Why do so many men in America want “The Walking Dead” to actually happen? Because most men think that, in the event of an apocalypse (zombie or otherwise), they would be exactly like Daryl Dixon. Just give him a crossbow and a motorcycle, and suddenly that administrative assistant, garbage collector, or computer programmer suddenly will morph into the single most awesome dude in his band of survivors.
I believe that the popularity of the show says more about the wants of the viewer than it does about the writers. While the rabid fanaticism regarding the “Twilight” series shows the desires of the American teenage girl (a guy who asks his girlfriend what she’s thinking, is in touch with his emotions, and fights evil with his shiny skin), the number of men who are fans of Daryl shows what American males want to be.
For those of you who have no idea who Daryl is, or who have never watched “The Walking Dead,” crawl out of your log cabin, hop in your horse and buggy, and drive your Amish family to the nearest TV…then punch yourself in the baby-maker for not being in touch with this vital facet of American culture.
Here’s the character exposition; Daryl is a renegade. No one talks back to him, because he is widely revered for his capacity for violence. He comes and goes when he pleases. He is respected by all men, and apparently desired by women. He has no responsibilities until his group says, “We need someone to go and kill that over there. Daryl, please help us!” Daryl then responds with, “A’ight,” and puts a crossbow bolt through the zombie’s T-Box. Let me summarize; Daryl is the proverbial shiznit.
Nobody ever wants to be Rick Grimes.
Rick is the leader of the group, so he has to make unpopular decisions constantly. He has, at any given moment in his current life, someone questioning his leadership and abilities. His group of survivors spend their free time complaining to him, and he has to deal with problems that don’t get solved by shooting it in the face. In short, Rick never gets to have fun because he has responsibilities, and therefore his life sucks massive donkey gonads.
Where’s Daryl during all of this? He just drove off on his motorcycle because he doesn’t want to put up with any of that noise.
Rick thinks about the group, but Daryl only thinks of himself unless the situation suits him.
Rick is willing to be unpopular to do what’s necessary, but Daryl just leaves when he gets moody.
Rick wears shirts with sleeves. Daryl can’t spell the word “sleeves.”
Many men in America don’t dream of having responsibilities. Typically, men today dream of” being awesome” without any sort of backlash or consequences. The average American man truly believes that there is something special about him that will turn him into a superhero when the dead start walking. Despite a lifetime of suppressing survival instincts, a complete lack of planning for the worst, and a body that can’t get across a mall without having to sit down once or twice, many guys think that an apocalypse will suddenly reveal them to be numero uno of a gang of survivors.
Guys, consider this. When you think about your apocalypse plan (and I know you’ve daydreamed about it because we all do it), does it involve being in charge of others, or does it instead entail only yourself? Do you see yourself having to deal with angry people day in and day out, or do you picture yourself automatically and inexplicably in the midst of a tribe of people who respect your every opinion?
I’ve been in charge of a Daryl Dixon or two in my lifetime, and I’d rather have a Rick on my team. Give me the choice between a moody loner and a man able to carry the weight of command on his shoulders, and I’d choose the latter every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Why? Because then I’d get to be Daryl.