Caryl. Bethyl. Richonne. Dixonne. Whatever we’re supposed to call the Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) bromance besides hot. Somewhere along the way, The Walking Dead became The Shipping Dead. Is that OK? Are you on board with the passionate relationship pairings or do you facepalm when shipper fangasms take over Twitter after an episode of your favorite zombie apocalypse show?
TWD has never just been about killing walkers in cool new ways. It’s a show about human survivors, and feelings are always heightened in survival situations. It’s natural for relationships to form and for people to cling to love as the world is ending. Besides, most of the people on this show are smokin’ hot. Why the heck wouldn’t you want some action?
But the attractiveness of Daryl, in particular, paired with the fact that he has yet to “officially” be paired with anyone sometimes makes TWD feel like a four-year-long season of The Bachelor. Who will get his final rose: Beth, Carol or … Other? Listen, we’re as guilty as anyone of squeeing like fangirls when Daryl has a moment with Carol — and squeeing even louder when he shares a look with Rick, but sometimes the shipping thing can get out of hand, especially when fans fight with each other over fictional hookups. Some people insist Daryl belongs with Carol, others say they never had a connection beyond friendship. Some people think Daryl belongs with Beth, especially after Season 4, Episode 12, while others think that’s creepy because Beth is a teenager and Daryl is whatever Daryl is.
This is probably not what Robert Kirkman envisioned when he started the comic book series, and it has to drive some fans batty. Then again, so what? To each his or her own. There’s no wrong way to watch and enjoy a TV show. And there are worse things to happen to a series than to have such invested fans that they launch shipping wars.
So where do you stand? Are you a shipper? If so, what’s your ‘ship? If not, are you amused or irritated by all the fans who want their favorite characters to get together?
The Walking Dead Season 4 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.