Camping & Survival

The Walking Dead—is it Realistic?

Killing zombie who used to be a person.

Is the Walking Dead a realistic depiction of what it would be like to live in a post-apocalyptic world? Based on Robert Kirkman’s drama of the same name, AMC’s award-winning television show, The Walking Dead, focuses on an ensemble cast of characters surviving the zombie apocalypse in and around Atlanta, Georgia.

The series debuted on October 31, 2010 to critical acclaim. It returned for a second season in October 2011. In fact, the season two finale was the most watched basic cable television drama show ever.

Is the Walking Dead a realistic depiction of what it would be like to live in a post-apocalyptic world?
Is the Walking Dead a realistic depiction of what it would be like to live in a post-apocalyptic world?

How it Begins

The Walking Dead opens its series introducing Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes and his partner, Shane Walsh. The pair responded to a high-speed car chase. A shoot-out ensues and Rick is shot. Then we see Rick waking up in a hospital room after an undetermined amount of time. We do know it has been awhile because of the dead get-well flowers sitting at his bedside. Rick gets up out of the bed and finds the hospital trashed, deserted, and full of dead bodies. It is in the hospital that Rick faces his first zombie, unsure of what it is.

Making his escape on a bicycle, Rick makes it back to his home to find it also deserted—his wife and son missing. Also introduced in this first episode is rest of the main cast of characters living in a makeshift camp outside of town. Shane, and Rick’s wife, Lori Grimes and Rick’s son, are also there.

A zombie horde invades the camp and the survivors gear up and move on.

By the end of the first season, the group has foraged water and weapons, gone to the CDC looking for answers and a cure, met a gang taking care of the elderly, and met a family living in a farmhouse.

At the end of the second season, some of the major cast members are dead, the group is in disharmony, they have met hostile survivors, and move from the farm.

If The Walking Dead was not full of drama and tension, the show wouldn’t be so popular, but is it too dramatic? I don’t think so. In a world where more than half the city’s population has turned into flesh-eating zombies and resources have become scarce, I can see how some of the overly dramatic situations could happen.

Lack of Professional and Skilled People

A hunter in the woods shoots Rick and Lori’s son by accident, not noticing the child behind a deer. In the time of desperation for food and paranoia over roaming zombies, I can see how the hunter would too quickly have taken the shot. This is where the group finds refuge in a farmhouse owned by Hershel, a veterinarian. During a zombie apocalypse, especially one that happened so quickly and spread rapidly, there would be a lack of qualified and skilled people. Therefore, veterinarians are going to be taking on the role of medical providers.

What you can do

Rick faces down a zombie horde in the AMC TV show The Walking Dead.
Rick faces down a zombie horde in the AMC TV show The Walking Dead.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

In a group of survivors who ban together simply for the fact that they find safety in numbers, not because they were a group of friends, family, or preppers before the virus hit is what makes The Walking Dead the most realistic. With so many different types of personalities, it is inevitable that arguments and fights would happen. Not to mention the struggle for control. Before Rick shows up to the camp, Shane has taken the role of leader. It could be on the account of Shane being a law enforcement officer that the camp naturally look to him for leadership. When Rick returns, he takes over for Shane. Not only would there be an internal hierarchy of group members, but also survivors would build alliances, such as Shane and Andrea. In addition, most survivors would not trust each other. In season two, we find Daryl hiding a gun from the others.

Looting and Scavenging

If a zombie apocalypse were to happen, if you weren’t infected, your main priority would be survival—using any means necessary. The group does this. Rick even allows someone to take a necklace from the mall. Everyone realizes the rules have changed. When the group comes across a blocked highway of stalled cars, they rummage through all the cars looking for supplies taking water, clothes, tools, and weapons.

What you can do

Shooting What Used to Be People

Killing zombie who used to be a person.
Killing zombie who used to be a person.

In the very first episode, a man and his young son find Rick. At one point, we watch the man sniping walkers from an upstairs window. His wife, now a walker appears in his sights. He clearly struggles with the idea of having to put a bullet through her head. I imagine at some point, you would have to shoot and kill someone you loved or knew when they were alive. One woman’s sister was bit and she had to shoot her when the virus took hold.

Questioning the Point of it All

The question of wanting to live through the whole ordeal comes up a few times in the series. In fact, some choose to stay behind in the CDC to die while the building explodes. Others question if remaining alive is even worth it. Thoughts like this, when you have lost everything are bound to happen. After all, when the world has completely stopped existing in the way you have known all your life there will be times of doubt. In Season 2, Episode 5, “Chupacabra”, Rick says, “Maybe I’m holdin’ on to a way of thinking that doesn’t make sense anymore.” They all realize that they must adapt to their new way of life. There will be those who can and those who cannot.

Season three of The Walking Dead premiers on October 14, 2012 on AMC.

When you envision the zombie apocalypse, how do you see yourself surviving? What do you see would be different about the world? Does the Walking Dead get it close? What do you think?


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1 Comment;

  1. The only thing unrealistic about the show are the events when some people are so stupidly and easily bitten by walkers. I mean, literally, walkers walk right behind, have time to hold their shoulder, slowly lower their heads, then go for the bite. C’mon! Seriously? Realistically people would be whipping arounding, spinning and kicking themselves loose before the bite. It’s only realistic when you’re completely surrounded like the case with Otis.

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