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For the comic:

  • Complete Monster: Thomas and the Governor. In fact, the Governor's the closest to a morally black character encountered so far (although his novel made him a bit more complex).
  • Nausea Fuel: You really have to admire the detail the artists put into the zombies. You can see every maggot and fly crafwling around their decaying skin. And there are a LOT of maggots. And flies.
  • Toy Ship: Carl and Sophia.
  • Narm: "We are the Walking Dead!"
    • In the first issue, a corpse falls out of a closet and Rick falls down next to it and yells "HELP!" The ways it's drawn makes it look like he's asking the corpse for help.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The novel The Walking Dead Rise of the Governor shows how the Governor came to be and he's actually a pretty tragic character.

For the TV series:

  • Adaptation Displacement: As usually happens when a non-superhero comic is adapted.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
  • And the Fandom Rejoiced:
    • At the news that Frank Darabont, maker of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, two of the greatest films of The Nineties, was the executive producer. And at the fact that Robert Kirkman was directly involved as a part of the creative team. And at the fact that AMC is not holding back one bit on the violence. Really, just about every announcement that came out of the project was met with this reaction.
    • A more minor one, but Bear McCreary getting the job of composer raised some enthusiasm.
    • The Governor from the comics will appear in a 16 episode long Series 3, played by David Morrissey.
    • The series 2 finale revealing at the end Michonne and the prison.
  • Arc Fatigue: The search for Sophia, while not as ridiculously long as other examples, certainly tested the fanbase's patience during season two's first half. Lack of plot progression was mostly blamed on the search, and with all of the subplots, looking for Sophia could potentially take forever. This led some fans to cry out "Kill Sophia already!" Funny how that worked out for everyone.
  • Award Snub: Despite getting positive reviews from critics (though generally regarded as being inferior in regards to pacing, characterization, dialogue, etc in comparison to AMC's other series) and gaining great ratings from audiences, the only Emmys it received were two nominations for Visual Effects and Sound Editing and a win for Makeup (which was really impressive, but still...)
  • Awesome Music: Bear McCreary's music for the series; also, the use of John Murphy's "The Surface of the Sun" in episode five, "Wildfire", and Wye Oak's "Civilian" in the season 2 trailer.
  • Designated Protagonist Syndrome: Literally. The moment Rick meets up with the group, he proclaimed their leader evidently solely on the basis of his being the Sheriff.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Daryl Dixon. In the first season he was a mildly-racist Jerkass, but when he made the switch to a heroic Badass in season 2 his popularity exploded and he has become possibly the most popular character on the show.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: There are several people in Season 2 who come very close to dying and whom are nursed back to health in Hershel's farmhouse. Then comes the revelation that everyone who dies without suffering brain trauma comes back as a walker, and Rick may have known this all along and kept it secret from the others...
    • Also, the reveal that Jenner knew every human was already infected by the virus to some extent puts his Despair Event Horizon in a whole new light.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The last survivor of the CDC plays a major in the finale of season one. In May 2011, the real life CDC issued its own Zombie Preparedness guidelines. (Don't follow them, you'd die.)
  • Homage: When walkers overrun the farm in S2, the expected "hide in the fortified farmhouse" homage to Night of the Living Dead is subverted. The group immediately realizes it would be suicide and flees.
  • Ho Yay: Between Shane and Rick. Especially in season 2, episode 2, when Shane is comforting Rick when Carl is badly injured, telling him to be strong.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • If the highway is packed bumper-to-bumper with abandoned cars pouring out of the rumored safe haven, it shouldn't take running into the zombie horde to make you realize you should stay away. Lampshaded by Glenn, who calls Rick a dumbass shortly thereafter.
    • Who brings a crazy redneck who's gonna jeopardize a scavenge mission with them? If Rick hadn't come along, Merle certainly would've killed them or gotten them killed.
    • Rick aims a gun at the aforementioned redneck's brother's head, so where does Shane stand? Right opposite of said brother, in line with where the bullet from Rick's gun would go had he actually pulled the trigger. Neither of the cops who are supposed to be trained in Gun Safety think anything wrong of it.
      • This would be a case of what camera angle looked good and dramatic to the creative team, who didn't stop to think that it'd look really stupid for two cops to stand opposite sides like that.
    • Morgan, driven to despair over his wife's reanimation, retreated to the attic and started popping shots at several zombies in an attempt to attract his undead wife's attention. While he intended to kill his undead wife, not only did he ultimately fail to follow through with it but he had alerted every zombie within earshot to his and his son's presence. This after he had warned Rick about gunshots attracting zombies, too.
    • While searching for Sophia, Andrea blindly wanders far enough away from the group that when she is ambushed by a walker, nobody is close enough to help her. She's only saved by a Big Damn Heroes moment.
    • Andrea again. She has a gun and is atop Dale's RV and apparently eager to prove herself. When she spots a walker and calls it, Rick, Shane and T-Dog all go out to meet it with weapons, but she brags she can nail it from where she is. And she can; the problem is, it wasn't a walker. It was the still-living Daryl, who was walking like a zombie because he was tired, sore, and badly injured.
    • The whole group when they decide to bring the kids along when they scavenge through a maze of abandoned cars. When the massive walker herd comes along, Sophia loses her nerve and gets spotted, which leads to her running off into the woods and sparking off the arc to find her. If they just kept the kids safe in the camper, Sophia wouldn't have been zombified.
      • The bigger problem could be argued to be letting the kids wander off knowing that there are zombies and not knowing whether there are any in the area. If they had kept the kids next to them, Sophia probably wouldn't have left cover.
    • Lori deciding to drive off alone in search of Rick, not knowing exactly where she was going. And thus looking at a map instead of keeping her eyes on the road.
    • Carl must've got it from his parents. After being a relatively smart kid, he steals a gun from Daryl, goes deep into the woods where Sophia was lost, and decides to taunt a walker who's stuck in the mud. Wouldn't you know it, it gets free... and this eventually leads to Dale's death.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Merle is a Jerkass, of course then also portrayed as "racist", but once he's handcuffed to a pipe and left to die, crying as zombies start breaking through the door, you can't help but feel a little sorry for the guy.
    • Another family trait, as Daryl seems to veer into this territory. He gets more likeable as the series progresses.
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • You didn't really think that they were going to kill off Dale and Andrea so early, did you?
    • Or the main character in the pilot, for that matter.
    • Subverted for anyone that didn't expect the series to kill off some of its main cast members in its second season.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • The "bulletdeer" from the second season premiere, with fans jokingly suggesting that the deer itself actually shot Carl.
    • Hilariously T-Dog in certain internet circles.
    • It seems Herschel has become this thanks to his "God Shotgun" in the Season 2 Finale.
  • Memetic Mutation: There are more than a few variations of "Stay in the Fucking House, Carl!" floating around.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Shane's could either be kneecapping Otis, rather than just shooting him in the head, to distract the zombies in "Save the Last One", attempting to kill Rick without hesitation in "18 Miles Out", or brutally murdering Randall and trying to disguise it as a self-defense kill. He's definitely hit it once he tries to murder Rick for the third time.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Sophia is lost in season 2, and is found to have turned into a zombie and killed at the midseason finale. You can tell the actress, who is in her early teens, had grown considerably in the hiatus between the two seasons and would probably have been progressing faster than the scant weeks which were supposed to be passing could account for.
  • Rescued From the Scrappy Heap: Andrea. Though she's by far the most useless, and annoying character in Season One, Season Two shows her slowly developing into a much more level-headed character. Slowly becoming closer to her comic incarnation as well.
  • Screwed by the Network: AMC allegedly decided to cut the budget for the second season while doubling the number of episodes. Then Frank Darabont was fired.
  • Squick: It's a show about zombies. Of course this is going to pop up from time to time.
    • In the second episode, when Rick and Glen hack up a zombie body with an axe and paint themselves with the guts. Glenn and the other survivors react appropriately, with someone vomiting at the sight and smell.
    • In the first episode of the second season, Rick and Daryl cut open a dead zombie's stomach.
    • All zombies are pretty squicky, but special notice must go to the zombie the group finds in a well on Hershel's farm: after sitting in the well for who knows how long, it has become extremely bloated. When they manage to pull it out of the well it rips in half, with a huge torrent of liquid organs pouring out as well as what very well might possibly be a whole lot of maggots.
    • And then the zombie trying to get at Lori when she's trapped in an overturned car. It starts pushing its head through a hole in the windshield, peeling all of the skin and flesh off its face in the process so all Lori sees on the other side is a set of bloody, exposed jaws clamping at her.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Andrea has become this after the events of "Chupacabra" where she shot fan-favorite Daryl after whining for the whole season. However, she seems to have redeemed herself somewhat in the second half of Season 2, taking leaps and bounds towards her comics characterization.
    • Shane's becoming this, especially after the mid-season finale.
    • Many viewers feel this way about Lori, viewing her as the most useless character on the show.
    • People aren't very happy with Carl, due to him setting the walker from the marsh free, resulting in Dale's death.
    • Carol might have become one of these to some.
  • The Woobie: everyone, really, but Helen from the webisodes deserves some special recognition
    • Sophia now too when you realize just how much she's suffered over the course of the series. She was raised with an abusive and potentially pedophilic father, witnessed the world ending and the dead coming back to devour the living, been on the run as everything fell apart, living in mortal terror every step of the way, and then It Got Worse.
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • Most female characters winds up playing damsel-in-distress far more often than not and don't mind sitting around doing more than domesticated roles. Lori explicitly calls Andrea useless because she is standing watch and scouting with the guys rather than performing domestic duties with the women in "18 Miles Out".
    • Lori wanting to effectively Stay in the Kitchen is probably justified what with her being pregnant and all, Andrea does want to help, as mentioned, and, well, time will tell with the others. Of course, Lori showing this attitude before that spoiler is probably harder to excuse, as is her wanting to project those gender roles onto others.
    • Andrea's pretty incredulous when Lori says that, and more or less tells her that's a stupid attitude and that Lori's lucky she's been sheltered enough to be able to keep it this long.
    • T-Dog is a serious offender. He's only known by the type of nickname normally associated with rappers. After Morgan, he's one of the only major black characters, and yet stands around doing next to nothing, in some episodes saying next to nothing, adds no real value to the group, and only seems to be in the show for Anvilicious moments (i.e., Merle's racist rant) or to say "black guy" things (his statement about "not doing that gangsta shit" during a firing range training).
    • The show seems to go out of it's way to portray its female characters as foolish, stupid, and impulsive whenever they dare to act on their own initiative. See Andrea's shooting of Daryl, and Lori's crash in "Nebraska". None of the male characters, even the barely trained civilians such as Dale or Glenn, ever face such problems.

For the adventure game:

  • Always Save the Girl: At the end, the game compares your major choices to those of all other players. At writing, saving Carley over Doug was leading by a 3:1 margin.[1]
  • Surprisingly Improved Spiritual Successor: This game is pretty much what Jurassic Park: The Game was trying to be, except it pulls it off much better.
  • Tear Jerker: Episode 1 alone has plenty, from Hershel seeing his son being devoured, to Lee having to kill his own brother that has been turned, not to mention poor Clem and whatever's happened to her parents.
  • Utsuge: Don't go in expecting sunshine and rainbows.

Notes

  1. Her demonstrated marksmanship might play a role too.
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