The Walking Dead has spent time as one of the biggest television shows. It’s one of several series responsible for pushing the envelope for TV in the 2010s. Its characters, world, and visuals have come to be recognized across the world, and it still has a large and loyal viewer base. However, not every aspect of the show is adored.
Some fans note that parts of The Walking Dead, be they individual moments or recurring storytelling choices, do not work in the show’s favor. Whether they undermine the storytelling, feel forced to drum up controversy, or simply represent the limits of cable television, some things in The Walking Dead are cringe-worthy.
10 A Great Many Pointless Character Deaths
Something that set a show like The Walking Dead apart in the 2010s was frequent character deaths. Audiences couldn’t ever know for sure who would live and who would die, which created a constant atmosphere of tension. The show retains plenty of character deaths into the present day, but the effect has worn off for many due to overuse.
Many deaths in current seasons are more minor characters or those who have been out of focus for a long time. In addition, many are seen as pointless or unnecessary, only used for drama. Many viewers see the constant death as a cringe-worthy attempt to be dark and gritty, rather than something that enhances the show.
9 Negan’s Intimate Scene With Alpha
Many of the cringiest things about The Walking Dead are long-running choices, but some specific moments are the right mixture of bizarre and disgusting to linger with fans. One notable moment is Negan’s tryst with Alpha after he gains the respect of the Whisperers.
The scene doesn’t happen in the comic books, and it seems a very odd choice for both characters. In addition, the two are absolutely filthy, having been surrounded by (and wearing parts of) walkers for a long time without any form of washing. As such, the scene comes across as unhygienic enough to make anyone shudder.
8 The Many Attempts At Moralistic Preaching
The Walking Dead‘s dialogue is one of its more contentious aspects, but something most fans have come to roll their eyes at is its preachier and more long-winded speeches. The show can communicate impressive and even profound messages with short, realistic dialogue, but it doesn’t often take this approach.
Some of the show’s speeches, such as Rick pleading with the Governor to let go of their feud, are beloved moments. Later on in The Walking Dead, however, these speeches become more common, more blatant about their messages, and far less natural. Watching the characters frequently speak in unrealistic ways has become a long-accepted but embarrassing part of the show.
7 The Infamous CGI Deer
The Walking Dead is known for its very good practical effects, having realistic-looking and nausea-inducing makeup on its many thousands of zombies. Unfortunately, this expertise doesn’t translate to its CGI, which many fans consider to be mediocre at best and terrible at worst.
Of those moments, few are more infamous than the deer in “Say Yes.” Rick and Michonne stop to marvel at a deer in their post-apocalyptic world, only for the deer to be an obvious special effect that doesn’t look like it belongs in the scene. To many fans, it’s an immersion-shattering moment that feels far too amateurish for the show.
6 The Armor Of Commonwealth Soldiers
The level of civilization and power in The Walking Dead has rapidly escalated from lone groups of survivors and the handful of small communities around Alexandria to massive proto-governments in the form of the Commonwealth and the Civic Republic. These groups are ambiguously villainous, but they’re clear attempts to replicate the society of today.
As such, one particular choice of the Commonwealth is particularly baffling. Soldiers of the Commonwealth wear enormous, blocky armor with huge amounts of solid white. Not only does it seem very impractical, but it also makes them look a lot like stormtroopers from Star Wars. It feels so out of place in The Walking Dead that most fans simply cannot take them seriously.
5 The Shift To More Cartoonish Characters
The early seasons of The Walking Dead focus on everyday survivors. They are well-liked for having realistic, nuanced personalities and feel like people who would survive a zombie apocalypse against the odds. However, as the cast swells more in later seasons, new additions tend to be more exaggerated and cartoonish.
This kicks into gear with the Kingdom and its leader Ezekiel, but many fans are willing to overlook it due to the Kingdom’s more impressive traits and a charismatic performance from Khary Payton. It’s with the introduction of the Scavengers that many fans feel it goes too far, as they’re impossible to take seriously due to all of their eccentricities.
4 Rushed Romances Seemingly Coming Out Of Nowhere
Not every romance in The Walking Dead is abrupt, and many of them are well-liked by fans. However, the show doesn’t always lay the foundation for its couplings, not least due to the vast cast and the number of storylines in a given episode. Consequently, for every Rick and Michonne or Glenn and Maggie, there is a romance that feels out of place and cringeworthy.
This isn’t new to The Walking Dead, with many disliking Andrea’s sudden connection with the Governor in season 3. Rick and Jessie’s relationship comes out of nowhere and ends equally inconsequentially. Many fans don’t buy Gabriel and Rosita’s relationship, even after a lengthy time skip.
3 Exploitative And Underwhelming Cliffhangers
A heavily serialized show like The Walking Dead has to keep viewers hooked from one episode to the next, and the show makes frequent use of cliffhangers to do so. However, these cliffhangers start to feel increasingly forced and designed to drum up controversy, causing fans to roll their eyes.
In particular, the increasing refusal to follow through on cliffhangers gets to some fans. One of the most notorious cases is Dwight shooting Daryl at the end of “East,” only to immediately tell him that he’ll be fine. It seems like an attempt to be mysterious and compelling without taking real risks. As a result, many fans simply feel embarrassed by the show.
2 Extensive Death Cop Outs
The flipside to the show’s frequent character deaths is that most of the characters at genuine risk aren’t significant fan favorites. Although major characters die occasionally, there are some characters who the show threatens to kill off, but only rarely follow through on.
Despite his later death, this trend begins in earnest with Glenn and his infamous dumpster survival. Since then, the extensive hype around Rick Grimes’ ‘final days’ saw him survive everything thrown at him and rejoin the franchise later. This signals to many that The Walking Dead has lost its edge.
1 The Heavily Censored Swearing
The Walking Dead is adapted from an adult comic book with no particular restrictions on its language. However, as an AMC show, The Walking Dead has to be more careful regarding censors. As such, the show can’t adapt the strongest swearing from the comic book but still attempts to carry across particularly profane characters or lines.
Sometimes this works, such as Abraham’s gentle swearing becoming a much-enjoyed character trait. More often, however, it’s blatant and laughable, taking viewers out of the experience. Notably with Negan’s frequent use of ‘screw’ or ‘peg’, the hamfistedly censored dialogue just makes fans cringe.