Is zombie better than the walking dead

Opening scene of the walking dead?

There are five such incidents in the series and - not by chance - all of them occur within the first two episodes.

Episode 1:

  • The zombie girl who picks up the bear

  • Morgan's zombie woman turns a doorknob and looks through a peephole.

Episode 2:

  • A zombie who picks up a stone and breaks a window with it

  • A zombie climbs a ladder

  • Zombies climb a fence

Why is this happening? I see two explanations - one in the universe, one outside of the universe.


Series creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman responded in a Reddit Q&A:

Q: At the beginning of the show we saw hikers using things like a rock to smash doors or turn a doorknob. Is there a reason we stopped doing this?

A: Older zombies are less together and less able to do such things.Fresher zombies, of which there were more in season one, can do more than older, rotten zombies.


I think the real answer is simpler, although we will never know for sure. Season 1 and part of Season 2 were produced by Frank Darabont. He was fired early in the second season, and since then the zombies on the show have been far more consistent, adhering to the so-called "zombie rules" found in the TWD comics and the works of Max Brooks.

More importantly, the first and second episodes are also by Darabont written were. The first and second episodes were - perhaps not by chance - the single Episodes he wrote alone.

Robert Kirkman's comment is plausible until you look at the comics on which the show is based. Kirkman had complete creative control over the comics, and if you read them you will find that no zombies ever show that kind of humanity or intelligence. Not in the first edition, not in the latest edition, not in intermediate editions.

The only logical explanation for this difference, in my opinion, is that Kirkman's answer to the Reddit question was an attempt to rationalize something that he would never have done himself and that is against the rules by which his own work adheres. In other words, Darabont didn't know that Kirkman zombies couldn't / won't do such things. Someone probably corrected him after the first two episodes were shot because it never happened again, even when he was the showrunner.

It is clear that Kirkman and Darabont pounded heads, although we don't know if the problem of smart or dumb zombies was a factor:

There was a personal rift between Kirkman and Darabont ...
- Darabont's successor as showrunner Glen Mazzara

However, Kirkman did a nerdist podcast mentioning his displeasure with the zombies who climbed a fence in episode 2 - he specifically said he was dissatisfied with that attitude because if the show matched that level of zombie mobility, this would have tremendous implications for the history of the prison.

There is one zombie who annoys me if I could just point out a mistake because it's fun.In the second episode of the Walking Dead series, there is a zombie who completely climbs a fence.And you say, "What are you doing? You're going to be in a prison in about ten episodes, with a fence around him! Don't let this guy do THAT!"
- Robert Kirkman, Nerdist Podcast, episode 93 (the quote appears in this video at 1:17:00 p.m.)

He also said something along those lines on the after show Talking Dead (I'm now looking for direct quotes about it).

The loudest he said about his regret over the first season finale episode, which plays on the CDC and is called "TS-19":

If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't have done the CDC episode.It may have been too much information and was such a big change very early on in the series.I feel like there could have been a better way to wrap up season one.... There were things about this episode that I think didn't fit the world of The Walking Dead.

I would probably have changed that stuff.In the comic series, I was careful not to say what was happening in other parts of the world.It'll be fun to explore in the spinoff series.But the fact that France is mentioned in this episode and things like that would probably have turned me away from this stuff if I had to do it all over again.
- Robert Kirkman, interviewed by Hollywood Reporter

And while Kirkman was careful not to criticize Darabont directly, he has said that he supports AMC's decision to fire Darabont:

It would be wrong for me to go into details about the various switchovers as I was mostly on the sidelines during the changes. However, I will state that I fully agree with AMC's decisions and have a strong feeling that they only acted in the best interests of the shows.
- Robert Kirkman in an AMA

Darabont, on the other hand, was far more open - he filed a lawsuit against AMC and appears to AMC and the producers of the Walking Dead (including Kirkman) to be referred to as "sociopaths":

There is a deep commitment and emotional investment that comes when you create something very close and dear to you, and when this is torn apart by sociopaths who don't care about your feelings or the feelings of your cast and crew because they have their own reasons for kidding everyone, this doesn't feel good.
- Frank Darabont in diversity

Why didn't they cut those very short footage of intelligent zombies from the first two episodes before they aired? I dont know. Perhaps he insisted on keeping her; Maybe they thought these recordings added something to the story. Maybe nobody cared enough to work them out.

But make no mistake: after the "Smart Zombie" scenes of the first two episodes, the writers and producers took care to prevent similar incidents. Glen Mazzara, who was originally Darabont's lieutenant and then his successor and who only worked as a showrunner for a year and a half before he was fired, said:

I wrote a scene where a zombie was climbing a ladder and everyone was telling me I was an idiot because zombies can't ... I thought if I write it down, it will happen.And they're like no, no, no.So we cut that.
- Glen Mazzara

Johnny Bones

IIRC, there are scenes in Romero's films that suggest (and may have been explicitly spelled out in Dawn of the Dead) that zombies are doing what they did in real life and acting on autopilots. I think that was the rationale for what drew her to the mall in Dawn of the Dead. So it is likely that Darabont came from Romero's films as he is a kind of "godfather" to the zombies.

errantlinguist

@JohnnyBones: Dawn of the Dead explicitly mentions that the zombies inhabit the mall because they do what they used to do in their previous lives ... and about half of the gags in Shaun of the Dead hang on the same Fact together.