(This post contains spoilers of The Walking Dead Season 7)
By now, I’m sure everyone who keeps up with The Walking Dead knows what happened on the Season 7 premier. (If not, sorry, but it was spoiled for me because of social media, so there you go.) Last season, I stopped halfway through, not wanting anything worse to happen to my favorite characters. Knowing that they were safe for the time being, I let half of the season go by unwatched. It was relatively easy to keep away from spoilers, because I live in Korea and can’t unwittingly see commercials on TV for the show.
My mom was the one who actually got me into the show in the first place. The second season had already come out, and she loves horror movies, so she was hooked by the first episode. She knows I love zombies, so she pulled me into her room, sat me down, and brought up the first season on Netflix. I watched all four episodes in one go and couldn’t get enough.
I don’t know what it is about zombie movies, but they are so addicting. I guess The Walking Dead has raised my horror/gore tolerance, because before, I was too afraid to play Nancy Drew PC games alone (hey, those things have the creepiest music and dialogue, so don’t call me a wimp.)
But the show itself is not what I was binge watching. It was Glenn. The Walking Dead was the first TV show that I had ever seen that had an Asian male as one of the lead characters. He wasn’t stereotyped, he wasn’t shown as lesser or as a nerd. He helped Rick get out of a hoard of zombies during the beginning, and without Glenn, the show would have lacked a lot of character.
Then it happened. He met Maggie. A white country girl (like myself) who didn’t dismiss him as a non-attractive Asian guy. Too many times, I’ve been told that Asian guys are not attractive. That they are girly. I was constantly asked, “Why do you think they are attractive?” as if an entire race should be dismissed as lesser than when it comes to choosing a romantic partner.
Maggie looked at Glenn and chose him. They stuck by one another, comforted one another, and added much-needed representation to the small screen. They got married and eventually we found out Maggie was pregnant. Seeing the two of them onscreen every week was a game-changer. I was ecstatic.
Interracial relationships are not new, not by any standard. They have always been around. What was new about Glenn and Maggie was how they were represented on a beloved television show. Throughout the show, many couples come and go, but Maggie and Glenn were there through it all together.
I still get stared at when my husband and I go out in public. In Korea, people find it amazing and unusual. In Bali, people found it surprising. And my own family in America probably still think of our relationship as something that only happens once in a blue moon. But it happens all the time, and it was a wonderful confirmation to see my life reflected onscreen.
However, in the Season 7 premier, Glenn was killed, the fate of Maggie and her baby unknown. Many were heartbroken, others devastated enough to quit the show. I, myself, thought I would quit once Glenn was gone. After all, he was the reason I kept watching all those years ago. But I think I owe it to Maggie to keep going. I want to see what happens and how she pulls herself up after watching that.
Steven Yeun, the Korean-American actor who played Glenn, says his future is bright and he already has something new in the works. He’s made it possible for other Asian actors to take lead roles, and his impact has reached so many. I am sad to see him go. It’s hard saying goodbye to beloved characters, whether they exist in movies or books or TV shows.
I am so thankful to Glenn and Maggie and the writers of The Walking Dead (the comic and the show) for representing interracial relationships like mine.