'The Walking Dead': Writer Robert Kirkman talks about the latest episode, 'Cherokee Rose'
The latest episode of The Walking Dead was probably the most romantic to date. Then again, it is no insult to AMC’s zombie show to suggest the competition is not tough in that department.
Regardless, “Cherokee Rose” found Glenn (Stephen Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) consummating their relationship in a ransacked pharmacy (hey, zombie apocalypse survivors can’t be choosers). Elsewhere, Daryl (Norman Reedus) temporarily took a break from his undead-thwocking duties to cheer up Carol (Melissa Suzanne McBride) with a monologue about the flower which gave the episode its title; Lori (SarahWayne Callies) discovered she was pregnant; and we all found out soggy zombies don’t regard canned ham as an acceptable substitute for uncanned brains.
Below, Walking Dead writer and executive producer Robert Kirkman — who also pens the Walking Dead comic — ruminates on the show’s sex scene (or absence of one), the gentler side of Daryl Dixon, and why yours truly is apparently a “hack” writer.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s talk about the sex scene — or rather, the lack of a sex scene. It’s interesting that the makers of a zombie show which features people wearing undead innards get a bit squeamish when it comes to people making sweet beautiful love.
ROBERT KIRKMAN: That’s more of a comment on America as a whole and television’s standards and practices than it is on us. It is kind of absurd that in an episode where you see the inside of a bloated, water-logged corpse, you can’t see so much as a butt cheek. That’s the world we’re living in. But I think it’s important to view the relationship between Maggie and Glenn in a certain light. I don’t think we wanted to turn that into some kind of steamy, pornographic sex romp.
So there won’t be an X-rated, wakka-wakka guitar-accompanied hardcore bonus scene on the season 2 DVD?
If you would like to see video of Stephen Yeun in various states of undress, email after this interview and I’ll hook you up.
Oh, I will. Speaking of the well-zombie sequence, if I had been writing that scene, I would have had someone say, “It puts the lotion in the basket!”
[Laughs] Did it appear like our homage to Silence of the Lambs?
Not at all. I’m saying I would have made it an homage to Silence of the Lambs.
[Laughs] Well, maybe we’re not hack writers like some people.
Touché! The big reveal at the end of the show was Lori’s pregnancy. Can you confirm, chronology-wise, that the father could be either Shane or Rick?
The way the time line works, that is definitely, technically the case.
Daryl showed us his tender side with the monologue about the Cherokee Rose. How did that come up in the writer’s room?
I think that actually came from the writing in the episode by Evan Reilly. I was actually on set during the filming of that. Almost every actor in the cast showed up, because they absolutely loved that scene and they wanted to see Melissa and Norman’s portrayal of it as it unfolded.
Were you aware there is a website called Dixon’s Vixens where female fans can express their devotion to Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker?
Yes, I am aware of that fan club. And Norman explained to me that there is also a fan club called Boondock Betties that are a group of women who are fans of the male leads from Boondock Saints. It’s fun that Norman has factions of women that adore him. I think that is hilarious. And I have to say at the same time, completely justified.
We talked Rick’s leadership skills last time. There was a point this episode when Hershel said the group might be able to stay if they obeyed his rules and Rick basically went, “Sure.” I would be asking what those rules were!
[Laughs] Well, I will point out a few things: I think he’s still running low on blood, so there’s that. This man did just save his son’s life, theoretically. And also they outnumber the people on the farm to a certain extent, so I think he could appease that guy for a little bit. I don’t think that’s a misstep as far as his leadership goes.
It was recently announced that the Walking Dead will definitely be back for a third season. When you got that news did you immediately start planning the next run of shows?
Well, despite just having gotten the final word on season 3, you don’t do a show like this without being mindful of what you’re building towards. At least once a week in the writer’s room we spend an hour or two just talking about all the different things that we’re planning on doing in a proposed third season and how we’re going to pay off on various different things that have happened in season 1 and season 2.
That really doesn’t sound like a “job” at all.
[Laughs] Well, you know, I’ve had day jobs before. I worked scrappy jobs for quite a while before my writing actually took off. But I would agree. To consider this “working” is somewhat absurd. It’s sitting in a chair and talking about nonsense with people you enjoy being around. And that’s kind of what 99 percent of the population does to unwind after a job. As a writer, I always try to be aware of how good I have it. That said, I had a cup of coffee that was really bad this morning and I really complained about it for quite a while.
Was somebody fired?
Nobody was fired. But a couple of people got slapped.