Episode 743: Getting Started

Zombie Cliche Lookout: Reliable Unreliability

Today’s cliche is by no means exclusive to zombie fiction. Rather, it’s a mainstay in modern horror in general. I’m talking, of course, about vehicles that stubbornly refuse to start when a character needs to use it to get away. That car might have worked flawless in every other scene (although writers often foreshadow this cliche by having the character have minor vehicle problems earlier), but when it really counts, the car just won’t start. As someone who once drove a vehicle that regularly burned up starters, I can tell you this is a very frustrating problem, even when not being chased by the walking dead.

About this Episode:

While the truck isn’t starting, between the noise of the attempts and the zombies already chasing Barb, it seems like she’s already garnered a pretty good audience. While she is indeed off the ground a fair bit, she does seem to be within the possible reach of one of two of those zeds. I really wish I would have thought to modify this set more to include more of a real window.

Discussion Question: Cars Today

I feel like this trope should begin to die out in the near future. Cars today just seem much more reliable than the cars of yesteryear. In fact, when I picture a car not starting, it’s never a vehicle manufactured in the last couple of decades. It’s generally something from the 1980s or earlier, especially vehicles from the 1960s and 1970s.

Now I don’t know a damn thing about cars, so maybe I’m completely misinterpreting this. But in the case that I’m not, what would have changed between now and then to make the cars that much more reliable? Computer controls? No more carburetors? Come on, car people, school me on this.

18 Comments

BrickVoid

Well, let’s pretend for the moment that the zombies just can’t quite reach into the cabin. Or that there is an invisible piece of glass we just can’t see! 😀 I mean, all trucks have wind-up windows, since trucks and cars came into existence. It’s like an invisible barrier, so to speak. I’m just going to assume for now that Barb is quite safe inside the cabin of the truck. She will probably just have to fight off the occasional zombie, it’s not like they can open doors or anything, especially if the locking mechanism on the door is engaged.

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BrickVoid

I reckon modern cars are harder to break the glass of though, that might work considerably better with older models of cars, but the newer cars should have a considerable amount of theft deterrents built into them. Plus, these days, if you so much as hit a car too hard, the loud car alarm which is of course connected to the car horn, goes off, and doesn’t stop going off until the owner comes to reset it. Kind of hard to steal a car if everyone around you knows you’re trying to break into it! 😀

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Dave

I suspect that’s true. It takes a fair bit of force to break out the tempered glass. I have heard, however, that throwing a bit of ceramic will tear right through windows.

BrickVoid

Also, language, well she is a nurse, can’t really fault her for that! 😀

I’m surprised, though, that Dave didn’t comment on it! 😀

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BrickVoid

I would’ve also expected Dave to have given us some insight into why there don’t seem to be any comments from him after Wednesday’s episode has been published. This has been going on for the past two or three episodes now, I really would like to know what is taking so much time out of Dave’s mid-week schedule that he can’t reply to comments.

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BrickVoid

I mean the episodes on Wednesday, not sure if that is clearly enough implied in my comment above. 😀

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Dave

Yeah, this is pretty much it. Work and personal lives have both been extremely busy lately. Time has been at something of a premium.

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BrickVoid

Do you think you could get back some of the time? You come up with some thought provoking discussion questions sometimes, then never get around to responding to people who answer them.

The problem is, if you give a good Discussion Question, I try to think up an answer, if it’s a subject I have anything to write on. Then, you totally ignore it or don’t catch up on replies. I really would appreciate seeing you be able to somehow catch up on previous Discussion Questions, if that’s at all possible.

Dave

I try as much as I am able, absolutely. I feel bad when I’m not able to circle back around to all of the discussion.

BrickVoid

One good thing seems to be that the typos are non-existent, at least Dave seems to be a bit more on top of that, good job so far, Dave! 😉

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pi3rk

I have to admit that I feel that the car that is not starting is kinda way overused in any story… I mean 1 time out of… 1, when the character needs to run away, the car won’t start.

I won’t complete when the cause is accidental (car just crashed, gun fire damaged,…), but the sudden mechanical breakdown or the empty tank…

It’s the same as the no battery cell phone… Do they sell those like this or what?

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Dave

I really like the point about the dead cell phones. I wonder if that’s going to come to replace the cars that won’t start in the modern age.

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Mick

I think that modern cars are more reliable, but harder to repair when they do go wrong. The electronics need specialist tools and knowledge to diagnose problems which are out of reach of the average diy mechanic.

And older car would be easier to work on for someone with limited resources.

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