How to Prepare for The Walking Dead


The air is beginning to be crisp and cool, kids are back to school, and the trees are starting to turn.

It’s that time again, yep. You guessed it.

Season Premiere time!

Oh, and fall. Yes. It’s fall too (not to be forgotten, as I believe it’s the best season…but I digress).

I love season premiere time. All the fan-girling I’ve done all summer finally pays off! I’ve been a ridiculously good fan girl while on break from my “real” job as a professor, and instead of reading the stacks of books that I’ve been collecting to read since I started my Master’s program in 2011 – I READ UP ON SHOWS.

I think I’ve perused all of the possible Walking Dead scenarios out there, from Daryl possibly being gay (which is totally cool, but still there goes my chances of seducing that character)to Glen maybe meeting his dark end at the hands of the infamous villain who I shall not name (because I kind of link him to Voldemort in some weird strange Harry Potter theory type of way).

Basically. I’m. Ready.

Sadly, this year I was unable to attend Comic Con – travesty, I know.  However, last year I made my pilgrimage to my Mecca. Even took my daughter in hopes that she would help contain my fan-girling. Which she did. Kind of.

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All I have to say is that she’s dreadfully jealous of my Jon Bernthal autograph which reads,

“To Kelly – stay sweet sugar”

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To say I was charming would be putting it mildly and completely a dishonor to the magic that I weaved during that meet and greet. See picture for full fangirl squeal madness.

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We also had our “family” picture taken with Norman that day, which was surreal.  I still remember him standing there, basically waiting to “catch” us….as we filed into the picture room. We had spent about 10 minutes with him an hour before hand, but it still felt like “Oh! Meeting a famous person!”

We were each supposed to have our own pictures taken with Norman…but my daughter got scared. So, in our picture, all of us together! Dang it…I had moves to make!, it looks like I’m leaning away from him…because I was trying to calm my daughter’s nerves.

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Someday I’m going to remedy that picture.

ANYWAY. Got sidetracked for a bit.

My point, before I went total Bernthal/Reedus crazy, was that I am READY for this new season and I am also exceptionally scared.

Last year TWD did things on TV that I never thought I would see. And I whole heartedly admit to being shocked, saddened, and traumatized. The feels.

The. Feels.

I’ve wondered how far the show will go to shock people, but then I slap myself in the face.

I don’t think that TWD intends to shock. Perhaps I’m wrong, as most TV shows need to really please their audiences. However, I think what the show and its creators attempt to do is portray survival at its bleakest – and from the looks of things, it is not pretty.

I could go all post-9/11 trauma theory scholar on this little write up…but I don’t even know if that needs to be said anymore. I could start arguing that zombies are a cultural response to human fear – but that doesn’t even need to be argued.

So, what can I write about this cultural phenomenon?

Well, I’ll throw something out there. And it’s probably unpopular…and might cause me to lose my mom card.

It’s a family show.


I said it.

It’s a family show.

I’m sure all of those helicopter parents out there just inhaled gasps. More than likely my mom of the year award is now on the line, and I reckon my grandma is shaking her head.

It is though. That’s why it’s so popular. It’s a family show – TWD shows struggle for food, lodging, love, health, and the creation of family. All things that many of us struggle with in real life.

The theme of the show is that in order to survive we must have family – either by blood or created by circumstance.

My kids all watch the show with me (with the exception of my five year old because I do think it would scare her….maybe they won’t take that award from me yet).

The only person, other than Violet, who doesn’t watch the show is my husband. And he’s a Munsters/Flinstones fan…so yeah. There’s that.

We all watch, talk, hug, connect, discuss theories together. Sometimes we even talk about how some of the things that happen seem very familiar to struggles we’ve all seen in real life.

In some ways, this extremely violent show gives me the opportunity to be entertained with my children all the while teaching them about how to navigate difficult situations – and in order to do so, you must connect. You MUST truly communicate and you must never lose compassion.

This year’s feel good show? The Walking Dead?

Well, I wouldn’t go as far as accusing it of being that…but I do know that it’s important.

Plus, my kids are verging on teen years. I take all the couch cuddling time I can get!

So, in order for you to fully get into the show. Here is my little family’s Walking Dead prep routine:

All Day Sunday – Double check DVR for programming accuracy (at least five times)

6pm – Claim spot on couch, “CLAIMED!”

7pm – Discuss previous episode or season. Place bets on who’s going to die this episode

8pm – Make sure show is recording. Don’t watch yet. Instead, get 5-year-old to sleep. All other children confirm their place in the living room, find a snack (usually homemade popcorn), and wait for me to say “It’s go time.”

9pm – Watch show. No one moves. No one talks. The only sound is: breathing, me live tweet typing, and various emotional outburst are, but aren’t limited to: crying, laughing, sighing, gasping, OH NO-ing, and once again crying.

10pm – Look at each other meaningfully.

10:01pm – Talk like crazy. Nonstop. At the same time.

10:05 – Watch Talking Dead and decompress

11:00 – Bedtime because we all feel exhausted after the last couple hours, and….it’s a school night.

Next day – Wake up. Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk.

And then repeat again the following week.

This year we’re all placing bets on who’s dying during the first episode. I hope we’re wrong. Wyatt, my oldest son, went all in and said Daryl. If he’s right, the riot starts in Creston, Iowa.



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