It’s true America is a nation divided; a country split into two parties with fundamentally different beliefs and outlooks on life – some of us like zombie shows and others prefer British dramas.
A large number of us want to watch marauding brain-eating zombies while others insist, for inexplicable reasons, on watching British gentry prattle on about some mischief the servants are up to.
Boiling points are reached every Sunday at 9 p.m., thanks to diabolical television schedulers. That is when everyone is forced to choose sides. You either choose zombies or you choose snooty English people. For it is at that precise time that The Walking Dead airs on AMC while Downton Abbey shows on PBS – throwing every household in this nation into chaos, splitting families down the middle.
If men are from Mars and women from Venus, everyone could go back to their home planet on Sunday nights and happily watch zombie killing on the red planet, while the fairer sex would get together and discuss the intricacies of what Maggie Smith said at a tea, as opposed to what she said at dinner.
Not to be sexist, but facts are facts - this division most often comes down to gender. Dudes like zombie killing, about a thousand to one more than Masterpiece Classic shows featuring people polishing silverware. Women, on the other hand, may enjoy a good zombie-braining from time to time, but are more apt to miss it when confronted with a show from an elegant British manor house on another channel.
This essential difference has bedeviled household harmony since the cave days. Even with technology that allows easy show recording, the one who controls the remote, drives the household.
The two shows represent the two faces of our culture. The Walking Dead features oodles and oodles of zombie killing action. Zombies are dispatched at a high rate with crossbows, shovels, pipes, samurai swords and occasionally plain ol’ guns – when the writers run out of other ideas.
The Walking Dead, which provides a compelling plot as well as useful post-apocalyptic survival tips, is both entertaining and educational for many of us – Never trust people with eye-patches when civilization breaks down.
Unfortunately, the forces of Venus have seen fit to put a show on Georgia Public Broadcasting that spends many, many minutes of nothing but a bunch of snooty English people wielding their wit and manners against each other and the hordes of the non-aristocrats who surround them. However, this show, which features all the excitement of watching someone mow grass, apparently casts a hypnotic spell over a certain percentage of the public.
It was bad enough two weeks ago when Downton Abbey came up against the SuperBowl and some households missed part of the biggest football game of the year. In some cases “the ladyships” simply banished their husbands to the servant quarters (kids’ rooms) to watch one of the best NFL grand finales in American history alone, not on their recliners and far from their tankards of ale.
This Valentine's Day what we propose is a compromise of sorts. Maybe every once in a while a half-rotted zombie can run amuck through the halls of the manor house and eat a butler or some incidental cousin to the dowager, conversely the rugged band of survivalists in the Walking Dead could once every show drone on endlessly about proper etiquette while fleeing a horde of ravenous zombies.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day we’d like to suggest a new series, The Walking Dead of Downton Abbey.