'The Walking Dead': Comic book series creator Robert Kirkman talks about last night's 'Guts'-y episode

the-walking-deadLast night, AMC broadcast the second episode of The Walking Dead, its adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s still ongoing zombie comic book saga. Would executive producer and show creator Frank Darabont maintain the jaw-dropping level of carnage featured in the pilot, which opened with Andrew Lincoln’s sheriff hero Rick Grimes shooting a cute zombified girl in the head (and which scored record-breaking ratings for AMC)?

The answer was a definite “Yes-and-then-some!” as the appropriately titled Guts found Grimes and his new buddy Glenn (Steven Yeun) attempting to blend in with the undead hordes of Atlanta by covering themselves with blood, viscera, and even a severed foot. (Between this show and the just released 127 Hours, I can only assume it must have been National Detached Extremities Weekend. My, it seems to come earlier every year!) The second episode also introduced a number of characters including the racist Merle Dixon, played by Michael Rooker of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer infamy.

After the jump, Kirkman—who in addition to creating the original comic, is one of the show’s writers and executive producers—ruminates on the episode, talks post-apocalyptic sex, and admits that the severed foot may possibly have been… a step too far! (Warning: The post does contain an image of an extremely gore-covered Grimes.)

walking-dead-102Image Credit: TWD Productions/AMCEntertainment Weekly: The sequence in which our heroes hacked up a body and then started smearing bloody grue over each other was one of the most grotesque thing I’ve ever seen on a TV show. I imagine there really were a lot of faint-hearted folks who thought about switching over to Brothers & Sisters at that point.
Robert Kirkman: [Laughs] Well, hopefully, not. I hope they… [Laughs] Well, if that’s how they are, then screw ‘em! [Laughs] I think the violence shown in the show always has its place and it very much makes sense in the context of the story. I hope that it never seems gratuitous, because that’s not the intent.

EW: I’m 99.9% with you on the gore not being gratuitous. But what about the severed foot-necklace?
RK: Ha! I wasn’t there that day. I might have advised them against the foot.

EW: I mean, if you look up “gratuitous” in the dictionary, there’s a picture of a severed foot hanging from Andrew Lincoln’s neck.
RK: [Laughs] I would like to buy that dictionary.

EW: The ruse did work in terms of making the zombies believe that the now odorous Rick and Glenn were also undead. So are we supposed to believe that zombies can smell better than before they died?
RK: It’s not that they can smell better, it’s just that they’re used to a general smell of deadness, as they’re moving around in groups. And the only way that they can possibly differentiate between living people and dead people, is kind of an absence of that smell. It’s really just a difference in how they smell, not “Hey, we can seek out living flesh like a bloodhound!” It occurred to me that every now and then there are zombies that don’t really look that much more dead than an alive person. It can’t really be from a visual perspective that they’re attacking human beings. And they don’t attack each other, ever. So there has to be a reason for that. So maybe it’s some kind of a smell thing.

EW: There was something of a sex scene in the episode. Do you think people will be having more or less sex during the inevitable zombie apocalypse?
RK: Probably more sex. Just because there’s very little to do. People don’t have jobs anymore. There’s not a lot of responsibilites. Once you find food, and put a roof over your head, you’re pretty much done for the day. What better way to pass the time, right?

Walking-Dead-zombiesImage Credit: Scott Garfield/AMCEW: Could you talk a little bit about the greatness of Michael Rooker?
RK: Well, Michael Rooker is great! He really sells that episode. It’s really The Michael Rooker Show for one solid episode. [Laughs] It’s awesome. I was so thrilled that I found out that he was going to be in the show. And the ridiculous thing is that I know him as the bad guy from Mall Rats.

EW: The Stink Palm!
RK: Exactly! I actually got a chance to hang out with him and he’s a totally awesome guy. He always plays bad guys and psychos and it’s weird, because he’s this really boisterous, friendly guy. But yeah, his character is very important to the life of the show. He’s a completely original character that was never in the comic. He’s kind of the first human that they come across where it’s like, “Hey, this guy’s really dangerous.” Also Michael Rooker likes to ad-lib. He got us over our cursing limit a couple of times. I think it was a bit of a pain in the a—for the post production people.

EW: His character’s fate was left uncertain at the end of the episode. I’m not asking you to spoil anything, but you’ve got bring that bad boy back, right?
RK: Oh well, you’ll just have to watch episode three, won’t you?

Did you see Guts? What did you think?

More on The Walking Dead
‘The Walking Dead’ walks on Google Maps
‘The Walking Dead': Robert Kirkman talk’s about the shocking pilot
‘The Walking Dead’ recap: Boyz in the Zombiehood
‘The Walking Dead': Ken Tucker’s review
‘Night of the Living Dead': How a 42-year-old zombie movie refuses to die

Comments (81 total) Add your comment
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  • UGH

    Awesome show!
    Now hurry up and greenlight a longer season!

    • Elysia


    • Rush

      AMC’s highest rated drama ever? You can count on it.

    • mdisloki

      They better! This is easily one of the best shows on TV right now!

  • Cheryl

    EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!!!! It is about time we had a series with a topic that interests more people than you realize.

  • Luanne

    This show still on? I thought AMC was going to cancel it. Anyway, now that I have notified the Parents Television Council, I am sure it will soon be gone. Good riddance to trash! I think everyone will also be pleased to know that my children have finally recovered from the last episode and are finally sleeping in their own beds again.

    • Elysia

      Why would you let your children watch it in the first place? Just change the channel and leave the rest of us in peace.

      • Luanne

        Oh no, honey. I am going to make sure that NO ONE will EVER have to watch this again. I know that my family is the only victim from this mess, and hopefully my actions will prevent further damage. The Parents Council are fully supporting my Book Club’s petition and I believe it may finally get cancelled. You will thank me later.

      • RCB

        May the zombies get to your house first.

      • Sumtime

        So you let your young kids watch a zombie TV show? Hey, great parenting job!!! Your kids will grow up healthy, I’m sure.

      • Mastik8

        Well, my Parents Council are fully supporting my Book Club’s petition who in turn agree with the PTA and my church group, Rabbi and I believe it will not finally get cancelled. So there. Nya.

    • @ Luanne

      Ahhh, jokesters on the boards, a little levity on a Monday morning, just what the doctor ordered.

      As an aside: this show is totally AWESOME!

    • Pete

      So, Luanne, were you among the crowd screaming “CENSORSHIP” when NPR broke off Juan Williams? In the eyes of a conservative, the freedom to turn the channel is not enough enough when it comes to zombies?

    • josef


    • UGH


    • paul.p@digicare.co.uk

      A Big Grow Up – And why would you be so silly as to let your kids watch??

    • mia

      Maybe you should parent your children and not worry about what we adults are watching. Why are your children up that late watching television? Maybe CPS needs to be called to ensure your children are living in a safe environment. Are you illiterate too? Did you not see the warning before the show began? You’re a moron.

    • Dave-O

      1950 called and they want their pretentiousness back…

    • bgl

      If you don’t want to watch don’t. If you let your kids watch a show called The Walking Dead you may want to get your head checked. Furthermore I don’t too much care for censorship. I am fully grown and capable of making decisions about what I will and won’t watch. Now, go trolling somewhere else.

    • darthwilson

      If you don’t like it don’t watch it!

    • Bob

      Actually, your kids were probably bitten by zombies and are now stumbling around the streets eating people.

    • Dylan

      You can’t forbid shows and movies like this from existing. Many people enjoy this kind of stuff, so you can simply get it taken off the air. It’s YOUR responsibility to not let you kids watch this is your so offended by it, not the network’s to remove it all together. And no matter what you think, AMC will not get rid of it any time soon, considering it brought them over 5 million viewers on the first episode. This show is great, and clearly the critics and fans agree. So how about putting your kids to bed at 10pm instead of letting them watch this, if you don’t like it.

    • Evil Melvin!!

      Luanne if you were to drop dead and come back to life…I’d volunteer to be the one to blow your head off, chop off your limbs and wear them in order to walk by a horde of zombies! Have a nice day Pumpkin!!

    • tigger851

      Go about your mommy duties and tell ur kids the show isn’t real and leave the rest of the ppl who wanna escape in wholesome tv like this, ALONE! do your job as a parent!

      • Krystal

        psh. Luanne It comes on at 10 oclock on a Sunday… Your kids have school in the morning correct? Why don’t you put your kids to bed instead of letting them watch shows that have warning labels that say INTENDED FOR MATURE AUDIENCES?

      • Ann

        Luanne has clearly got her tongue in her cheek…nice to see her get a rise out of so many readers.

    • Anne

      well you’re the jerk that allowed your children to watch ZOMBIES.

    • majamababe

      What are you talking about? Get serious. This is on at 10:00 pm. If your children are up watching, then you are not doing a good parenting job. This is on cable TV and has some liberties – it it was on Showtime or HBO, it would be even more graphic. It is a good show with a focus on how people might actually react to a situation like this. Get over yourself.

    • sherryrae40

      This show obviously isn’t for children.. its ridiculous to say the show should be cancelled so kids can’t watch it. Thats called parental responsibility to make sure your children are only watching age appropriate TV – not cancelling shows not appropriate for their viewing. There are quite a few of us who actually like/love this show – I hope it stays on for a long time!!!

    • Bobby

      Luanne, you are insane if you let your children watch this. Clearly you have no parenting skills if you let them see this. Dept. of Family and Human Services should be called, not your christian right psycho book club. You are what is wrong with America Luanne, and don’t blame a TV show because you are a horrible parent. Get a life.

    • Trillian

      Obvious troll is obvious.

    • erin martin

      Hahahahahaha…Luanne….you’re funny. If you spent HALF the time you spend on this effort, actually doing something worthwhile for people in need; the world would be a much better place.

    • erin martin

      Hahahaha…Luanne….you are funny. If you spent HALF the time you spend on this effort, actually doing something actually worthwhile for people in need; the world would be a much better place.

    • Greg

      Please tell me that Luanne’s comments are steeped in sarcasm. In order to continue having faith in humanity I am going to go ahead and hope that they are.

    • ignorent PARENT hater

      you an idiot, why would you let your kids watch a show that is about zombies and airs at 10:00 pm. are you stupid, your kids shouldnt even be up at that time. some parent. You know the caption that says parential guidence and discression before the show starts. well ya you should listen to that. Btw shows that air late are ment for adults. Get your head on right.

    • Seriously??

      Luanne – are you on crack? do you even have kids or are they a hullicination because you are off your meds. What is the Parents TV Council going to do about a TV show that comes on CABLE at 10PM, called Walking Dead, when you hung up the phone, the person probably laughed their butt of at you. If you are THAT stupid to think your six year old child should watch it, you should have your kids taken away… how on earth from the preview could you even think this was suitable for children?? and you are going to get your book club involved – seriously, how LAME is that – no one gives a flip what you and your imaginary friends in book club think. Do you live in a box? If you do, seal it and ship yourself to Siberia.

    • M&M

      LUANNE = FRAUDULENT POST… This d/psh/t is pulling everyone’s leg with that post.

      But WOW, what a great show.

    • Luanne Hater

      Luanne, the only way I’d be pleased is if you had your children taken away form you and you were put into therapy.

    • Khoa Nguyen


    • Debbie

      Be a good parent,and restrict what they watch in the first place ….DUH !

    • Honestrob

      Luann –
      The PTC has NO POWER to cancel a show.
      NONE. They are a figurehead organization that HAS NEVER influenced the production or renewal of a show.


      • hahaha

        Wow Luanne GREAT trolling right there.

    • Dilbo Biggins

      Luann is jerking your chain people. Its probably some first year college student with too much time on HIS hands. Lighten up people

    • momszoo1

      This show states viewer discression why were you letting your children watch it? this is for 16 and up…..

  • tabata

    no, not gratuitous at all, i mean, it’s so normal and sane show bloodbath, carnage, cannibalism, dismemered bodies, and then call it “plot”.

    • Karin

      No…the plot is the part where he’s looking for his wife and child who think he’s dead and are running with his old partner who for some reason left him for dead in the hospital. Duh.

    • Tom Strong

      You are an idiot.

    • Geronimo Jackson

      Would it still considered cannibalism if those who are eating humans are technically no longer human?

      • AT

        If they stick to the comics, actually cannabalism may come up…

      • Khoa Nguyen

        That would be like season 5 or 6 o.o

  • Chris

    Luanne doesn’t smell like a zombie, she smells like a TROLL.

    • kate

      i concur

  • Angie P

    LOVE this show!!! I stay up a little later than usual on Sunday night now just to watch it! Oh, and my 3 young kids don’t have a problem with the show. Why? Because I’m not stupid enough to let young kids watch a horror TV show.

  • Rustinnnnnn

    Can anyone explain why the first season is only six episodes? I thought only NBC did that (The Office, Parks & Recreation). It’s certainly not enough.

    • alan of montreal

      British TV shows tend only to have a 6-episode run–I think it’s better that way. The creators then can focus on quality and not quantity.

  • Kim

    I watched a few minutes of last week’s episode because I wanted to see what it was about, but it was too violent and gory for me. Just those few minutes caused me to have a nightmare. Oh well.

  • Kayde_Lyn

    Love the show, and there is a reason it airs after 9pm!

  • Alex

    I love this show but maybe 6 episodes is enough. Remember Heroes first season? It was brilliant then was forced and downhill from there. Can’t wait to watch the next epi tonite (downloaded on iTunes).

    • Greg

      That would be a concern, if there weren’t already a ton of fantastic storylines already written in comic book form. Without giving anything away, the best is yet to come.

  • laurie

    Love the show, but I hope they don’t stray TOO far from the comic with all these new characters. I’d rather watch kick-ass characters like Tyrese and Michonne than some new racist guy.

    • hahaha

      I’ve already half way come to the decision that this show is going to end up disappointing me big time. People say, “Oh they aren’t copying everything from the comic so it will be fresh for people who read it.” Seriously? I’ve read every issue of the comic, twice and I would rather have a straight adaption.

  • Justin

    Can’t stand the gore, don’t watch!

  • Evil Melvin!!

    To the meat donuts out there complaining about this show…isn’t there an episode of “Real Housewives Crap” you should be watching??? Leave REAL entertaining television to us and go back and watch your reality crap!!

  • Mr. Holloway

    Can’t believe I didn’t include Michael Rooker in the J.T. Walsh All-Stars (unsung actors who play menacing really well). Inexcusable.

  • Robert

    This show rocks! My ten year old son and I read the comic and we are stoked that they put on the show. So far the cast is really spot on, the creative team does include the original writer so do not look for this show to suck anytime soon. The human drama is teh story for sure!

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