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Top 10 The Walking Dead Cliches

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Andrew Tejada When did the undead become so predictable? Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 “The Walking Dead” cliches. For this list, we’re looking at the situations and plot points that rise up in the show more than the walkers do. Since we’re talking about events from seasons one through seven, beware of the horde of spoilers coming your way. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.

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When did the undead become so predictable? Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 “The Walking Dead” cliches.

For this list, we’re looking at the situations and plot points that rise up in the show more than the walkers do. Since we’re talking about events from seasons one through seven, beware of the horde of spoilers coming your way.

#10: The New Guy Hates Rick’s Group

Not everyone is happy to see Rick and his crew stroll into town. Every time the group visits a new place, there’s at least one person who’s unhappy they’ve arrived and makes no effort to hide their anger. Sometimes the bitter person comes to respect Rick’s group after they work together. Other times, the friction is so bad that we get yelling matches, all out-brawls, or in the worst case scenario, murder. No matter where the crews’ travels take them, you can always count that when they meet someone new, a conflict is about to begin.

#9: Life-Saving Deus Ex Machina

Our favorite character is cornered, walkers on every side, no way out . . . .so they’ll be fine in about five seconds. Just when a survivor is about to meet their gruesome end, a deus ex machina swoops in to save them. It doesn’t matter if no one else was around a moment ago or how close someone was to literally biting it, because salvation is always nearby. Usually it’s Rick or Daryl that rush in as the big heroes, but sometimes a well-placed inanimate object can do the trick (cough, Glenn’s dumpster.) Either way, don’t count anyone out until their death is confirmed.

#8: Rookie Mistakes From Experienced Survivors

They should really know better by now. The group has picked up a few ground rules for survival at this point, like being aware of your surroundings and not going off on your own. Yet, time and time again, we see walkers get the drop on seasoned veterans or a solo mission going horribly wrong. Carl is a big source of this cliche, as his renegade adventures keep getting him into trouble, and result in dire consequences for the other survivors. We know that everyone has their off-days, but the fact that non-Carl group members constantly make simple and costly mistakes is hard to swallow.

#7: Serious Trust Issues

Rick’s crew is full of great walker killers. . . and terrible judges of character. In the past, members of the group have placed their trust in a psychopathic governor, random wanderers and an entire town of cannibals, only to realize their error far too late. And when an actually decent and helpful person appears in front of the group, they are often attacked or sent packing. To their credit, they developed a three-question system to determine if someone is trustworthy. But seeing as that test has also failed in the past, maybe Rick should start scavenging for a lie detector?

#6: A Significant Other Dies

If a character falls for or starts hooking up with someone . . . well, at least they’ll have someone to write their obituary. Finding love is still a beautiful possibility in the walker-infested world. Making that love official is pretty much a death sentence. Only a handful of relationships have managed to make it longer than a season, and even then, their life expectancy isn’t that high. Although series regulars like Rosita and Rick have managed to survive seeing their lovers torn away from them multiple times, that same luck has not applied to everyone. So let’s hope Daryl and Carol stay in the friendzone.

#5: Newly Introduced or Developed Character Dies

Cool, Noah’s talking about being an architect. . . oh no, wait, stop talking! In “The Walking Dead,” minor characters can become staples of the main cast over time. However, if we start learning about their backstory, hopes and dreams in one long monologue or spotlight episode, then they’ll be dead before the credits roll. In addition, if a background character starts speaking after episodes of saying nothing, their first words will quickly be followed by their last ones. This is most likely done to make their deaths more meaningful, but it definitely keeps fans from getting too attached to the new guy.

#4: A Community is Destroyed

Seeing a show stay in the same setting can get stale after a while (just ask fans about season 2’s farm). When it’s time to shake things up, someone’s town gets totaled. The destruction usually starts with an explosion, followed by a fire and concludes with hordes of the undead shambling in to claim what’s left. Watching the group wreck a community or get evicted in the worst way possible is such a frequent occurrence that it’s honestly shocking to see them stay in Alexandria for as long as they have. Eh, it’ll probably blow up next season.

#3: The Group is Separated

Oh, they’re splitting up. Again. There are constant forces at work that seem to drive the group apart. But you would think that after this had happened a few times, Rick would’ve found a safe supermarket or bar that everyone could fall back to. Granted, sometimes it’s out of the group’s control, like when the the Governor’s final attack left the crew scattered for half a season. As feel-good as the group’s reunion scenes are every time they find each other, we’d prefer if they could just stick together, opposing anyone who tries to separate them.

#2: Minority Characters Killed Off And Replaced

Minority characters haven’t gotten the best treatment in the apocalypse. Survivors diverse in race or sexual orientation don’t always get significant screen time before dying. T-dog, one of the few African-Americans in the group, got this the worst. After sacrificing himself for Carol, his death was not only overshadowed by Lori Grimes’ passing, but followed by Michonne’s arrival two episodes later. This trend manifested in the span of one episode, with Tyreese appearing shortly before the African-American Oscar died. LGBT characters fare little better, with Tara’s girlfriends meeting their end. In later seasons, diverse survivors have been more developed, but there’s still room for improvement.

#1: The Moral Compass Character Dies

Nice guys finish dead last in “The Walking Dead”. If a character is fond of wise sayings, sticking to their principles or inspiring others to take the high road, then they're not long for the world. It’s usually their lack of ferocity that does them in, as their brutal world is stronger than their morals. And if a hardened character decides to be kinder, that's equally bad news—just ask Tyreese. So, in short, if you want your favorite character to survive, they'll have to stay away from inspirational speeches, relationships, being nice . . . ah, forget it, Rick will probably be the only one left by the end.

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