Posts Tagged ‘tdog’

Team Merle, Team T-Dog… a tag team

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

They are the oddest couple I know. One is a strung out, racist, redneck with a really bad attitude and cojones only a fool would dare challenge. The other is a black man built like a Mack truck who displays good intentions and guts, but harbors doubts about his place in a zombie-infested society. When they meet sparks, …or rather blood and spit, certainly fly. It’s a feast for the eyes and the spirit…for both Merle Dixon and Theodore Douglas, better known as T-Dog, are grappling with issues of race, survival and what it means to honestly show your true colors.

Who are Merle Dixon and Theodore Douglas? They are characters from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew. They have created cast of characters I have a great deal of love for:

If you aren’t watching the show you should be. From the moment the show begins viewers are taken on the undead ride of a lifetime, watching a cast of beleaguered humans fight not only to survive, but to retain that which makes us most human.

These two characters represent the opposite ends of the spectrum in a battle that has raged since the beginning of recorded history. Are we, the human family, truly one? Or, are we divided by race, religion, ethnicity and/or politics? Are we a global family? Or, is it us against them? Neither man is evil. Both are, at least partially, products of their environments. And both men have valuable lessons to teach us about what it means to be human.

[***WARNING: Spoilers ahead***]

Everyone loves Merle. Wait, scratch that. Everyone loves Michael Rooker, a singular actor who can take the most vile character and leave viewers salivating for more. But it isn’t just Rooker. Merle is able to do what most of us cannot—to be true to who he is and speak his mind no matter how unpopular his feelings might be. Putting aside, briefly, that Merle is a danger to pretty much anyone he encounters including his own family members, there is a sort of freedom there that few human beings have the guts to display.  T-Dog certainly doesn’t have that kind of courage—it is only when ravaged by fever that he is able to give voice to the dark thoughts he harbors within about race and the fate of the black man. While he may later express disgust with the bile that spewed forth from a fevered mind, he cannot really deny that those were—at least, in part—his true feelings…and given the state of pre-zombiepocalypse society, not entirely unjustified.

T-Dog, played by IronE Singleton, is the main survivor group’s conscience personified. After Merle’s disgusting display on the roof, it is T-Dog who steps forward to take on the responsibility for Merle’s fate even though he, above all the others, would have the most reason to turn and walk away. He took the responsibility for dropping the key and delivers a message few want to hear—that the blood is on their hands, and no matter how repugnant Merle may be his fate will weigh on their spirits. By securing the door with a chain and padlock even as he fled the rooftop scene, T-Dog recognized that his anger towards Merle was human, but that the outcome was untenable.

The one vs. the many. Merle and T-Dog, because of who they are as men, have polar opposite approaches to survival. Merle needs no one and sees the pansies, democrats and n*ggers as negatives rather than assets. T-Dog sees every individual as having a place on this earth with value to add to the group. In this regard Merle is hopelessly deluded. A man may be able to survive physically on his own, but the human spirit requires others to flourish.

Both Merle and T-Dog have strength of spirit, the strength of true survivors. If you pull away the layers of drugs, acerbic wit and short-sighted views of Merle, and the doubts about his place in the main survivor group as a whole in the case of T-Dog, both men have a strength to them. Seriously. How many people out there could do what Merle did on the roof, and in the kitchen with the iron? How many can continuously put aside fear and loneliness to act in the best interest of the group as a whole with no real sense of acrimony?

Which leads me to the rub. Is there a place for a man like Merle in a group of survivors for which he expresses little more than outright disdain? Should a man who consistently puts the group before himself feel like an outsider? And, ultimately, should the group survive long enough to begin a true rebuilding process, can they—the new human family—rise above the hurts of the past to chart a more humane future?

With special thanks to R.C. Murphy

Betting on a squirrel toss? Whodda thunk?

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

 Top Moments of The Walking Dead Season 1

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It’s over. (*sobs*) And now fans of The Walking Dead are left to ponder and pine for almost a year before we get to see Rick Grimes and crew decapitate more zombies.

Anyone who was on twitter the night of the finale got to laugh, squeal, shake their head as I bit my finger bloody through the explosive last episode.

I got so thoroughly over-excited that had it not been for faithful #zombiesurvivalcrew members @PatriciaIVicens, @jogden38 and @creativeconduit I would have missed the code to enter for the shamble on role – thank you again ladies!

Our only solace in the immediate aftermath of the finale was the generosity of IronE Singleton – a.k.a. TDog – our #zombiesurvivalcrew co-captain, who came on to the blog and answered all our questions with a depth of sincerity that was astounding.

I ended up having to go back and watch the finale two more times before I was even able to begin processing what I actually saw. Sitting down to think about it after, I began running through my

 top moments of season one

 

Here is where I landed ….

1 – Rick & Glenn take a walk –

Anyone who wasn’t shaking on their couch when walker-goo-covered Rick & Glenn took a horrifying walk through Atlanta’s zombie-infested streets just simply isn’t human. This was the epitome of (fictional) bravery and left many of us watchers wondering – could we do the same?

This was the perfect example of what it would take from each individual to survive a zombie apocalypse, and if you can’t hack it – you’ll be meat.

2 – Dale & Andrea –

A lot of people have asked and here is the answer. The scene near the finale’s end when Dale makes his amazing sacrifice was the moment my finger began to bleed. If the interplay between this loving, wise, generous father figure and the “daughter” he’s devoted to had gotten any more real I probably would have ended up in the hospital.

It’s moments like this that will carry The Walking Dead forward. And, yes, I know that death stalks them all, but I’m hoping Darabont, Kirkman and crew will keep this kind of character interaction very much alive.

3 – Daryl’s Squirrel toss –

Daryl had the best entrance of all the characters (with the exception of maybe Glenn). Three plus weeks later I’m still trying to figure out my favorite part. It’s a hard choice, because everything in that sequence was sublime — from the squirrel toss and the illegal choke hold, to “C’mon people, what the hell?!? It’s gotta be the brain. Dontcha all know nothin’?!?” and tears for his brother.

In the span of just a couple minutes The Walking Dead gave us a multi-dimensional character you just knew you were going to love to hate.  This was refreshing compared to the very one-dimensional introductions we received to most of the other characters. And, of course, it wasn’t much of a surprise that Daryl quickly became a fan favorite.

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TDog cements his place on ZombieSurvivalCrew

Monday, December 6th, 2010

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Mad, mad  love to Robert “IronE” Singleton

 – TDog on AMC’s hit television show The Walking Dead –

for taking on the #zombiesurvivalcrew in this epic battle to the death of his fingers!!

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He took all of the, ummmm, creative questions – including a last minute entry from me (bow, scrape, beg) — and did it up hard core in true #zombiesurvivalcrew style!!! He even added a special message for all the crew at the end!

I had a blast reading through his responses and was truly impressed with the obvious time and thought he put into his answers – and his quirky sense of humor. IronE, you are DEFINITELY #zombiesurvivalcrew material man and we are very, very happy to have you officially on the bus!

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So, without further ado ……

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Juliette/@jterzieff – In my work I constantly urge every individual to stand up and make their voice heard on the issues that matter to them personally whatever they may be — free speech, women’s rights, political repression in Burma, illiteracy, offshore oil drilling, hunger, etc. What issues do you feel particularly strong about? And do you believe it is important for every individual to make a contribution to solving our collective challenges?

IronE: I believe that change starts from within and manifests itself from without. I think that it is necessary for each and every individual to focus on becoming a better person, because we can’t control other peoples actions. …only our own. As we do that, we build credibility, people recognize and respect it, and want to do the same for themselves. In turn, they make more humane decisions and the world becomes a better place. Having said that, I feel strongly about each issue you mentioned and then some. And yes, I feel that each individual has an obligation to make a contribution 1st through how he/she lives, which can then serve as an example for others.   

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@actingnodrama – I love that Mr. Singleton is doing this. What an amazing way to reach out to the fans in a creative way. I’ll have to think long and hard about my question. Don’t want to waste the opportunity

IronE: It’s is my absolute pleasure, Ben.

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@Alta03 – Thanks for being so awesome and coming for a visit! My question: What did you learn about yourself while filming The Walking Dead? Thanks! Alta from the “Z-crew”

IronE: Hi Alta, my pleasure. I would say that in extremely hot temperatures, I would probably pass out. Given my decade plus of football experience… practicing in the most extreme conditions during Georgia summers, I thought I was invincible to heat exhaustion. Boy, was I wrong!!! I almost had a heat stroke when we shot episode 2 on the rooftop. I guess I learned that I’m not as tough as I thought I was…when it pertains to dealing with heat, of course…not zombies. Hahahaha. 

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@KyleD03 – IronE, great fan of your work. (even more so because of your humble and social personality) I’m wondering if at any time during filming you’ve found yourself so engulfed in the scene that true emotions take over and separation becomes difficult…or if you just get creeped out by the walkers. In such a dramatic production, it seems so very likely. Again, great work! Thanks for your time!

IronE: Hi, Kyle and thank you for your thoughtfulness. Yes, true emotions do take over but separation never becomes difficult. As an actor, my job is to become as emotionally connected to the scene as possible…to believe everything that I’m doing so the audience can believe it, too. If that doesn’t happen, I might want to rethink this acting career of mine. Take care. 

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Hotties, not Rotties …

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

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I can’t even begin to count the times I’ve wondered why in the name of all that is good and great in the world The Walking Dead production team makes all these handsome actors look like crap. Not that we don’t like the sweaty look, but they all look like they’ve just survived an apocalypse. Ummmm … yeah, about that.

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Andrew Lincoln? IronE Singleton? Jon Bernthal?

 

(and yes, yes, YES, I hear ya screamin’…)

 

Norman “badass” Reedus?!?!?!

 

Talk about taking the, uhhhh… wind out of our, ummmm, sails ….

But the truth is, they have hit upon an undeniable apocalyptic truth: Even the hottest survivors are going to smell and look like walkers pretty fast.

So that got me thinking, … again.

What kind of men are we going to encounter

in the event of a cataclysmic global zombie outbreak?

And would any of them be worth braving the smell?

 

(I asked #zombiesurvivalcrew co-captain @RCMurphy to help me examine the evidence …. And here is where we landed)

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