On the list of TV shows that I’ve stumbled into with my roommate after too much wine (Person of Interest, Between, NCIS, Private Practice, One Tree Hill, Law & Order: SVU, Scandal, CSI: NY et al), iZombie hasÂ proved the most interesting.
Seattle medical resident Olivia “Liv” Moore is turned into a zombie while attending a boat party. To cope with her new appetite for brains, Liv takes a job at the King County morgue and shares her secret with her boss, Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti. In order for Liv to survive, Ravi encourages her to eat the brains of murder victims whose bodies are delivered to the morgue. Whenever she eats a victim’s brain, Liv temporarily inherits some of their personality traits. She also experiences flashbacks which often give her clues as to the nature of the murder. Liv uses this new ability to help the Seattle Police Department solve crimes, passing herself off as a psychic consultant.
As someone who’sÂ generally lukewarm-to-indifferent towardÂ zombie stuff, I was surprised at how hungrilyÂ my brains greeted this cerebral(ish) mÃ©lange of the humerus and theÂ meningeal. That is to say, I rather enjoyed it.
I was going to start by mentioningÂ that I often find the dialogue in the show a bit too cute, but I think myÂ gripe mightÂ largely be confined to Liv’s fiancÃ© Major. Yes, “Major”: a name that only a performer in a self-parodying gay porn film would assume. He’s tall, stubbily handsome, quick-witted, omni-supportive, and doesn’t appear to have a life or any interests of his own outside of Liv. So, perfect, I suppose. But, he’s not a majorÂ part of the first two episodes, thankfully.
Then, there’s a lot of dialogue I think is great. How’dÂ RaviÂ grow suspicious of Liv’s (lack of) vivacity? Well, he left her in charge of a gang-banger shooting victim one night who hadÂ to be reopened when an investigating detective needed more information. Ravi didÂ the reopening and rhetorically asks Liv, “WhatÂ was heÂ missing?”
Liv: “A strong male role model.”
Ravi: “And half a pound of brain.”
My most serious criticism stemming from the first two episodes comes from this:
In episode two, an artist is murdered. Detective Babineaux says early on that it’s always the wife. Liv doesn’t believe him. Well, it turns out it was the wife all along. To the show’s credit, I didn’t really care who done it. However, IÂ do care about logical fallacies and the hasty generalization’sÂ my bÃªte noire.
Like the curious TV judge who’s just heard an emphatic objection from the prosecution, I’m interested enough in the emotional realism and characterizations that I overlook the zombies and cautiously reply, “sustained” to the wholeÂ show.Â When it continues to delight me, am I then demanding too much that it also not try to make me dumber by feeding me spoiled offal?
Well, no. There’s too much damned TV out there in general to give everyone a free pass. And, this is serious!
So, let’s begin with a great idiom: “All generalizations are false, including this one.” Take a minute and internalize that if you haven’t already. Now,Â let’s return to our faulty premise: “All murdered people who were married were killed by their spouse.” Is this notÂ clearly suspect?
Well, without scouring the ‘net all day, I found reality to be pretty different: “About 11 percent of murder victims between 1976 and 2002 were killed by their spouses or lovers, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.” (Granted this is now 14-year-old info, but could it really have changedÂ that drastically?)
Obviously, not everyone is as demanding as I am about such things, but iZombie isn’t the stoned surfersÂ you don’t demand much from because you don’t expect much from them; iZombie, like its protagonist, is an overachiever. So, overachieve, damn it!
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For others who like sprinkled-in pop culture references:Â “Going all George Romero,” “Miss Cleo,” and “Cagney and Pasty” were all welcome for me.
No offense to being stoned orÂ going surfing.