Now that Fear the Walking Dead, the Los Angeles-set prequel to The Walking Dead, has given us two episodes, we have a pretty clear sense of the world that we’ll be living in as we watch the zombie epidemic work its way across the City of Angels. As you might expect, things look pretty bleak. This is not the Hummers and silicon Los Angeles of Entourage. It isn’t even the hard-boiled, booze soaked, e-cig mocking L.A. of True Detective. This is a Los Angeles that will play home to the first act of the apocalypse, and even from the beginning, the end times are not much fun. But, even though we’ve seen more blood than beaches so far, there are some parts of Fear the Walking Dead’s version of L.A. that are actually preferable to the real thing.
While most of the country will watch Fear the Walking Dead and see an emerging hellscape absolutely devoid of hope, L.A. residents who watch the show might notice some of the benefits to living in a zombified City of Angels. For example, traffic would improve drastically thanks to the poor motor skills of zombies. Also, the Abbot-Kinney brunch crowd would thin out considerably as people start to dine on brains instead of eggs benedict (that is, until enterprising restaurateurs introduce a brains-inspired charcuterie board).
Let’s look at all the ways that the apocalypse might not be so bad with 10 reasons Fear the Walking Dead’s Los Angeles is better than the real thing.
Drivers are more courteous.AMC
Whether they’re dealing with hitting a junkie who watched his girlfriend turn into a zombie or they are stopped on the freeway due to unknown police activities, drivers in Fear the Walking Dead are far more courteous than L.A. drivers IRL. The motorist who ran over Nick (Frank Dillane) immediately took responsibility for hitting him instead of driving away, and no drivers disobeyed police orders and opted to ride on the shoulder in hopes of beating the traffic. See, all it would take for Angelenos to drive like rational human beings is an extinction level event!
The least realistic moment of the pilot had nothing to do with zombies. When Madison (Kim Dickens) found a copy of Winesburg, Ohio, the episode lost all credibility. The only way you would see a copy of the Sherwood Anderson classic outside of a classroom in Los Angeles is if they were casting a gritty reboot over at Warner Bros. Sightings of books in public are rarer than a bartender without a headshot in L.A. And let’s be real: Maybe Winesburg would work as a limited series on the Sundance Channel, but it could never be adapted into any form that attracts A-list talent, so you won’t spot it in any coffee shops any time soon.
The Drought isn’t happening.AMC
Though many Angelenos are in denial, there is a drought happening. The only place you see well-maintained lawns in Los Angeles is in the most out of touch areas of Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and the Hollywood Hills. The rest of the city is slowly coming to terms with the fact that we live in the desert, and watering your lawn is basically a way to spit in the face of Mother Nature.
These gas prices….AMC
I’m not saying that I would trade human civilization as we know it for a dollar off per gallon, but I will say that your boy would have to rack up a lot of fuel perks at Ralph’s to that price point, even at that one gas station that only takes debit cards nowhere near the freeway.
There’s seating available at a 24-hour diner.AMC
If you’ve ever thought that you would stop by Norm’s for breakfast on the way to LAX or pop in for an order of mozzarella sticks after a night of drinking at another overpriced wine bar, you realize one thing as soon as you walk through the door: Everyone else has the same idea. Diners always have parking, are always open, and always offer cuisine untainted by L.A.’s pervasive health consciousness. Most restaurants in L.A. are open for roughly six hours a day, force you to pay $7 to valet your car, and make 90 percent of their menu gluten-free just in case. You show me a diner that isn’t slammed, and I’ll show you a place where you’ll probably get food poisoning from the chilaquiles.
No. Jaywalking. Tickets.AMC
In a post-zombie world, apparently municipal employees finally have bigger fish to fry. If Fear the Walking Dead were taking place in the real Los Angeles, all of the characters would have racked up at least three street cleaning tickets and a jaywalking fine before the end of the pilot. In L.A., the most popular way to fill the public coffers is to dole out these tickets like they’re candy while you have to be doing 120 miles per hour to earn a speeding ticket on a freeway. Not that I mind going at life-threatening speeds on the 405, but it would be nice if just once I came to move my car at 8:05 and I wasn’t already $87 poorer.
No one tries to sell shitty T-shirts in Venice.AMC
Alicia (Alycia Debnam Carey) has a reason to be bummed out when her man decides to go off and get bitten by a zombie instead of meeting her for a romantic Venice rendezvous. What better date night is there than visiting a dispensary and then talking yourself into purchasing some terrible art from a man wearing a golden wig? However, the girl should count her blessings, as she waited for him in the heart of Venice, and no one tried to sell her a shirt that read: Look Like Barbie, Smoke Like Marley.
“Traffic Clears Up Past Sherman Oaks.”AMC
In episode two, a police officer claims “Traffic clears up past Sherman Oaks.” You’re telling me that it’s smooth sailing through Encino or Van Nuys? Buddy, I may be fleeing for my life, but I wasn’t born yesterday. On a normal Sunday, you’re boned at least to Santa Clarita. Add a life-threatening pandemic and you’re definitely better off taking surface streets, no matter what Waze tells you.
There’s ample downtown street parking.AMC
As rioters fled both zombie bites and smoke bombs, the only thing I could focus on was all that sweet sweet downtown street parking. If you’ve ever tried to score that clutch weekend Eggslut sandwich or you’ve been lured to a friend of a friend’s art show on Friday night, you know that even in an all-out riot situation, there wouldn’t be that much parking available in DTLA.
There are fewer fad diets.AMC
When a significant portion of the population takes up a brains-only diet, the rest of humanity seems to quickly resolve their culinary differences. In two hours of this series, we haven’t seen one person request a substitution in a food order. It’s an unwritten rule that you can’t eat anything in L.A. without changing at least one thing from what’s written on the menu. Either this is an oversight on the part of the writing staff or they intended to suggest that we’ll be less picky with our lunch orders once we’re made aware of our impending doom.