“Guys, guys, guys. GUYS. You gotta cool it. Just, chill.”
~AMC’s Marketing Department
If you’re an American with access to cable television (cough-or-know-a-good-streaming-site-cough) you’ve probably seen The Walking Dead, with your opinions ranging from “This is the best show to happen to American television” to “this show is a utter garbage” with your true feelings likely settling somewhere along the lines of, “I mean, it’s fine, everyone except for Daryl, Glenn, and Maggie kind of suck, but it’s cool to see zombies get smushed.”
But no matter your views on the show, it’s impact on American culture is hard to ignore. This is a show that, when it airs, outperforms Sunday Night Football among 18- to 49-year-olds. No matter how you slice it (puns!), when your show is more popular than primetime football (and that’s even before the whole, you know, “2014 was a bad year to be related to or romantically involved with a football player” messiness) that’s pretty impressive.
Which is why on one hand, we can understand why many people, companies, and businesses are falling over themselves to get a slice of that sweet, sweet Walking Dead publicity by creating tie-in promotions, or “Walking Dead influenced” products. And, also not surprisingly, trying to find a way to go viral by emulating a show that follows of a bunch of chronically depressed southerners as they run away from murderous shambles of rotting flesh can lead to some pretty bad ideas. And since the world is filled with the assholes who say, “Well, any press is good press” whenever they’re talking about a story of a Wal-Mart shoving their undocumented workers into a furnace to avoid a tax write-up (citation needed) no one has the sense to say, “No, guys. Stop it. This is a bad idea. A bad idea.”
Here are some bad ideas inspired by The Walking Dead
The Worst Products Inspired By The Walking Dead
When things get popular, we, as a country of proud entrepreneurs, of course find it necessary to capitalize on that popularity for our own, relatively undeserved, financial gain. This is why we have ebay, cheap knockoff shirts sold outside of stadiums, and celebrity sex tapes. But Walking Dead belongs to an interesting category within itself, since people trying to celebrate a show whose most compelling characters are rotted corpses tend to focus on, well, the rotting corpses when coming up with their products. So instead of “novelty Sherriff badges” or a “Merle Dixon inspired prosthetic hand” we end up with… well…
Dock Street Walker
We’ve talked about this beer before, but for those of you who haven’t read every single article ever posted on this site and stored the information away in your vast brain databanks, scanning each article for tidbits to replace the segments of your brain reserved for previously established, but now useless, memories such as “your parents’ birthdays” or “your first kiss” so that you can finally recite, on cue, Japanese Doritos flavors, we’ll indulge you in a refresher on this ghastly alcoholic product.
Yes, we know, “You just used the words ‘ghastly’ and ‘alcoholic’ in the same sentence, who are you and what have you done with the real writers of America Fun Fact of the Day.” But hear us out. Dock Street Walker, made by Philadelphia’s Dock Street Brewing Company, is a American Pale Stout brewed with roasted goat brains. Oh, and cranberries too, because fuck it, The Walking Dead is all about society’s collapse, so why shouldn’t we put cranberries in our goat brain beer?
We try to avoid asking people who eagerly consume brains because of some TV show things like, “Why would you do this?” lest we end up tied up to a furnace pipe by the neck with a bike lock, but one question that haunts us (ha, puns!) (oh wait, wrong horror trope) is how did they settle on goat brains? Did they sample a whole plethora of brains before deciding that roasted goat brains gives them that special kick they’re looking for? Or did they just happen to have a shitload of dead goats on their hands? And which one of those two possibilities is the most terrifying?
This is the part of the party where the person we’re talking to says, “the goat brains work well in concert with the grains” and we slowly back away, making excuses that we think we might have left, uh, oh right, the bean dip, the bean dip is in the car, just fucking run Janice oh God start the car if I’m not there in twenty seconds he’s got me, drive off and don’t be burdened by my memory, you deserve to find love after I’ve gone, oh God no!
Ahem. So onto the next one.
Do you remember that scene in the first season of The Walking Dead where they slather walker guts all over them so they can safely traverse through a sea of zombies, who rely on their sense of smell primarily to distinguish between the living and dead? You know, this was that thing that they tried once, found to be an effective way to avoid detection by zombies, and then promptly never did ever again, relying on such fool-proof tactics as “chaining yourself to the de-jawed zombie versions of your boyfriend and friend” instead? Well, Nebraska chemist Raychelle Brooks totally remembered that, and decided to make a perfume that smells like dead people to honor the show in one of the more gross ways possible.
We could go into the process and techniques employed to create the very specific individual odors that combine to match that of a rotting corpse, but you just read that sentence and started shouting, “No, seriously, I’m good, I said I’m good” at your computer screen in a clear lack of understanding of how the internet works. Just know this. The Walking Dead inspired someone to make a perfume that makes you smell like a decomposing version of yourself, and if you’re not just a little terrified by that, you might not have a good understanding of how fear works.
Walking Dead Vanity License Plate
We’re going to do you a favor and move away from products that offend your senses of taste or smell. This one isn’t even particularly offensive to look at—it’s just a stylized version of one of the opening scenes in the Pilot episode of the show. We’d even go as far as to say that it’s a pretty cool picture—if you were a teenager with a little bit of a Goth streak to you, this would make for a bitching poster for your room, sorry, we meant to say for your den of ineptitude.
That said, of all the places to put this image, a license plate that can legally be used on your car in 28 states seems to be one of the worst ideas. But sure enough, for a mere fifteen dollars, you can grab this, and if you live in one of the states where the law doesn’t require front and back license plates (congrats, California!) your license plate can be printed on a slab of aluminum that’s filled with the clawing hands of the undead who seem to have an impossibly hard time breaking through a non-barricaded door with no locks. Why settle for people posting pictures of your “Bra1n5y” vanity number on standard license plates on Instagram with bitingly sarcastic captions when people can also point out that you bought a fucking license plate to show how big of a Walking Dead fan you are? It doesn’t matter that there’s no particular stigma for fans of this show in particular, any time your license plate is a picture of something from pop culture, everyone else you run into is going to make fun of you for it. You could have a license plate image of John F. Kennedy mid coitus with Marilyn Monroe, and people would still scoff and say, “Pfft, who’s the loser that went out of his way to buy a custom license plate of JFK and Monroe banging?” And that’s for the coolest license plate we can think of off the top of our head. You’re straight up doomed if you decide to go rolling with this as your plate.
Walking Dead Special Edition DVD Set
Sigh. This is official merchandise. You have to pay extra to get your DVD to come with a mockup of a human head with a screwdriver lodged into its eye.
Walking Dead-Inspired Bed Sheets And Pillow Cases
We might be in the minority here, but we love sleep. It’s peaceful, you get to relax and recharge, and our wives love it because we finally stop drinking when we pass out(excluding our staff members who trained themselves to sleepwalk-drink). However, for everything we love about sleeping, there are some things about it that are just a real pain in the ass. Like, don’t you hate it when you get up at three in the morning, and all of a sudden you can’t go back to sleep for the life of you? Or how about when your partner just tosses and turns the whole night? And don’t get us started on those times where dozens of undead arms spend the whole night clawing at your sheets, and you look down to see that your pillow case has been filled with blood and brain splatter.
Don’t you just hate that?
Etsy seller Melissa Christie Textile Designer figured that the market that wants to feel like they’re moments away from being undead corpses the moment they close their eyes at night was not being represented appropriately, so she made this set of two pillow cases and a duvet cover. So that’s a thing, now. That’s a thing. Who would actually buy this? This is not a mug that turns from a normal person to a zombie when you add hot water to it, this is a novelty product for an essential piece of furniture that you spend about 1/3 of your life on. Who wants to buy sheets, that they sleep on, that they hope to someday have sex on, that is covered in zombie hands and fake blood splatter and you know what, as soon as we asked that question, we realized that Rule 34 is in effect, so we don’t want to know. Nope, we’re good, we’re just, okay, we’re moving on before we find out about a subset of culture we don’t want to know about.
The Walking Dead-Inspired Hamburger That Tastes Like Human Flesh Oh God We’re So Sorry
It’s okay, stay strong, we’re going to get through this together. Yes, this is real. No, thank God, this wasn’t an American’s idea. FOX teamed up with people, who we’re just better off not giving you the names of because it borders on “defamation through the truth” by listing them here, to try their best to make a burger that tastes like human flesh, without being made out of human flesh. “But, AFFotD,” you shout from the garbage pail you’ve been retching into between haunted sobs, “How would they know what human flesh tastes like, oh God, oh no, it’s coming again, there’s hguuughhhhh…”
Well to answer your question, and we’re so sorry we have to do this, they took numerous documented descriptions of the taste of human flesh from real-life cannibals and then sort of…fudged something together based on what they’ve read. They made an infograph for you listing a handful of the quotes along with fun facts about cannibalism which you’re going to click out of curiosity despite every synapse in your brain screaming at you to stop, please stop, we’ll release some nice melatonin and endorphins if you promise not to add this information to our oh you son of a bitch you did it, just for this we’re going to conjure the image of Betty White naked for you the next time you try to achieve an erection you asshole.
“What does human meat taste like!?” the one of you who we don’t want reading this site asks. Honestly, the descriptions are pretty all over the place, which is to be expected when you cull the insane ramblings of murderers who like to eat people. It’s been compared to veal, pork, chicken, tuna tartar, beef, steak fillet, and being able to spot the exact moment when you feel your eternal soul flee your body through your nostrils.
The burger in question, which was given out to East London residents on September 30th for free at a pop-up restaurant called Terminus Tavern, was made with minced pork, minced veal, bone marrow, and “pockets of fatness,” which, you know, we’d say sounds gross, but this is a burger that’s intended to taste like people.
This…this is rough. We’re going to have a hard time looking at a burger for a little bit now because of this. Looks like we’ll have to stick with steaks, or burgers made from cows we personally select, slaughter, and mince the meat of ourselves. Which actually is how we typically make our burgers. So, actually, nothing’s going to change. But seriously, Walking Dead, cool your shit. We don’t want you accidentally creating any, ugh, vegetarians.