5 reasons you don’t want to see parkour in The Walking Dead

Daniel Ilabaca crappily photoshopped into "The Walking Dead" cast

Images courtesy of AMC and Daniel Ilabaca

No matter what you may have thought of Season 2, we all have a soft spot in our hearts for AMC’s The Walking Dead. As a traceur and zombie survival enthusiast, I know I’d love to see my favorite discipline represented on the show. We’ve got gun enthusiasts, crossbowmen, and other survivalists, so why not parkour?

Lots of reasons, some artistic, some practical. I’ll talk about a lot of them here, but I’m not going to try to dispel them. Believe it or not, I think having a character (or two) proficient in parkour would likely hurt its image as a viable survival skill.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here are 5 reasons why a traceur in TWD would be bad for parkour:

1) It’s not in the comics.
Obviously, the series has taken some liberties with the source material, but inventing a completely new character who can do totally badass things is taking it a bit too far. Especially now, when they’d be competing for screen time with the other new badass, sword-wielding Michonne.

2) Most people don’t understand. While parkour has definitely gained mainstream exposure in recent years, it’s been in the realm of sports or performance art, rather than as a survival skill. The general consensus -when it’s discussed at all – seems to be that it wouldn’t be very practical, for various reasons. We’re doing our best to dispel this misconception, but if it ever crossed the writers’ minds (which is unlikely), they probably dismissed it out of hand.

3) They’d do the “parkour” wrong. When most people think of parkour, they’re actually thinking of freerunning. That’s what you see when people are doing flips and flying handstands and other big, flashy moves that don’t actually accomplish anything. I’m not knocking it – hey, some of my best friends are freerunners – but in terms of locomotion, those moves aren’t very valuable. Still, that’s what comes to mind when most people think of parkour, and it is really impressive-looking, so we’d probably see a lot of flips and gainers off boxes for no reason, which would further cement the feeling that parkour is a useless skill to have in a survival situation.

4) The character wouldn’t get much screen time. The Walking Dead is as much about the group interactions as it is about escaping zombies. And as we’ve already discussed, you’re most likely going to be alone or in pairs when doing anything requiring the use of parkour. So you’re either off contributing to the group by yourself while the important characters are interacting in meaningful ways, or you’re in the background being useless while the important characters are interacting in meaningful ways.

5) They’d be a dick at best, a villain at worst. As mentioned, parkour isn’t generally something whole families practice together (though there are exceptions), so any character introduced would likely be a loner. It would be really, really easy to play to stereotypes here, and make the traceur a young twenty-something, rebellious youth without regard for others. This character would be selfish and disruptive and would endanger the group without pause because he knows he can get away. This would only promote the view of parkour as a fringe sport, and associate it with delinquency (much like the stigma skateboarding deals with)

Okay, but they don’t have to be a loner, you say: what about a whole group of parkour athletes? Honestly, that would be even worse. If the writers decided to introduce a group of traceurs it would likely be in the form of a rival survivor “gang” who would compete with Rick and his group for supplies. Given that they’re more mobile and likely better at obtaining said supplies, they’d instantly be branded as villains. And we definitely don’t want that.

This isn’t to say that there’s no way that a character who practices parkour could be written into The Walking Dead to cast it as a useful survival skill, or that you couldn’t make a traceur who works well in the group and the mythos. It’s just that I doubt the writers would. I’m thinking I might give it a shot, though, so stay tuned.

In other news, I think I’m going to drop down to one post a week. Work and family doesn’t leave a lot of time for blogging, so unless ZET miraculously becomes my full-time job, I’m going to have to commit to a little less. I’m also about ready to start getting into the actual training part of this thing, which is going to take more time (diagrams, pictures, and more in-depth posts). Thanks for understanding, and I hope you stick around.

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