In the ways that The Walking Dead comic and TV show have influenced pop culture, much of it has to do with re-legitimizing the decades-old zombie genre that hundreds of filmmakers and storytellers continue to cheapen by going for guts instead of glory. But you know one way in which all those terrible B-movies and lifeless novels are better than The Walking Dead? They didn’t give us one of the most credibly annoying children in popular fiction: Carl goddamned Grimes.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa wants to breed an entire army of Carls to brood pre-pubescently in their four-gallon hats by holding a zombie survival camp through the end of the month at the Ushers Ferry Historic Village. This admittedly fun-sounding event is taking kids ages 8-12 and giving them the skills they need to prepare emergency survival kits, to build shelters, and to find their way through the wilderness. So it’s like Boy Scouts without all the bigotry and merit badges. I wonder if they spike up the suspense factor by having a real-life murderer stand in for a zombie chasing them through the wilderness. Or maybe some killer bees at least.
The camp will culminate on the last day in a Humans vs. Zombies water gun war that should test most of the kids’ newly learned skills. The chances are high that almost any kid doing this is going to be less annoying than Carl, so maybe I’m just projecting my jealousy on the good Parks and Recreations Department of Cedar Rapids. Ron Swanson would be proud.