TWD: Community Theater and the Post-Apocalyptic Name Game

I spent a large part of this week’s slowly moving episode wondering what odd and, hopefully, oddly fitting moniker I’ll give myself in the event of the zombie apocalypse.

Which is to say that this week we met King Ezekiel and we saw the reemergence of Carol the Happy and Hapless Homemaker. It was all very meta: watching these actors’ perform characters who are themselves acting. It was like watching almost every Black and Brown person I know interacting with their colleagues at work. Maybe that’s why I both understand it and have too many feelings about it to be completely amused watching it.

I wonder, to, how those among us who don’t need to code-switch **cough privileged cough** experience these scenes and characters. Is it amusing to watch a long-loc’d Black man put on an affectation so that he can be respected? I guess it would be if I didn’t see it every day. But then again, if the guy at work is doing it well, they don’t see it at all.

Either way, from gate, I didn’t believe that Ezekiel believed what he was saying (though I acknowledged the possibility of untreated mental illness). However, I completely understand why Carol reacted how she did.

First, there’s the Carol act. Real Carol, who still had a gun might have euthanized Shiva on site like the big cat was at the prison and had the flu.

Second, if I meet a Shakespearean king with a tiger on a leash sitting in an empty auditorium (except, of course, for his faithful manservant who is hovering behind him) in the Grimes universe, I’d have questions. I wouldn’t ask them, but I’d have them. Too hard to ask questions when you are sprinting the fuck away.

So Carol is doing what Carol does. Which is, I think, what trauma survivors do: making herself non-threatening while locating all of the available exits. Granted, she’s too good at it, but she’s alive so… [shrugs].

The only one to rival Carol’s sweet and innocent act.

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So the episode is happening… I’m watching Carol smile and steal. I’m seeing Ben be helpless(ish); I’m looking at Morgan give that good montage work. I’m loathing the Saviors as they continue to be shit covered shitbags, but I keep returning to the idea of performance. Mostly I’m thinking about the way in which I perform myself. But that involves too many feelings and you know how I feel about feelings so I start asking myself: what parts of me are ripe for hyperbolic enlargement after the zombie apocalypse?

To quote the sadistic JigSaw, “Let’s play a game.”

It’s a little like the porn name game: list the street you lived on as a child and the color of your pants and – voila! – it’s your porn name (Roberta Plaid, btw).

What’s the job that most defined who you are/were? This might be the job that fed your ego the most or the job you wanted but weren’t qualified to hold or maybe it’s the job you were expected, by family or friends, to have. Rick will always be a sheriff’s deputy. No matter how long the beard grows or how many people he kills, it’s a part of him. Not a perfect part. Maybe the best part. But it is an inextricable part.


Next, we need that Stark-meets-witch level drama and can only mean that you’re going to need a familiar. What’s the first exotic pet you ever coveted? Or, maybe, the first animal you felt an unprovoked kinship with? Now you have someone to rule with.

Then, I think you need to mine your childhood. Favorite superhero/ action hero. Whatever weapon they’re using, that’s yours now.

Voila, you have a post-apocalyptic identity worthy of the blind trust of people who just want to survive in a harsh environment where every odd is stacked against them, kinda like corporate America… and by corporate, I mean all of America.

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