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Monday, October 22, 2012

In Defense Of Lori

There’s a blog post I’ve been putting off for a while now that I just can’t anymore. I kept putting it off because honestly, it’s silly, but I feel it’s my duty at this point to finally avoid it no longer. I MUST do it. I must defend Lori Grimes.

What’s that you say? It’s stupid because she’s a fictional character in The Walking Dead? You’re right, of course it’s stupid that I feel the need to do this. But then again, most things I feel the need to share my thoughts about are stupid. 

Before you read on, I must warn you, there will be spoilers for all seasons of The Walking Dead incoming. So if you don’t want to be…you know…spoiled, move along.  

First of all, some background. Lori Grimes is the wife of Rick Grimes and mother of Carl Grimes. She is, according to The Walking Dead website, “the emotional center of the group.” Not a fighter by any means and much more focused on keeping the home base together whenever Rick and the other action folk are away doing action-y stuff.
Also, let me just say, the oddest thing about this whole topic is, I’m pretty indifferent about her as a character. I don’t hate her obviously, but it’s not like I defend her out of love of the character. It’s just gotten so ridiculous that I feel it’s necessary.

Now, ever since the show has been on, from as far back as when I wasn’t watching it and only seeing others discuss it on message boards, the internet has not looked kindly on Lori. Around the time of season 1, I was really only seeing internet memes and jokes about her being a terrible mother, alluding to the fact that she never seemed to know where Carl was. So, I’d just kind of chuckled and moved on. I wasn’t watching it. What do I care. 

I didn't realize she was Carl, Shane or Sophia

Around the time season 2 had ended, I was seeing more of a smattering and an increasing nastiness in this, for all intents and purposes, hate speech.
“I hate Lori” became much more common to see in discussions of the show.

Before this current season, I started catching up. I cut my way through seasons 1 & 2 very quickly as I’m prone to do with shows I’ve fallen behind on. As I got further into the series, and the closer we got to season 3 starting, the discussions picked up again. This time, I understood the context, but the vitriol I was seeing against this character was bewildering. And it wasn’t just it one place, it was all over the internet and even popped up on my Facebook newsfeed.
“She’s the worst.” “I hate her stupid face” “Lori’s a dumb b****” “I hope they kill her off soon” “She’s a terrible mother, wife and excuse for a woman.”
That’s right. All of those are things I’ve actually read about this fictional character at one time or another.

Now, let me get a little more in depth for you so you understand the context. I’m going to list out some actions/situations that she’s been involved in thus far that are referenced regularly as “reasons Lori is a terrible person.”

-Lori was in a sexual relationship with Shane while Rick was in a coma: What we know for a fact is that both Shane and Lori believed Rick to be dead. Shane believed the power was lost to Rick’s…er…life support stuff at the hospital. He told Lori Rick was dead. I doubt this was malicious or some devious plot. He thought he was dead.
So as of the first episode, it’s evident that Lori and Shane had been “together” for a little while at least.
Now some say they believe there was an affair going on before Rick’s coma. I have no reason to believe that.
Some say she may have “gotten with” Shane as a means of survival for her and Carl. I don’t really understand that one. Shane didn’t seem to need a relationship with Lori to want to protect them.
My opinion, obviously the Grime’s marriage wasn’t exactly stable. The conversation between Rick and Shane in the first episode was evidence of that. We can’t really say how long it’d take someone to move on after finding out their spouse had died. She may have made her peace with it while he was in the coma. We just can’t know. We CAN know she moved on with Shane.
Most fans see this as “slutty” or cheating. “Slutty” would be her sleeping with all the guys in the group. Cheating would be her sleeping with Shane while believing Rick was alive.
She tried to keep this relationship a secret when Rick got back at first. This probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but when IS the right time to reveal this info to your back-from-the-“dead” husband during a zombie apocalypse? How would you have handled that?
She’s still a human, with emotions and fears. Just because it’s a TV show about zombies doesn’t mean she can be a cold, purely logical machine to take actions you THINK she should take.
She was with Shane. Rick came back. She immediately put a stop to it and eventually revealed it. I think that’s pretty important. Is it a sad thing? Sure. Is it worth vicious hate? Not at all IMO.

-Lori is a terrible mother: Regularly throughout seasons 1 & 2, Carl, a boy of about 13, would sneak off on his own. This led Lori to have to ask “Where’s Carl?” Apparently, according to internet logic, this equals “terrible mother”.
From what I understand, the idea here is that “Lori doesn’t do much except laundry” so watching Carl’s every move should be 24/7. If he sneaks off, it’s clearly her fault. I mean, when rebellious teens sneak out and cause trouble, taggin’ up overpasses and staying out past curfew, it’s their parents fault for not watching them like some kind of robot security Hawk(patent pending)
Not Lori Grimes.
While I give the “haters”(I cringed just typing that word) a bit of leeway on the alleged “cheating scandal” as they may have had experience in real life with it so they’re projecting onto TV characters, I don’t give this reason any validity at all. First of all, it’s a zombie apocalypse with constant moving, hiding and surviving. Applying the rules of our everyday life to this roving lifestyle doesn’t work. She can’t be “vigilant mother” like she would be pre-zombie. And you’ll notice Rick gets a free pass as father since he’s “out doing stuff for the group”. “Hey Rick, remember how you’re also a father? Well good news! You don’t have to be anymore!” Yes I “get it”. I understand the point. I’m just making light of this stupid argument.
Let’s not forget Carl is about 13. He’s not some unaware 6 year old. He should know better than to steal people’s guns, sneak far away from camp and throw rocks at “walkers” for sport. His actions got Dale killed…and guess what? People blame Lori for that for not watching Carl.
Remember up there where I said “First of all”? Well here’s “second of all.” Second of all, the show runners, in an interview, discussed their confusion over the “Lori is a bad mother” stuff. They said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “What are we supposed to do, just lock him away? He wouldn’t have any stories then.”
So we have Lori here to take the blame for Carl getting screen time. She’s not the mother we deserve, but the one we need…something something however that quote goes.
Do I give this argument any credence? I should think it’s obvious that I don’t.

Lori made Rick kill Shane/Her reaction to hearing that he did it: In season 2, Dale became very suspicious of Shane and theorized that he had killed Otis to slow the zombies down. Which is of course exactly what happened. It was clear that Shane was becoming more unhinged, between his severed relationship with Lori, Rick taking over as leader, and his cold methods being looked down on. It probably wasn’t exactly a stretch to anyone except maybe Andrea, Carl, and Rick that Shane was capable of sacrificing Otis. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they ALL saw him as a bastion of morality still. But the point is, Dale told Lori to be careful around Shane and what he believed happened with Otis. I don’t doubt that Lori didn’t know what Shane was capable of. I mean, the guy forced himself onto her at the CDC!(And people still loved Shane by the way. Attempted rapist apparently better than Lori) So in turn, Lori warned Rick to be careful and protect what’s his. At no point did she ever say “Kill Shane” or even hint that he should. She WARNED him. Not only that, Rick HAD to kill Shane anyway. Regardless of whether Lori said anything because Shane was planning to kill him. Why people think she told Rick to kill him, I haven’t the slightest.
The second part came when Rick told Lori what happened. After hearing the news that he and Carl had to put down Shane, she pulled away in what looked like resentment I suppose. So of course people say not only did she make Rick(an adult and a former sheriff’s deputy) kill Shane, but that she then got mad at him for it.
I don’t buy that it was that simplistic. Again, she’s a human with emotions. She at one time had feelings for Shane. Shane was also a father figure to Carl while Rick was gone, and seemed to spend more time with him I might add. So first she’s hit with the news that Shane was dead, but also that her 13 year old boy had to put down zombie Shane. What people wanted was for her to be a rock and a shoulder of support for Rick. But honestly, I don’t know how emotionally realistic that is. Everyone takes bad news differently. I think she went through multiple emotions. I’m sorry that she didn’t immediately spring into action as super supportive wife. I’m sorry that she’s not one-dimensional.
And of course if you’d let it play out, you’d see in this current season, Lori is very regretful of how she handled the situation, you know, like a real person might be.
So, you know I understand why people my not like what she did there, but is it worth the hate? I don’t think so.

Lori’s lecture to Andrea about chipping in/suicide conversation:
In season 2, Andrea was being taught to shoot by Shane somewhat secretly. I say somewhat because while it wasn’t a secret per se, it was just not common knowledge. She eventually finds out she’s a fantastic shot, so she begins keeping watch on top of the RV and in her seeming trigger happiness, once mistook Daryl for a walker and shot at him grazing his head.
Also around this time, Beth, Herschel’s daughter, was talking about “opting out” or killing herself to avoid becoming a zombie. This is something Andrea had discussed in season 1 and Dale talked her out of it.
I say all that as just background and setup.
Both in the same episode, Lori confronts Andrea about helping out more with the laundry and cooking and spending less time “working on her tan on top of the RV”. Honestly…I’ve HONESTLY heard people reference this conversation as Lori believing women should be in the kitchen “cookin’ and cleanin’” while the menfolk go out. I’d thought I’d heard it all on this topic until I heard this ridiculousness. I would say it’s not worth countering, but there are people who actually think buy into this argument so I must. But really, there’s not much to say except at no point is it ever hinted at or alluded to that Lori believes that. Never.  All I got out of that conversation was that Lori didn’t seem to think Andrea was pulling her weight. A.) Lori didn’t know Andrea could kind of shoot. B.) She didn’t tell her to stop taking her turn at watch.
They say “Who’s Lori to talk? She doesn’t seem to do anything.”  You know, accept most of the laundry, cooking, keeping everyone emotionally stable and BEING more emotionally stable than others in the group, and keeping the group in line under Rick in season 1. For someone who doesn’t do anything, everyone sure comes to her a lot.
 The second part, the suicide conversation, happened around the same time. As mentioned, Beth was under suicide watch…kind of. Andrea believed she should have the right to die as she sees fit. Lori wanted to prevent her from killing herself.
 It seems people had a problem with Lori intervening. I don’t really want to get TOO into it because people have different views on suicide. But in the context of the show, no one seemed to hate Dale for stopping Andrea’s suicide. If he hadn’t, there’d be no Andrea. Honestly, I just think this is a combination of their hate of Lori so they disagree with whatever she says, and an indifference to Beth. If it was a fan favorite character in either position, I bet you they wouldn’t hate them for doing the same thing Lori did. It’s contradiction at it’s finest.
 I’m not going to get deep into suicide though. I mean, my own personal views are probably what put me on Lori’s side on this one, but other than saying that, I won’t go into it.

Lori drove off to find Rick by herself and crashed the car: I don’t really have much to say here. It was a stupid decision on her part and it just seemed like a plot device anyway. She never went off by herself any other time Rick was gone, so why start then?
So this one I can consider legitimate. Stupid decision? Of course. Any stupider than anyone else’s? Nope, and definitely not worth putting her into a “hate category”(patent pending) above anyone else. Don’t forget, stupid Carl and psycho/near-rapist Shane still existed at this point and people hated them less…..

Look out everyone, Lori's being obnoxious again!

Lori is obnoxious: Um….what?! No…just no. 

Lori hid her pregnancy: Like her former relationship with Shane, Lori found out she was pregnant and hid it from Rick . I get this one in a way. That’s a big thing to hide. But I understand the fear. She didn’t know whose baby it was. She didn’t want to bring a baby into that world. A pregnant woman trying to survive the zombie outbreak? What would her chances be, really? Are those valid reasons to hide it? Not really.
She had Glenn bring her some “kill the baby” pills and struggled internally over whether to take them. She eventually threw them up. Rick saw the package and ran to stop her. That’s when he found out.
I won’t go much more into that. You either accept that as a reason to hate her or you don’t. 
Though some people say she fed Shane's obsession by telling him she wasn't sure whose baby it was and complimenting him. I wouldn't quite go that far unless you're looking for reasons to hate her and I think people do. Given...it was probably stupid of her to even open communication with Shane after the rape attempt. Not telling anyone is one thing to keep chaos from breaking out, but to keep talking to him only makes him think he didn't do anything wrong. But it's okay because he's dead now.

This one's just because...well...look at her.

So those are the basic arguments I hear on the internet but stated in a much more angry way for some reason. Some are utterly ridiculous. Some are somewhat legitimate reasons to either dislike her at the time or think it was a stupid move. But honestly, none of them, to me, are valid reasons for the insanely vicious hate she gets and I don’t think I’ll ever quite be able to get to that point these angry people are at. I mean, good Lord, I actually read a comment in which someone said they believed that she doesn’t deserve forgiveness for anything she’s done. Like…at all. That’s just bizarre to me. I don’t like NOT understanding certain things which is why I think this gets under my skin so much. I like to see validity or at least a reasonable argument for an opinion. Saying “She’s dumb and I hate her” doesn’t work for me. Giving a mixed bag makes me go insane and blog about it. Saying “Bieber sucks” makes me ask “Why do you think that?” It can’t be his singing because he can sing.

Look internet, I’m not saying you HAVE to like Lori Grimes, or that you can’t dislike her. Just give me reasonable answers when I ask. Don’t carry your love for Shane and bitterness that his head got shot up right good and stomach region got stabbed around and take out your anger on Lori.

Just…let it go….take a deep breath…and let it all go…..
Once you clear your head of all meme influences and the bias of a one-time, overblown event in the grand scheme of this fictional character’s life in a zombie apocalypse, you’ll see things my way.

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