Consider this both a spoiler warning and a judgemental message: If you haven't seen/heard who Negan killed by now on The Walking Dead, then how on earth did you even access the internet long enough to read this article from that cold, dark prison of yours? Heads up though, AHS spoilers abound too.
Whether you're a diehard fan of zombies or can't stand the little brain-munching bastards, it's been impossible to avoid the noise generated by #TheWalkingDead this week. The eye-popping spectacle of the Season 7 premiere has been the only thing on everyone's bashed-in minds since it first aired, dividing viewers with its extreme violence.
However, for every fan who felt that the grotesque nature of Glenn's death was a faithful adaptation of the comics, others denounced the show for taking things too fair. The episode even raising the ire of conservative groups online.
Check out more gruesome deaths from The Walking Dead below:
The funny thing is though, #AmericanHorrorStory basically did the same thing this week and no one really batted an eyelid. Why is it ok then for Shelby to bludgeon her husband's skull in, while poor old #Negan receives flak for doing the same to Glenn and Abraham? After all, we might not be ready to start the #Justice4Negan campaign just yet, but it's bizarre that the internet can only rage over one skull-smashing at a time.
The Anticipation Drove Fans Into A Frenzy
202 days is a long time for fans to find out whether their favorite characters have survived or not, but that's how long The Walking Dead's loyal viewers had to wait after Negan took someone out in the Season 6 finale. For months, message boards and entertainment sites alike debated who could have died, speculating harder than a thousand Agatha Christies at a Sherlock Holmes convention.
Understandably then, all eyes were on the Season 7 premiere to find out who would get to see Lucille up close and personal. By ending Season 6 on a cliffhanger, The Walking Dead had backed itself into a corner, which means that no matter who died, there would be outcry.
In contrast, American Horror Story totally took viewers by surprise when Shelby lost it and killed Matt this week. While we knew that only one participant would ultimately survive until the end of Season 6, few suspected that a character we're supposed to be rooting for would be responsible for one of the deaths.
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We're More Emotionally Invested In The Walking Dead's Characters
It was hard enough watching Abraham die, but #Glenn's demise was a whole other level. Everyone's favorite pizza delivery boy has been a mainstay on The Walking Dead ever since the end of the Season 1 pilot when we first heard his voice. Since then, we've seen a huge number of principal cast members come and go, but aside from Rick, Glenn's been the one constant on the show. When you also factor in his touching relationship with Maggie and impending fatherhood, it makes total sense that Glenn's death would devastate so many people.
That's not to say that fans aren't emotionally invested in American Horror Story too though. After all, the show has produced some of the most memorable characters to appear on TV in the past decade (i.e., basically everyone Jessica Lange ever played), but we haven't had enough time to fall in love with the cast of My Roanoke Nightmare in quite the same way.
Saying that, the death of Matt did hit viewers on an emotional front, but that was born more out of shock at Shelby's actions than the loss of her husband. Due to the anthological nature of American Horror Story, we've only had a few episodes to invest in the cast of Season 6, whereas The Walking Dead has had six whole seasons with the same characters — well, the ones who survived, at least.
This Isn't Even The First Time That Either Show Has Reached Such Violent Extremes
Both The Walking Dead and American Horror Story are shows steeped in horror, so it shouldn't have come as too much of a surprise this week when the gore factor was amped up. Just this season alone, American Horror Story has portrayed some truly grotesque scenes, including disembowelment and cannibalism, so it makes sense that Shelby's skull-bashing antics didn't cause too much of a stir online.
The Walking Dead has also featured some grisly moments in the past, including a boy being shot in the eye, but the difference here is that all eyes — except Carl's — were on the Season 7 premiere this week. American Horror Story draws in healthy numbers, but the wider audience that The Walking Dead attracts also draws in a more divisive and heated response.
Check out more f**ked up moments from American Horror Story below:
Saying that though, it is hard to think of a more uncomfortable scene in The Walking Dead's history than that of Glenn struggling to say goodbye to Maggie as his eye hangs out of the socket. Not even American Horror Story went that far with Matt's death, although both shows made a point of showing the smushed remains of both victim's skulls after.
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The Walking Dead hit new levels of gore this week, prompting new debates on what's acceptable to show on TV, but this won't be the first or last time that this issue is raised. While we can understand to a degree how casual viewers may object to extreme violence on both shows, we doubt that this will deter networks from continuing in this vein. If audiences start to worry about the effect that shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story may have on their children, then perhaps they should consider not letting them watch such mature content in the first place.