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Psychoanalytic Analysis on The Walking Dead

In this presentation, we'll be reviewing the TV show, The Walking Dead, by using a psychoanalytic analysis.

Sijaanthan Rajendran

on 2 December 2013

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Transcript of Psychoanalytic Analysis on The Walking Dead

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
A Psychoanalytic Analysis

The Walking Dead is a TV show drama about a police officer, Rick Grimes, who wakes up from a coma in a hospital and finds out the whole world has been infected and dominated by zombies. He goes on a journey with other survivors who he meets along the way. Their objective was to... SURVIVE.
The Walking Dead is a drama TV show that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. This TV show contains numerous killings and violence and people may think it may harm the audience psychologically. I'll be analysing this TV show and proving why that as violent as this show is, it can actually reduce violent pleasure principles that viewers may have. I'll be proving my viewpoint by applying the Apparatus theory such as Scopophilia and Voyeurism into this TV show.
Apparatus Theory: The actual environment
and machinery of the film enables numerous psychoanalytic desires from the viewers.
It's the pleasure that comes from the process of looking.
In this scene, the survivors discover Sophia, one of the survivor's daughter who they were looking for in the past month or so. Unfortunately, they were too late since she has been infected and has become a zombie. This scene was very critical since it brings a closure to the search for Sophia and the danger the barn held since it used to contain numerous zombies before they were shot down in the scene before this.
This scene is a great example of Scopophilia because the viewers get a pleasure from just watching the Sophia zombie walk towards the survivors. The survivors just came to the realization that this once innocent girl has been reanimated, but they couldn't bear the thought of killing her. As viewers, we felt the same way and we felt the same pleasure from this sighting as the survivors felt in the show.
Voyeurism is the process of experiencing pleasure
by viewing a favourable object or person from a distance
Rick and his fellow survivors have found a prison they can call home. When they were clearing out the zombies in the prison, they came across 4 unaffected prisoners. They somehow compromised to work together but Tomas (long-haired prisoner), and the prisoner with the bat had their own plans, until Rick sabotaged it in this scene.
This scene is an great example of voyeurism. The
viewers were experiencing pleasure since there was a new foe in town, Tomas, and we would continue experiencing this pleasure of the drama between Rick and Tomas until either of them get killed. In this case, it was Tomas. Also, that moment when Rick said "S*** happens", and those extremely suspenseful seconds when we're not sure what the outcome would conclude to was also another example of voyeurism. The reason is because we lost that pleasure the moment Rick stabbed Tomas on the head.
As you can see, the Walking Dead performs the ideology of Scopophilia and Voyeurism and the violent psychoanalytic desires of the viewers of this show are fulfilled by watching this show. They're fulfilled because those desires people may have in their unconscious mind to know what it's like to kill someone would be accomplished through this show. Furthermore, the fact that most of the characters that died in this show are zombies makes the viewers realize that yes, it is okay to kill zombies in real life, BUT it is not okay to kill humans. Although, there are human-to-human violence in this show, it is only because they're trying to protect themselves and due to the current situation they're in. Adding to that, it's almost impossible that zombies would exist in real life, so the reality principle of following social law and order would still be kept because there won't be any need to kill zombies since they do not exist. And lastly, the realism on this show causes the viewers to fear death of others even more since the aftermath of a survivor's death is made so dramatic in the show.
In conclusion, when comparing the ideology of the Apparatus theory, and by using the concepts of Scopophilia, Voyeurism, and Fetishism to the TV series, The Walking Dead, we can conclude that this show is in fact not harmful to the audience and the show will help reduce violent behaviour. This is because our pleasures are fulfilled through watching it on the big screen or in this case, on TV. We can reduce our temptations and desires of violence because this show goes to a great extent to show the realism of violence, and this causes fear among viewers.
Fetishism is used in The Walking Dead due to its realistic portrayal of the post-apocalyptic world. As you can see in the trailer, the writers took this comic book adaptation to a whole realistic approach. The viewers like myself are so intrigued by this show because usually in movies, you would expect the minor characters to die, but in this show, even the main characters die since in a post-apocalyptic world, it's all about survival. Viewers who are fighting with the tension between consciously denying this is true, and unconsciously believing that this is true, they turn their attention to a fetish to help solve this discomfort.
Season 3 Trailer of the Walking Dead
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"The Walking Dead Season 3 Comic-Con Trailer." Youtube.com. YouTube, 13 July 2012. Web. 02 Dec. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShQz68Zkb3Y>.

Nazhorous. "The Walking Dead-Barn Scene." YouTube. YouTube, 09 Dec. 2011. Web. 02 Dec. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMl20nN9FI8>.

BigBossIncarnate. "Shit Happens (Walking Dead)." YouTube. YouTube, 09 Nov. 2012. Web. 02 Dec. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9l7fB6-hBQ>.

The Walking Dead Season 3 Poster. N.d. Photograph. The Walking Dead Season 3 Poster Revealed. AMCtv, 5 Sept. 2012. Web. 2 Dec. 2012. <http://blogs.amctv.com/the-walking-dead/twd-s3-key-art-796-1176.jpg>.

Garfield, Scott. Officer Rick Grimes. N.d. Photograph. Walking Dead - Days Gone By. Walking Dead Wiki, 2010. Web. 2 Dec. 2012. <http://walkingdead.wikia.com/wiki/Days_Gone_Bye?file=S01E01-SS1.png>.

Walking Dead Zombie. N.d. Photograph. 'The Walking Dead' Wins Emmy Award for Best Prosthetic Make-up. Examiner.com, 15 Sept. 2011. Web. 2 Dec. 2012. <http://www.examiner.com/article/the-walking-dead-wins-emmy-award-for-best-prosthetic-make-up>.

Walking Dead. N.d. Photograph. Video Thirst: The Walking Dead Reveal Trailer. Gamesthirst.com, 7 July 2012. Web. 2 Dec. 2012. <http://www.gamesthirst.com/2012/07/07/video-thirst-the-walking-dead-reveal-trailer/>.

Sophia Peletier. N.d. Photograph. Sophia Peletier Played by Madison Lintz. AMCtv. Web. 2 Dec. 2012. <http://www.amctv.com/shows/the-walking-dead/cast/sophia-peletier>.

Prisoners. N.d. Photograph. Talking Dead Poll for Season 3 Episode 2, "Sick" AMCtv, 17 Oct. 2012. Web. 2 Dec. 2012. <http://blogs.amctv.com/the-walking-dead/2012/10/talking-dead-season-3-episode-2-poll.php>.

Atlanta - The Walking Dead. N.d. Photograph. Walking Dead Wikia Atlanta. Walkingdead.wikia.com. Web. 2 Dec. 2012. <http://walkingdead.wikia.com/wiki/Atlanta?file=The-walking-dead.jpg>.
Season 3 Premiere Scene. N.d. Photograph. The Walking Dead Season 3 Scene. Tvfanatic.com. Web. 2 Dec. 2012. <http://www.tvfanatic.com/gallery/the-walking-dead-season-3-scene/>.
The Walking Dead. N.d. Photograph. Walking Dead Season 1 (TV Series). Walkingdead.wikia.com. Web. 2 Dec. 2012. <http://walkingdead.wikia.com/wiki/Season_1_(TV_Series)?file=TWD-Key-Art-357.jpg>.
Fetishism is the psychological structuring of an object or person as a base for sexual pleasure.
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