As I have a friend who works on the set of The Talking Dead — a guest-panel show hosted by Chris Hardwick that airs after each new episode of The Walking Dead — I got the chance to sit front and center for a taping. I figured it would be fun and a very “Hollywood” thing to do. She told me I came on a really good night, and she was right.
I won’t go into detail about the episode, but the reason she knew I’d be excited was the discussion of the two new characters on the show, a gay couple. This isn’t the show’s first queer character, actually. Tara is a lesbian who didn’t really get to be in a relationship; her new girlfriend was shot in the head last season. (The apocalypse is brutal on a relationship.) However, newcomers Aaron and Eric are an established couple. We know that much … and that’s about it so far.
When I saw the kissing scene introducing them as a couple, I almost cheered. I wondered if this would be controversial in some way, but didn’t really dwell on it, relishing the moment a bit longer. In fact, after the showing, no one but me brought up “the gay thing.” They were all buzzing with questions for actress Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne on TWD.
In fact, everyone seemed so positive about these new characters, I thought it might go by without any mention. Then, the next day, I found out some people were outraged. Let’s be clear: It was a kiss, that’s it. I mean, their lines help you understand they’re most definitely a couple, but the only thing they did was kiss. Still, people didn’t want to see it on their purified show filled with gratuitous violence, blood, guts, limbs, and cannibalism.
I did a little research. This is a direct adaptation of characters as they were written in the comic books, which proves once again that people don’t read. If they did, they would have already known about Aaron and Eric. The biggest thing that struck me was how there was no such outcry when the lesbians were seen lying in bed with one another last season. This speaks directly to the show’s largest demographic — men 18–49 — having no issue with lesbians on screen.
What’s up with that, world?