Violence in Television: Too Much or Not Enough?

Recent episodes of "The Walking Dead" and "American Horror Story" that contained large bouts of violence are evaluated.

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It has been a brutal week in terms of television.

The Walking Dead: Two major characters met their fate, and it was gruesome to say the least. The new antagonist of The Walking Dead, Negan, beat two characters heads in with a barbed wire wrapped bat he calls “Lucille.” It was sad and disturbing, but necessary for the show.

American Horror Story: Roanoke also featured a rather horrifying scene. A character witnessed her former husband cheating with a witch and beat his head in with a crowbar.

Both of these episodes left people with mixed reactions. For the most part, viewers have been sad with the outcome of the episodes but curious for how the shows will progress. There are, however, a good amount of people that were completely offended by these scenes and have informed the internet that they are “done with this show” and that they believe these shows have “crossed the line” and it’s outrageous that these shows would “display this for children to see” (all these are  comments under a Walking Dead post on Facebook).

People should be allowed to have their own opinions; however, I believe this mindset is over the top. Shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story are supposed to be scary shows, they are not intended for children. Before each episode there is a warning on the screen that informs viewers of the upcoming violence, inappropriate language, and adult content that is to follow. If you are uncomfortable watching shows that include these things and get offended every time something particularly gross, or violent happens, then why bother watching at all?

The Walking Dead is a show entirely based on the zombie apocalypse. The very first episode of the series featured a herd of zombies tearing the guts out of a horse, characters have had limbs cut off, there was a group of cannibals, a character has bitten off a chunk of another characters neck! This past weeks episode is certainly not the first time something violent and gruesome has happened on the show, so why get offended and quit now?

All the outraged reactions on the internet seem very melodramatic. If you are so offended, just stop watching the show. Don’t make angry Facebook posts about it. Don’t judge people for continuing to love the shows despite the horrifying scenes. And don’t complain if there is a warning before the show.

This is not the first time shows have gotten backlash for being “too violent” before. Shows like Game of Thrones, Criminal Minds, Sons of Anarchy, and Dexter got and continue to get backlash all the time. I personally think it is ridiculous that TV shows get so much backlash for violence, especially when it is essential to the show. Most of these programs have interesting and compelling story lines, and it is unfair that they don’t always get the credit they deserve simply because some viewers are offended by a minor part of the show.

That being said, I implore everyone to check out these shows and give them a chance. Don’t focus on the violence of the show, but follow the story line. You might find that you have a new obsession to binge-watch.