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Discussion/Meta Is the story balanced between the characters?

Discussion in 'Characters & Cast' started by Doctor Grimes, May 9, 2016.

  1. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    This topic comes up rather frequently: SCREEN TIME.

    Do you think The Walking Dead treats all characters equally? It's got a big cast after all. But, more importantly, should it? Should each character get equal balance and importance? Should some sit on the back-burner? Is there a "tier"?

    Do you think there's issues with one or two characters dominating screen time and narrative weight when they shouldn't? Do you think others suffer?

    Try to keep frothing hatred and anger out of this thread: let's have a civil discussion about this topic. I know it can cause ire, but this is more about the mechanics and storyline.
     
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  2. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    I think the best solution would be for the writers to decide who this story is truly about.

    In my opinion, it should be Rick's story. It began as Rick's story, he's the lens through which we see this world, and thus the scope should always be in the realm of: how does this affect Rick and his family?

    I understand that sometimes the show will want to go outside that range, and that's okay, but when it starts detracting and distracting from Rick (the main character), then it becomes a massive problem.

    As such, I think there should be a "hierarchy" of sorts to how the characters get attention. In the 1st tier, there should be Rick and Rick alone (he is our MC).

    In the 2nd tier, it should be anyone who is in Rick's immediate circle: Carl and others in his family (that now applies to Michonne); I would also say 2nd tier should include whoever the primary villain will be that season as the villain usually operates as the dark foil to Rick (in essence, the Rick in the mirror).

    In the 3rd tier, it should be Rick's besties -- those closest to his heart platonically. That would be Glenn, Maggie, Daryl, and Carol.

    In the 4th tier, it should be the supporting characters, those who aren't integral to Rick's story, but help patch in the weak spots and have the potential to rise up to 3rd (or even 2nd) tier with time.

    As it stands, it appears this show is just uneven with balancing this adequately. All of the 3rd tier characters should get about equal focus -- and that isn't happening. Glenn is falling to the wayside. Daryl and Carol get a ton more screen time than Glenn and Maggie. Even worse, some 3rd tier characters outshine Carl who should be near the top rung of the ladder, and Michonne (who is now Rick's girlfriend and Carl's stepmom figure). This isn't a slight against those characters as characters, but there is something to be said about how they're getting undue attention and shine compared to what they should probably be getting.

    Of course I do say all this with bias as a Rick fan and a Richonne shipper, but I do think the focus very well should be on Rick and those closest to him. That's how this show began. It's how it should continue.
     
  3. Tisha Grimes

    Tisha Grimes Stay Strong
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    I think if they would let more of the group interact they could get more story out of all of them. Instead of Rick only talking to Carl, Michonne and Daryl. Let him talk to more than just them and a few others. There are so many ways to add the whole group to an episode but for some reason Gimple only wants certain characters to interact with certain characters. That needs to change. The more people that Rick interacts with the more characters will have some kind of story.
     
  4. MamaGrimes

    MamaGrimes 100% Certified Shipper Trash
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    Excellent thread idea Doc. You've hit on a hot topic and one that is frequently brought into many other threads. TWD is interesting because it's evolved under Gimple's reign from a story about a man finding his family and keeping them safe (seasons 1-3) as well as evolving as an apocalyptic leader to branching out and away to many other story lines. 4b was my wake up call with the influx of bottle episodes that forced me to go weeks, WEEKS without seeing the main character on my screen.

    So what is TWD? Is it Rick's story? Or has it turned into an ensemble show like GoT? GoT by the way does a much better job of balancing story lines week to week so you don't feel like its neglecting any one character. The big difference is there is no lead character on GoT, just a series of main characters.

    I believe this should still be Rick's story and, like you said, there should be focus on his inner circle and then the peripherals. Bottle episodes really need to be used very sparingly as they interrupt the pacing of the half seasons and focus on characters half of the fandom don't truly enjoy. Even a Rick bottle (last one was 4.16 I believe) would irritate Carol fans and if Daryl isn't in it, Daryl fans.

    People are passionate about their favorite characters and they would love to see their favorites each week. I will be the first to admit, I want to see Rick and Michonne in their own damn spinoff show but I'll be happy with seeing them in well written storylines that do justice to their characters.

    In answer to your OP, the story is in no way balanced. It's all over the place and, frankly, at any given time, favorite characters are going to get shorted and then may or my not get something meaty depending on Gimple's mood.

    I'm sure I'll have more to say on this...it's a pain point of mine and makes me re-watch older episodes to remind myself why I even watch this show!
     
  5. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    I do think they need to spread Rick around; since he is generally going to be the one with the most face time, it would behoove them to use him to give us a glimpse into what everyone else is doing. I notice characters generally start to get more attention when they're pulled into Rick's orbit.
     
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  6. Tisha Grimes

    Tisha Grimes Stay Strong
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    I would love to see more of Eugene and Rosita with Rick. I think they would make and interesting trio. Or heck even Abe, Carl and Eugene having a story together would be fun. Abe could help Carl with his fighting skills and Eugene could take Carl under his wing in his inventions. Heck I would just be happy for any group interacting that has not done before. Gimple needs to mix it up more because he might be surprised who works well together if he gave them a chance.
     
  7. Clutterbuck

    Clutterbuck Finding Bigfoot™
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    [​IMG]

    But it doesn't need to be equally balanced between every single character. I know it's going to look like my bias is showing but Rick is the main character, many people seem to have a hard time realizing/accepting that but it's true, and he should be getting the most focus and screen time. Yet it seems like since Gimple took over Rick goes missing for episodes on end. 4B.......Is it acceptable for there to be a few times when the main character isn't front and center? Of course, but what's been happening in Gimple's hands goes above and beyond that(the fact that the Kingdom is getting jump-started without Rick is making me scratch my head...well that's putting it nicely.) TWD is not Game of Thrones; GoT has no main character and can easily allow shared screen time, and they do it well. Hell Downton Abbey even did it well, sharing screen time between the servants and the Crawleys. In my opinion you just can't kick a character who has been established as the main character to the side and suddenly say this is now an ensemble show. Or hell maybe you can but you'd need someone a hell of a lot more talented that Gimple.

    I think there has to be a hierarchy when you have such a large cast. For example, I don't expect that Rick and Eugene will be getting the same amount of screen time or narrative focus, that's just silly.

    To just be frank it does grind my gears that Gimple felt the need to tell people that there'd be a lot of Daryl in 6B to make up for the lack of him in 6A, he sure never did that with any other character who has been ignored. Bueller? Carl? Carl? Carl?


    At the end of the day all the issues lie with Gimple's inability to write for a large cast regardless of whether the focus needs to equally balanced or not. You'd think it'd be easier when you DON'T need everyone to get the same amount of screen time, but apparently he even has issues with that because he's ignoring his main character(and his main character's son) in order to give us more of the same from Carol and Daryl(and using characters to prop them up or as canon fodder in the case of Denise), and I just don't get it.
     
  8. Tori

    Tori The New Mrs. Grimes

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    I don't think this show is always good at treating the characters equally. The main characters should get an equal amount of screen time. I get some characters like Rick will get more than others because he's the lead. The show should still find a way to balance the rest. Characters like Jessie should have never been given the amount of screen time she got. Her or her children. Especially since their fate was going to be the same as it was in the comics. Denise didn't get any screen time until she was about to die. The season final was the first time I had seen Aaron in a while. I don't even remember the last time I saw him. Bottle episodes like the ones for the Governor shouldn't have happened either. That could have been done in one episode. Instead we went 2 weeks without seeing anyone from the main cast. This show needs to find a way to balance it out better than they have.
     
    #8 Tori, May 9, 2016
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  9. Tisha Grimes

    Tisha Grimes Stay Strong
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    I don't mean for them to get the same amount of screen time as Rick but to intertwine others into Rick's story. Don't know how it would work though. Since Rick is the leader I would like to see him talking to everyone not just the few that are close to him.
     
  10. Tisha Grimes

    Tisha Grimes Stay Strong
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    I hate when Gimple gives someone a story or something to do right before he kills them. It is getting very damn old.
     
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  11. Tisha Grimes

    Tisha Grimes Stay Strong
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    I hate when Gimple gives someone a story or something to do right before he kills them. It is getting very damn old.
     
  12. Clutterbuck

    Clutterbuck Finding Bigfoot™
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    Yes, that would make things a lot easier and that also connects to another issue many people have had for a long time; that the group doesn't act like a family anymore and the interactions are not meaningful or there just isn't enough time devoted to seeing them truly interact.
     
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  13. Doctor Grimes

    Doctor Grimes Not Your Governor
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    It is bizarre when he does it for a minor character, but when it's an OG like a member of the Atlanta Five, it would be remiss for that character to slide onto the backburner before they take a bow.
     
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  14. Tori

    Tori The New Mrs. Grimes

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    It seems to be another pattern with him.
     
  15. Gooey Goobert

    Gooey Goobert Relocating to The Kingdom
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    For me, it's Atlanta 5 + Maggie and Michonne. That's my core group. Of course, Rick will get the main focus as he should. I'm fine if there are some episodes without Rick, but what really grinds my gear is that not all the Atlanta 5 + M&M are treated equally. Hell, some of the side characters, such as Abe get more attention and a clear storyline than Carl. Carl who is the son of the main character and who had the ingredients for a storyline (eye shot) that somehow fell to the wayside. Gimple and Co. need to refocus their energy on the core group and redistribute screen time so it's split evenly with Rick getting the lion's share.
     
  16. Tori

    Tori The New Mrs. Grimes

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    They don't. That started when they got to Alexandria.
    After Noah died Glenn was in pain, and Rick barely said two words to him about it. What kind of writing was that. I guess they thought we were more interested in watching Rick chase an illusion. I don't even know if Glenn talked to Maggie about it.
     
  17. Ship Verse

    Ship Verse Good Riddance 2016. 2017, Let's talk.
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    I think what Kirkman has done well in his graphic novels was while sometimes we don't see Rick, it always comes back to Rick. We see Maggie doing her thing in the Hilltop, and it is why do we do what we do? Because Rick Grimes. Rick Grimes is our hero/anti hero whatever, he is the guy that we follow that make us believe that there is something we are striving for here, while we get a glimpse at how everyone else is coping with this world.

    That is still true on the show, or was at the end of 5. That whole community campfire discussion was about Rick Grimes. He wasn't there, but everyone is talking about him. Everyone rallied behind him in 6A the show is about him, so instead of having his actions be dictated by the people around him, the people around him should be dictated by "WWRGD". That is not to say follow Rick Grimes blindly, but that you have aligned yourself with him, you accepted him as your leader, so show that. Team Family was started by Rick Grimes, but Gimple has decided to dismantle that dynamic through GN to Screen. Kirkman is also culpable because he writes a GN... the way that translates on TV is completely different. If Daryl is Rick's BFF... What sense does it make for him to not tell him, I'm going after Dwight? If Carol is part of TF, what sense does it make that no one but Daryl* (*that one time in 6) decides to check in on her mental state. How is the audience suppose to believe in TF when no one talks to the other? When it is important to show Maggie tell Aaron that she is pregnant, but not Glenn, not TF... Aaron?

    To me it is like Gimple does not care about telling a good story, the story is already being told by Kirkman in his GN. Gimple cares about doing what has not been done. "I struck gold with Clear and The Grove so now let me try to recreate that in everything that I do." Same Boat gave us nothing. Carol and Maggie were not changed in that episode at all. Back when we all fell in love with this show we learned something different every time to move the story forward. Now the entire show has become...

    [​IMG]

    There is always this comparison of TWD and GOT. GOT is different in that these different players are not a group, they aren't a cohesive unit. We have to stop certain places and check in on others, but at the same time the story does not stop being told for "plot point." Gimple forced 6A so that we can have No Way Out. He forced a relationship for a chop, then utterly dismissed it the next episode. Yes I love The Next World for Richonne, but it is not lost on me on what I dealt with to get to one damn episode.

    Sorry I'm getting off topic, but yes thing is characters are written unevenly for "moments". People like Daryl? Token Daryl moment. People praise Carol? Token Carol moment. People keep talking about Glenn's death? Token Glenn Death Gimmick. People liked this comic moment? Lets draw it out and milk it for all that we can. OC's stick around for his ego. A blank canvas to do whatever he wants with them. Comic characters are there for him to twist, change up to make different from the novel. Iconic characters stick around for the comic fans. Its a formula and he sticks to it because its working. He benefits from the hype of how badass the comics are. He exploits the loyalty of the fanbase.

    Its like inheriting a really good sports team, all the talent is already there. You can mix the players, put them however you please, but really you did nothing. Its all done for you and you reap the rewards.
     
  18. Misty Knight

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    No more bottle episodes. Each episode needs to have an A and B story and/or even C.

    A= the main plot of the episode. It should heavily freaking involve Rick or affect Rick in some way.

    B= the secondary plot of that episode that involves main characters. Rotate that bitch.

    C= a unique plot or quirky side plot that briefly takes up screen time given to minor characters being supported by mains.

    Oh and this show needs to go back to be CHARCTER-DRIVEN, not plot. 6A was a mess b/c it was plot driving the characters, characters' motives, actions, and behaviors being changed temporarily just to suit the plot. Characters being fucked around just for tv gimmicks. A whole entire episode about minor characters with Rick acting stupid and only one other main character having lines (Maggie).

    6B may have been better, but again plots that should have been B plots become A plots minus Rick. And no rotation. Back to back to back to back of Carol and Daryl!!??

    The worse isn't even screentime, it's the poor quality of material combine with very little screentime 6/10, 7/10 of the main characters are receiving.
     
  19. Tisha Grimes

    Tisha Grimes Stay Strong
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    It is like Gimple does not know what life is really like. He forgets that when something tragic happens that people need comfort or at least talking to someone about it. His deal is someone dies and people get over it in 5 minutes and never speak of that person again. It would give them so many great stories to tell from the tragic things that have happened to them.
     
  20. Tisha Grimes

    Tisha Grimes Stay Strong
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    I swear a girl at work that is a GA member asked me if the group even like each other anymore. She was like they never speak or even act like a family or even a group. That crap needs to change.