Episode 473: It’s Right

Zombie Cliche Lookout: A Helping Hand

As much as many people like to fantasize about surviving on their own against all odds in the zombie apocalypse, that’s generally not going to be the best approach. People are, at their cores, social animals. We depend on one another for everything from comfort and companionship to skills and labor. I don’t care how well trained you are, you just can’t do everything.

Just like insects, people tend to specialize. Sure there are the generalists out there; the jacks of all trades who like to do a bit of this and a bit of that, but even they are limited in what they’re capable of doing. They might be handy around the house, have strong mechanical skills, and maybe even good ability at gathering and preparing food, but when they get sick or hurt, they need someone who can heal them.

And even if they don’t, there are only so many hours in a day, eventually their own labor won’t be quite enough. Especially if the zombies keep popping up.

About this Episode:

I think the fact that they had a good-sized chapel in their house pegs Abe and his clan as religious people. I wanted to use this two different ways, to play up two common tropes. On the one hand, they’re dangerous fundamentalists, but on the other they find not helping a person in need unconscionable.

These two traits are quite different, so I wanted to give them to different characters, with Abe taking on the negative traits, and Emma getting the positive. Of course, if you got to know them a bit, I’m sure there would be a fair amount of crossover between the two.

Other News:

Using random.org to generate a random number (corresponding to the number of entries I received), it looks like Josue Antonio is our winner. I’ve reached out to him via email. Congratulations Josue!

Discussion Question: Hated Zombie Story Character Archetypes

Zombie stories tend to play pretty close to the tropes, which means you tend to see a lot of the same archetypical characters pop up over and over again. Naturally, there’s an asshole in every group. You have the characters who are smart but can’t take care of themselves. The tough characters that don’t let anyone get too close. I could go on and on.

The question is, which of these characters do you dislike the most. And, just to keep things interesting, let’s exclude the asshole completely. No choosing that guy.



Typo alerts:

Zombie Cliche Lookout, second paragraph, second sentence after the semicolon: “the jacks of all trades who like to insert missing word(s) hereabouts a bit of this and a bit of that” This sentence needs restructuring and is a bit of a tough one to call on exactly where the word is missing but where I inserted the bolded insert text is about where I figure something should be there, I suggest “do”. 😀

About this Episode, first paragraph, third sentence: fundamentalist–>fundamentalists

Other news: is it Josue or Joshue? There can be only one correct spelling of his name! 😉

Discussion question, last paragraph, second sentence, after the second comma: complete–>completely 😀 Or did you mean “exclude the complete asshole”? 😉


Still can’t believe that Sam kinda killed her whole family, albeit accidentally. . . :/


Dammit, I kept on answering this question the wrong way. With long lengthy explanations of why its illogical to have any of the archetypes because they don’t fit human diversity or reasoning. In the end the person I hate the most in archetypes has to be the smart guy. Because if he’s really all that smart why doesn’t he know how to defend himself? A man with no muscle will compensate with his understanding of how to blow you up.


Oh yeah, archetypes are generally just lazy writing, unless you’re using it to say something about archetypes, of course.

Good call on the annoying, defenseless smart guy.

Nom Zoms

For some reason, it’s only the truly evil villains that try to act like they’re a good person that I dislike the most. Anyone who is a Harry Potter fan may know and agree with this example: Professor Umbridge (is worse than) the Death Eaters


Is Umbridge the snooty lady with all the rules and cats?


I can’t stand The Helpless One™. Whether it is Barbara in Night of the Living Dead or Rachel in War of the Worlds, they grate on me like nobody’s business. I understand you just experienced loss and/or are shell-shocked, but you’re going to get someone killed trying to keep you alive while you are incapable of performing even the simplest of practical tasks (sorting nails, following directions, etc).

(And, yes, the children were so annoying that I spent most of Jurassic Park rooting for the dinosaurs — the whole thing would have been much better had they just been eaten in the car).



Oh yeah, the helpless characters are pretty annoying, especially when they’re just comically helpless. Barbara is a good example here, and I think even Romero wishes he’d done that character differently.


Not sure what you call them but I always hate the guy/girl who is so sure they are right and everyone else is wrong that they go ahead and do what everyone said they didn’t want them to do. This usually leads to the group having major problems (like the compound being compromised). Usually a few not important characters get killed and the person responsible trying to make some excuse. Really grates on me.


I don’t know what you’d call them either, but I know exactly what you’re talking about.


I would hate, during a Z apocalypse, to cross the road of people like Kenny from the walking dead video game. Kind of people who pretend to know what is good for others but when facing the very same situation can’t or refuse to do it.

On the other hand those characters fit well in the story as “tension creators”.


I’ve always hated the cultural stereotypes – the characters whose sole defining characteristic is that they’re from a particular culture, be it regional (redneck, inner city tough, etc), racial (don’t need to explain, do I?), or even financial (the snooty rich person). Those are the characters I usually hope – and am not disappointed – get killed of first.

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