You know what movie I thought was cool in high school? The Boondock Saints. You know what movie I realized was incredibly uncool as soon as I got out of high school? The Boondock Saints. Yes! You read that correctly! I changed my opinion on a movie! Maybe it was because I was more mature, maybe it was because my tastes had changed, or maybe it was because I watched the documentary Overnight that followed the making of The Boondock Saints. If you haven’t seen this movie, then do yourself a favor and see it as soon as possible. It shows writer/director of The Boondock Saints, Troy Duffy, being presented with countless opportunities to make his film incredibly successful, only to squander those opportunities with his arrogant douchebaggery. What does this have to do with Daryl Dixon, a popular character on The Walking Dead? Both things involve the actor Norman Reedus and both are examples of what happens when you try to force something to be cool.
Speaking of high school, do you guys know what I had back in high school? If you said “girlfriend”, you’d be wrong. If you said “life-size cardboard cutout of Boba Fett”, YOU’D BE RIGHT. Thirty years ago, a little movie came out called “The Empire Strikes Back”. Towards the end of the film, everyone’s favorite bad-ass swindler Han Solo is taken captive by some hardass in green armor and a jetpack. Who was this guy? It was Boba goddamned Fett. He’s really only a notable character in the last act of the movie, and even then, he barely says anything before the movie ends. He’s featured in the first act of Return of the Jedi, where he’s killed by getting accidentally knocked into the Great Pit of Carkoon, also known as “big fucking hole in the desert”. Before we ever got to learn about who this character was, why he looked so awesome and where he got that jetpack from, he was gone. Wanna know why that’s all we got of Boba Fett? It’s because we didn’t have the stupid fucking internet.
ALL HAIL THE COOLEST OF THE COOL
There are two things that I need to clarify before going any further. Any statements I make about the character of Daryl Dixon on The Walking Dead are based on seeing only the first three seasons as they were airing. I have yet to go back and re-watch any of it, so I could be missing out on details you only find with repeat viewings. Secondly, any issues I have with Daryl Dixon have nothing to do with Norman Reedus nor should they be taken as insults to his portrayal of the character. The guy was in Blade II! And, uhhhh, Mimic, apparently? Point is, despite talking shit on two different projects he’s involved in, I have nothing against the dude. Daryl Dixon first appeared in the third episode of The Walking Dead and is a character that doesn’t appear in the comics. He was a hunter, he was a survivalist, he was the brother of a racist, but most importantly, he kicked a lot of zombie ass. If there were zombies around and he popped up, you knew that he’d be getting rid of them in the most badass way possible. The best thing about the character is you didn’t know that much about him because most of his screen time was spent, well, being cool. Sadly, that’s when the internet started talking about how cool he was and when the network took notice.
Over the next two seasons, Daryl Dixon went from being a secondary character who would just randomly show up and do cool stuff to being a walking, talking cool dude algorithm. The mystery behind him was gone when the show delved more into his backstory with his brother, he was made much more benevolent in his search for a little girl, and was even given a love interest with THE OLD LADY. WHY WOULD HE WANT SEXUAL TENSION WITH AN OLD LADY WHEN HE HAS A CROSSBOW?! As a reaction to how much fans enjoyed the character, he got more screen time. The more screen time he got, the less mystery there was and the more “cool” stuff he did was arbitrarily increased. It’s like one of the show’s producers had a daughter with a Tumblr full of Daryl Dixon memes and, much like Kent Brockman’s daughter requesting he talk about Malibu Stacy, decides to put more cool things in the show for Daryl to do. I lost all hope for the character towards the end of season 3 when cool guy Daryl meets cool guy from a different survivor community and they have a “Cool Dude Zombie Kill-off”. THEY TAKE TURNS KILLING ZOMBIES IN COOL WAYS. GUYS, I GET IT, YOU’RE COOL. YOU HAVE A LEATHER VEST WITH WINGS ON THE BACK AND A GOATEE. YOU DON’T NEED TO DO THIS, HE’S ALREADY COOL!
Don’t take it personally, buddy!
It’s not that this is a new opinion I have on the character, as I’ve clearly had it since the last season ended. The reason I bring it up now is because I recently saw Thor: The Dark World and see the same path for the character of Loki. Again, nothing against the actor playing him, Tom Hiddleston, but he didn’t really seem to serve much purpose in the film. He had some witty quips, helped give Thor some more dialogue, and…shit, I don’t know, why else was he in the movie? Oh, right, because by putting him in the movie you have given his legion of fans a reason to see the movie. Hey, even if we don’t give a shit about Thor, we’ll get to see that character we liked in those other two movies doing things that we saw him do in the other two movies but in slightly different ways and kind of longer hair. I’m all for people liking whatever they want about a movie or show, but the problem is the creators of these shows and movies are insecure of their own product and are desperate for viewers to return, so they exploit the smallest things they can find to ensure their profit. Yes, I know, Jesse Pinkman wasn’t supposed to last as long as he did in Breaking Bad, but that wasn’t due to fan support so much as it was Aaron Paul showing how talented he was and how much he added to the show.
Nice hair, Loki
You might be thinking I’m just some sort of fun-hater, trying to dampen the spirits of people who like something that I don’t understand. Maybe you guys are thinking I’m just jealous of Daryl because of all the cat-loving women out there who have a crush on him and wear t-shirts with Daryl-isms on them. I suppose you wouldn’t be entirely incorrect, and are justified in your own opinion, but this is more of an attempt to chastise networks and filmmakers for giving fans exactly what they think they want and sacrificing interesting characters. Point is, Daryl Dixon will NEVER be as cool as Boba Fett because I also know that Boba Fett was revived and crawled out of the Great Pit of Carkoon in the expanded universe, but that shit was in books and there is NO way that books will ever be cool.