The Parents Television Council has filed an appeal with the TV Parental Guildelines Monitoring Board to change the TV-14 rating of AMC’s The Walking Dead. The PTC claims that The Walking Dead has “some the most graphic and brutally intense violence and gore imaginable,” according to PTC President Tim Winter. (Well, YEAH – Walking Dead.)
Tim Winter wrote a letter to PGMB chairman Gordon Smith. He writes, “Clearly, this is content appropriate to an adult-only audience, but AMC has rated every single episode of The Walking Dead as suitable for a 14-year-old child. We call on you and the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board to immediately take any necessary steps to insure that this program is rated accurately, appropriately and for the audience for which the show is designed.”
I’m very well known in my circles as being sort of cold and insensitive to those around me and I am a big fan of The Walking Dead, both the comic book and the TV series. But Tim Winter has a very valid point on this topic. Frankly, the television show should not be rated TV-14. I watch The Walking Dead, I know, for a fact, that the show has content inappropriate for younger viewers, including intensely graphic gore sequences seen nowhere else on television.
AMC’s zombie apocalypse drama has pushed the boundaries of just how much gore and what sort of gore can be shown on cable television. A few weeks ago, AMC pushed the boundary during episode 7 by showing Glenn (our favorite character) ripping bone directly from the body of a zombie he had just killed and then sharpening it into a weapon. Throughout this season, we’ve seen Michonne slice and dice zombies left and right (especially in this episode). Also, during Lori’s farewell episode, AMC showed what can only be described as a “makeshift C-Section scene” in which Maggie simply cut Lori open to get the baby out “safely” – for the baby at least.
And that’s not all folks. One of the toughest things to watch on this show is the ripping of skin during/from/in the midst of zombie bites. It’s brutal. It’s gross. It’s cool for those adults among us who like the whole “zombie thing,” but would seriously scar a young mind or, at the very least, lead to recurring nightmares.
These scenes are absolutely typical of an episode of The Walking Dead. My wife has a hard time even being in the vicinity of the living room on Sunday nights at 9pm. And people, she’s a nurse, so it’s not like she hasn’t actually seen some pretty messed up and hard-to-look at real life stuff.
Don’t get me wrong; none of this gore bothers me and presumably doesn’t bother the rest of The Walking Dead’s legion of fans. In fact, I think these gory moments are what make The Walking Dead work so well. They are necessary for viewers to truly get a “feel” of how bleak, hopeless, horrific the Zombie Apocalypse would be. However, much of the violence and gore shown on the show is not suitable for the young mind. I wouldn’t let my kids watch the show at 14.
If AMC wants to battle any rating higher than TV-14 for a reason that is beyond me, I would suggest that they nix the 9 o’clock airing and go with a 10pm time slot. If AMC does that, not as many young viewers will be exposed to the zombie trauma (assuming the same parents who are allowing their children to watch The Walking Dead also impose a reasonable bedtime, but that’s a discussion for a whole different editorial). A 10pm airing time is nothing that will affect The Walking Dead’s following.