he said no, he didn’t want to play him that way. Daryl loved his big brother, but he didn’t want to be like him. He wanted to grow up and be the person that others could rely on. Good instincts, Norman, because it makes Daryl all the more compelling. We’re rooting for this guy to be okay, because he’s really trying to be a better person. I really just can’t say enough about how much I like this character.

He also seems to be a good sport about the numerous fan sites that have cropped up for Daryl and for himself. His arms are absolutely adored. There are a LOT of women who are crushing on him in a major way, and his Twitter feed can be hilarious, with everything from pleas for him to follow them to marriage proposals. Some take a more “subtle” route...a friend and I are still laughing about someone demanding that he fuck them in the face. I’m sure he’ll get right on that!

Yes, I’m a fangirl. I agree that he has nice arms, but what I really love is how he’s made the character into someone that is...well, I think I’d  have to say “beloved.” I don’t think I’ve ever felt so invested in a character, or so connected to a group of characters. “ER” might have been the closest one—I bawled like a baby when Anthony Edwards’ Dr. Greene died—but that doesn’t even come close to how I feel about these characters. I’ve gasped, I’ve yelled, I’ve cried, and I’ve sat there in horror with my hand over my mouth...not because of the creepy zombies, but because these characters that I’ve come to love are in danger. One of the most devastating moments of the past season for me was when Daryl found his brother...reanimated. I said, “Nooooo, oh Daryl, nooooo,” and cried like a little girl. Well-played, sir, well-played.

So...can you tell I’m going through withdrawals after the end of the season? October is a long way away.

1 comment:

I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?