I’LL GET RIGHT TO THE POINT: The Walgreens closest to me sells so many cool toys, including miniature action figures from one of my favorite shows on TV, The Walking Dead (AMC), by McFarlane Toys. You’ve got “Grave Digger Daryl,” a startlingly lifelike rendition of one of the show’s most beloved protagonists, Daryl Dixon:
Now, here’s the rub: The toys, like the show, are aimed at a more mature audience, ages 13+.
Still, it does not explain why, in the same aisle as My Little Pony plushies and Hello Kitty lunchboxes, Walgreens and McFarlane Toys (and the execs at AMC to a degree) decided to feature a prominent CANNIBAL from the show as an action figure.
That’s right. Gareth, the cannibalistic antagonist from the TV show (the box specifies that all toys are based on the television series, and not the graphic novels on which the show itself is premised), is featured as a pretty-boy, heroic-looking action figure alongside toy models of show protagonists. He is not only the sole antagonist in The Walking Dead toy section but he is packaged exactly the same way all the protagonists’ toys are. Nary a dark border to insinuate that this dude’s evil. The box neither denotes nor connotes anything about Gareth being “bad,” let alone the chilling, human-eating monstrosity he turned out to be on the show (LEGIT: he ate a protagonist’s roasted leg in front of him while the victim was still conscious).
One who does not watch the show would think Gareth was “one of the heroes.” Which is harmless, I suppose, to kids who do not watch the show. We, however, know no teenager (or younger child) is playing with a toy he or she does not recognize.
The very existence of this bizarre “toy” is basically suggesting that marketers think Americans are stupid and shallow. The average American consumer, in their eyes, is so blinded by materialism that he/she cares not the origin of the stuff they buy, as long as it is stuff.