For the past four seasons of The Walking Dead there has been one mainstay you probably didn't notice despite it being killed off (so to speak) and revived again in a different form. I'm talking, of course, about the township of Senoia, Georgia. Yep, it might sound a bit odd, but bear with me on this one!
Senoia is a small town that has been used on the series since Season 3 when it became better know to #TheWalkingDead fans as Woodbury. And, following Woodbury's destruction, a different part of the township became known as Alexandria. However, in an interview with Cracked, one Senoia resident has revealed that living in the town used as the center of the zombie apocalypse isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Despite the fact that the town has now become quite a unique tourist destination, prompting stores such as The Waking Dead Café and The Woodbury Shoppe to open, the show has also made life a little harder for the residents who calls the town home. Cracked spoke to Senoia local Brittany who gave the lowdown on living life in a (sometimes) post-apocalyptic town.
Real People Live In Alexandria!
It might be called Alexandria on the show, but in real life the subdivision used as the safe zone is called the Gin Property and, according to Brittany, life in the Gin comes with some strict rules:
"They had to agree to things like specific exit/entry times at their own homes to work around filming, and allowing bright lights and loud noises at three in the morning. I believe they are legally obligated to wait until the crew okays their leaving so that they don't mess up a scene."
But as rough at these conditions might sound, it's not so bad because the Gin Property was actually developed by Scott Tigchelaar, the President of Raleigh Studios Atlanta (the studios used by The Walking Dead) and was always intended to be used as a live set. What that means is that anyone wanting to buy a home on the Gin Property has to agree to certain conditions, and apparently those conditions sometimes include huge walls around the property for a few months of the year.
Sometimes You're A Prisoner In Your Own Home
According to Brittany, residents are sometimes required to stay out of sight while the show is filming — which includes having to stay off your own lawn! She told Cracked:
"At one point during filming, I was actually told by a cop directing traffic that I wasn't allowed to be out on my own lawn. When they were filming at the wall of Alexandria, we were really close to where they were shooting. Security had to make sure that nobody walked past the blocked portions of the road, so when we walked out into the yard to see what was up, a security officer told us we couldn't be out there unless we were trying to leave."
Due To The Fans There Is A Big Police Presence
Despite the residents of Senoia being restricted in their comings and goings, there is a bigger issue to deal with when your town is at the center of a hit show: the fans. Because of the cult following the show has, the town has become a destination for TWD devotees to come and visit, and to also try to catch a glimpse of a star. Brittany says that as a result, the police presence in the town has grown:
"There is pretty much 24/7 police presence here. They're on the lookout for anyone trying to mess with the Alexandria wall / leftover props, or anyone who is going to disturb residents living in the homes that appear in the show, so they watch us closely when we're walking our dogs down the street or pulling into our own driveways."
Unfortunately, it appears that not all fans are considerate of their surroundings, going into a sort of frenzy when the show is filming or a star is spotted:
"Just imagine video clips you've seen of how crazy people get when a star is around in public. People lose awareness of their surroundings and become so set on getting as close as possible and getting autographs. They push past everyone, they stand on things to try to get pictures, they stand in the street without any thought of traffic, and when there's not enough room, they stand in people's yards. Our neighbor down the road (closer to Morgan Street) had some trash cans at the curb that people were trying to stand on to see the cast. They ended up completely messing it up. It looked like an animal had gotten into everything."
Despite some of the downsides of living on a live set like Senoia, there are also a lot of upsides, such as a booming tourism industry due to increased visitors to the area. And although the show uses unsightly set materials (such as the huge wall around Alexandria), when filming is completed the town is restored to its usual picturesque glory — and is left in an even better condition than when they found it. And just last year, AMC donated $150,000 to the town, which will go toward upgrading the local park! I mean, I guess life could be worse, right? At least Senoia is only at the heart of a fictional zombie apocalypse!
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with Season 7b in February, 2017
Would you move to Senioa, Georgia?