Nobody is particularly giddy in the zombie apocalypse. Well, I suppose Negan has a pretty sweet thing going for himself and takes a perverse thrill out of scaring the living bejesus out of everyone, but the point is, most folks are relatively miserable on The Walking Dead, and with good reason.
However, there is one man that takes pure grumpiness to a new level, and that man’s name is Gavin, who is the living, breathing personification of perpetually annoyed. Whether he’s annoyed at Ezekiel, annoyed at Richard, annoyed at long-haired Savior Jared, or annoyed at the inaccurate amount of cantaloupes being delivered as an offering, Gavin always seems to have the look of a guy who has “gotten too old for this $#!*!”
It is not an accident that Gavin happens to have the look of a constantly disappointed parent because that is exactly the instruction showrunner Scott M. Gimple gave the actor playing him, Jayson Warner Smith. “This character could’ve been a man, it could’ve been a woman we cast — it was completely open casting,” says Gimple. “But when I was working on the character, the vibe that I was going for was this grumpy parent — you know, this parent who has just had it. Not like they don’t love their kids or whatever, but they’re just over everything. And to Jason Warner Smith, I was like, ‘Just be a grumpy dad. You did not sign on for this. You just want to make it to grandma’s house. You will turn that car around and just everybody cool out!’”
The interesting thing about Gavin is that he does appear to have a semblance of a conscience. He doesn’t seem to particularly like the people he works with and also feels bad when bad things happen, as they did to Benjamin in the last episode. But, then again, rules have to be followed, and it’s his job to enforce them. He’s kind of like the foreman who doesn’t feel great for making the factory workers pull a double, but he’s got a quota to meet, so tough noogies for them.
“Yes, he’s got his own problems!” laughs Gimple. “There’s a line that he has that’s “I didn’t go this way for aggravation.” He didn’t do the things that he does to be put through any more trouble than he has to, and that indicates that he is fully aware of the team he’d signed on for. He is not especially proud of it, so if everybody could just do their part to make it as easy as possible, everything will be all right.”
Gimple’s parent analogy made me wonder if Gavin could possibly be related to Jared, the long-haired Savior rabble-rouser always causing trouble and baiting the folks from the Kingdom, since their relationship often feels like an annoyed parent dealing with his no-good teenage son, but it turns out such connection does not exist. “They’re not related,” says Gimple. “That’s just the power of Jason’s acting.”
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