In case you were somehow unaware, The Walking Dead’s Season 7 premiere was incredibly violent. As such, it received a rating of TV-MA from the TV Parental Guidelines board, which indicates the episode contains violence, sexual content, and/or swearing, and is inappropriate for those under 17 years of age. These ratings (TV-Y, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14, and TV-MA) have been in place since 1997, but after the witnessing Negan’s bloody and graphic murder of Abraham and Glenn on the newest episode of The Walking Dead, the Parents Television Council would like to add a rating that goes beyond TV-MA.
PTC President Tim Winter claims the episode in question “set a new threshold for basic cable” in terms of violence and called it “one of the most graphically violent shows we’ve ever seen on television, comparable to the most violent of programs found on premium cable networks.”
“It’s not enough to ‘change the channel… because cable subscribers — regardless of whether they want AMC or watch its programming — are still forced to subsidize violent content,” Winter continued. “This brutally explicit show is a powerful demonstration of why families should have greater control over the TV networks they purchase from their cable and satellite providers.”
In response to the violence on display in the The Walking Dead premiere—an episode, it should be noted, Winter has not actually seen—the PTC President is proposing an “even more severe rating than TV-MA,” that we’re still confident wouldn’t actually let Negan utter an F-bomb (come to think of it, can we call the new rating TV-NEGAN?). “I understand violence is inherent to the storytelling here, but the manner in which the depictions were made … it crossed the line,” Winter told The Hollywood Reporter. “With The Walking Dead, the creative team has resorted to the graphic violence as a crutch for what used to be better storytelling. When you can’t figure out what lines to write, you put something in easier, which is a graphic depiction. To me, it’s too much.”
While Winter’s sentiment reeks of being too little, too late (The Walking Dead began with a girl, albeit a zombie girl, being shot in the head, but now it’s gone too far?), his criticism of the show’s lazy approach to storytelling is actually pretty on-point. The Walking Dead long ago abandoned any pretense of actually telling a story with any deeper meaning and exists solely to shock and titillate these days. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it’s clearly working in the show’s favor (we’re as guilty as anyone for gleefully tuning in week-after-week for the latest zombie-fueled mayhem).
Also, you just know if the PTC succeeds in its mission to give The Walking Dead a new rating that AMC is going to promote the hell out of it and wear it as a badge of honor. More power to them.
(Via: The Hollywood Reporter)