'Walking Dead' Cliffhangers: The Fates Of Our Heroes - And The Future Of Microsoft's FanRomance Couple
The absence of “Walking Dead” is immediately palpable, at least to the millions of viewers who this fall made it the No. 1 series on all of television among adults 18-49. Expect the ultra-violence and the unrelenting gore that punctuates most episodes of “Walking” to seep into most of the drama pilots that broadcast and cable networks produce this year. (For an outstanding example of broadcast’s ramped up love affair with breathtakingly intense violence, don’t miss the conclusion tonight of the two-part story that began last week on NBC’s “The Blacklist,” about which there will be more to say later in the week.)
Also disappearing along with “Walking,” at least for now, are the occasional zombie-themed commercials that run during it and make the live viewing experience of this show even more fun. Last night’s telecast included a great one -- another one of those hybrid Windows 8-“Walking Dead” spots that chronicle the ongoing relationship of an attractive young couple that has been brought together by their mutual obsession with zombies in general and “The Walking Dead” in particular.
This is the same couple we met during a commercial in the 2012 season finale of “The Walking Dead.” In that spot, we learned they had apparently gotten to know each other online and were going to meet for the first time in person to watch an episode of “The Walking Dead.” (The last online message seen in the commercial -- sent from her to him -- read “Can’t wait to meet you,” which he briefly mistook for “Can’t wait to eat you.”)
The couple returned in a Windows 8-“Walking Dead” commercial during the 2013 fall premiere in which the guy was packing up to move to a new home and had a panic attack when a life-sized zombie cardboard standee that he mistook for a real walker fell on top of him. His delighted girlfriend (known in both commercials only by her screen name, ZombieBabe34) captured it all via video.
In last night’s episode, I mean commercial, the couple was seen preparing for a “Walking Dead” midseason-finale come-as-a-walker party. The young man was busily navigating those increasingly annoying tiles on Windows 8, many of which were “Walking Dead” or zombie focused. (The weather tile revealed the temperature in Atlanta, where “Walking” is filmed.) He was looking for “zombie party ideas,” but was also being guided toward “zombie food,” “zombie snacks,” “walker costumes” and the like.
One friend of his (with the screen name Zombie4Zombies) sent him a message (via Skype): “So … popping the question at the party tonight?”
His response was: “Yup – Glenn and Maggie style!”
A cut to the actual party followed, with guests made up in varying degrees of zombie rot. The guy dropped to one knee and extended a severed zombie hand with an engagement ring on it to his shocked girlfriend. There was a quick cut to a graphic image reminding viewers that “The Walking Dead” returns in February. Then it was back to the startled girlfriend, contemplating the ring with an uncertain look on her face. Next to her were the words, “Will She Say YES or NO? Vote now at amc.com/FanRomance.” At the bottom of the screen was the de riguer hashtag #fanromance.” A Microsoft graphic image followed.
That may not be as titanic a cliffhanger as the post-prison-attack scattering of our heroes in last night’s “Walking Dead” fall finale, or the fate of baby Judith (I think she’s on the bus), but it’s something thoughtful and different, which is more than can be said about most television commercials.
With this third spot it’s official: The Windows 8-“Walking Dead” fan romance couple are now the official Taster’s Choice couple of the new millennium. Microsoft ought to do more with them in the months ahead.