Why BBC America’s “In the Flesh” Is My New Favorite Zombie Show

zombie post series boxx

I’m no stranger to zombies. With a collection of 35 zombie movies, from 1932’s White Zombie to 1968’s Night of the Living Dead to 2006’s Fido, I’m pretty well on my way to watching every zombie movie (that’s worth watching, and a few that aren’t) ever made.

But lately, I’ve gotten more excited about zombie television, specifically zombie dramas or zom-droms.

Most recently, I came across a new zombie series from BBC America. Called In the Flesh, the series centers on a young man named Kieren, who is a PDSS: Partially Deceased Syndrome Sufferer.

kieren

The story? Over 140,000 people have come back from the dead in what is called the Rising. The government finds a way to medicate the remaining living dead so they can again think and act as they used to. But not everyone thinks the PDS sufferers aka zombies should be reinitiated into society. Tensions between the government, the anti-zombie Human Volunteer Force and the returning now-medicated dead escalate, most interestingly in Kieren’s small town.

I love this series, which came out in March 2013, and a second season in May 2014, because it’s very different from most of what I’ve seen before in zombie shows or movies. In fact, if you hate horror or zombies, you could still like this show.

Here’s a look at what I mean, what makes it so unique and why you should check it out, whether you’re a zombie fan like me or not. (Note: Some spoilers here, but no major ones.)

In The Flesh

1) The comedy. British shows have a knack for being insanely clever, for dealing with heavy themes while adding a small dose of droll humor. In the Flesh is no different. Despite its ofttimes serious focus, the show has just enough humor to make you laugh, in a sad kind of way. For instance, as shown above, when Kieren returns home with his family, he’s expected to eat dinner with them. The problem? Zombies can’t eat or drink without causing major problems to their insides. So Kieren’s mom asks him, Can you pretend? Poor Kieren does his best. It’s still sad, in a funny kind of way. :)

zombie post rick

Rick, a zombie who returned to life in the Rising after dying in Afghanistan, stands beside his military veteran father, who refuses to acknowledge that Rick is partially deceased.

2) The serious exploration of real-life issues. When it comes to what themes are off-limits, there are none. The show doesn’t avoid the problematic or the difficult. Whether it’s suicide, mental health, drugs, religious differences or homosexuality, it is explored in this series. The message, too, of being yourself and realizing that people are people and no one group is better than another–even if they’re dead, or undead–is a good one to remember.

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3) Pitchfork-wielding British rednecks. (Okay, maybe they wield actual guns, but the thought’s the same.) The Human Volunteer Force–which began in Kieren’s small town and is still going strong there–is comprised of military vets and guys with barely enough sense to hold the guns they’re packing. This group, which **spoiler alert** kills a woman in the street because she’s a PDS sufferer/zombie, refuses to allow themselves to think that these zombies can actually be people. They treat government officials with ire and threaten to kill any returning PDS sufferer on sight. Not very open minded are they?

So that’s my round-up of my top three favorite things about this show. If that’s not enough to make you watch it, well, you’re far different from me. But that’s okay. Because part of the point of shows like this is that we can be different, but we can still learn to understand and care about one another. Even if that other person–is partially deceased.

Touching 6-minute spoken word on a father’s absence

While I was in college at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, I met this crazy fellow student named Darelle Dove. He did Christian rap and he was one of the most fun people you could ever be around. The other day, he sent me a link to his “deepest piece yet.” I said I’d listen to it soon, since I was working at the time.

I should have listened to it right then. But I’m glad I waited.

What I found when I clicked on that Youtube link today was a beautiful, heartfelt, deep piece of spoken word/rap in which my friend Darelle talked about the father he never knew, and the father he found in God.

It’s something you should listen to, especially if you never had or never knew your real father. I’m blessed to have a great, tough, Pawn Stars-loving, cowboy-boot-wearing, 5’9″ fireball of a dad. He’s a man who has always been there for us. But not everyone has that blessing. Still, God blesses us with exactly what He knows is best. Exactly what we need.

Give it a watch. It’s below, or you can go watch it on Youtube. You’ll be glad you did. It certainly lifted my heart.

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Day 3 – #Speller177 – Thomas Manning – (May 27, 2014, Morning)

Molly Phipps:

A student from Cleveland County (the county I cover for The Shelby Star newspaper) is competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in D.C. this week. Thomas Manning is an eighth grader at Crest Middle School, and is in D.C. with his dad, Noel. Here’s a post from their blog.

Follow their bee journey! I definitely will be following this week on Twitter: #spellingbee #speller177 #TCubeManning @ScrippsBee and Thomas’ dad @noeltmanning.

Originally posted on The Thomas Manning Bee Journey:

Several of us will be computer testing at the same time

Several of us will be computer testing at the same time


Later this morning I will begin my round one competition (11:45 am), which is a computerized assessment for spelling, vocabulary, definition, and word origin. These test scores will be used to narrow down the field after round two, and will assist in semi-final placement. The images on this page will help you get an idea at what my surroundings will look like.
Feels like EOG time here too

Feels like EOG time here too

For those wondering when and where this will be on TV, Here is the Competition Schedule:
Preliminaries: Wednesday, May 28, 8am – 4:45pm EDT. Streaming live on ESPN3.
Semifinals: Thursday, May 29, 10am – 1pm EDT
. Live on ESPN2.
Championship Finals: Thursday, May 29, 8pm – 10pm EDT. Live on ESPN.
testinground1-1
It has already been great to meet so many people, to…

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My fifteen-minute Grandpa

This post, I originally wrote on April 12, 2011, on my now-private blog that I used in college. So it’s a three-year throwback. :) I hope you enjoy it.

“I have a new Grandpa!”
12 APR 2011

Today, a Tuesday, April 12, 2011.

I have a new Grandpa. His name is Woody. He cleans about five buildings at a university in the South of America. He collects the trash. He carries around keys, so many, that he says when he went to see his supervisor the other day, they weighed him down so much that she asked why he was stumped over, to which he replied, it’s all these keys!

He asked my name and how many years I had left here. He asked what I wanted to do, where I was from, and if I had a boyfriend. The only certain answer to any of those being where I was from: Cherryville. He said he knew a student from here about nine years ago who was from Cherryville. The student was going to be a pastor. He had a girlfriend who broke up with him, then married him a year later, and “what do you think about that?” I said, “I think that’s odd.” He said maybe.

He told me he collects the trash and cleans Noel Hall, Communications building, this building, the Chapel, and another I cannot remember now. “Too many for an old man.” he says. He is almost 81 years old.

He has worked for Gardner-Webb for 18 years. He says he loves meeting people as he works. That’s the best thing about his job, he says, meeting people like me.

He liked my name, said it wasn’t very common, but a pretty name.

And he told me when he was 21, what he wanted to do, his dream-he said I wouldn’t believe it-and then he pointed to a poster on the wall behind him: a bullfighter jumping over a charging bull. Feria de Nimes. The fair at Nimes, where people come not only for the bullfights, but for the party, the music, the people they meet there. That’s what Woody wanted to be. A bullfighter.

He said he knew a woman, who became a bullfighter. She was successful. He couldn’t remember her name, though he said he ought to. Hard to get insurance for that, wouldn’t it be? I agree.

Before he goes, he tells me God loves me, he loves me, the best thing he likes to tell people about is Jesus. Once again, I agree. I tell him I hope he has a good day. He tells me the same. “You can tell people you have a new Grandpa now, Woody is your grandpa” he says. Because when he asked me how many grandpas I had, I only have one. Now, he says, you have me too.

Call for help: Tweeting National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month poster, via Poets.org.

National Poetry Month poster, via Poets.org.

Y’all, it’s national poetry month this April (and every April). And I always completely forget about it until the end of the month, despite the fact that I LOVE poetry. But this year? I’m not forgetting.

I’m posting poetry to Twitter, searching for the best poems short enough to post in their entirety in one tweet. Or, if that’s impossible, the best lines from some classic favorites.

But I need your help.

I had a great response from so many people when I talked about how much the poet Carl Sandburg means to me. So naturally, I’d love to draw on some of that response again and ask those of you who commented then to share now, too.

What are your favorite short poems/verses? Do you know any that can be tweeted in their entirety in 140 characters?

If you’d like, give me a follow on Twitter @MollyAPhipps and suggest poems to me there or in the comments section here. I’ll be glad to follow you and retweet your poems, too. :)

I look forward to your thoughts. Be blessed, everyone.

-MP

A giant art installation targets predator drone operators

Molly Phipps:

To kick off a new weekly feature (which I’m calling Things That Matter Mondays), I’m reblogging this post today. I’m going to start posting each Monday with something I find online, something thought-provoking and original, that challenges us to be better people. To be retrospective, introspective and more open to those different–yet not so different–from us. Be blessed.
-MP

Originally posted on #NotABugSplat:

JR_KPK_full

In military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’since viewing the body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.

To challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, an artist collective installed a massive portrait facing up in the heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where drone attacks regularly occur. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim’s face.

Bugsplats

The installation is also designed to be captured by satellites in order to make it a permanent part of the landscape on online mapping sites.

The project is a collaboration of artists who made use of the French artist JR’s ‘Inside Out’ movement. Reprieve/Foundation for Fundamental Rights helped launch the effort which has been released with the hashtag

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Reflecting on my vacation

Over the past two days, I’ve had many people ask about my vacation. And it’s one of those sort of life-changing vacations–if you’ve ever had one, you know what I’m talking about–that you can’t explain in just a few minutes. It’d take me hours to talk about it. But for those who care, here are the highlights. And if you want to hear the whole story, I’ll probably tell you, if you ask. Here’s part of it. :)

1) I learned that Carl Sandburg went by Charlie until he was 30 because he thought Carl sounded too Swedish.
2) I learned that he owned 17 THOUSAND books.
3) I met a vegan who believes in reincarnation and made me eat healthy food while I was there. I didn’t eat much.
4) I tried German food at the Haus Heidelberg in Hendersonville. If you go, get the Peach Melba for dessert.
5) I laughed a great deal.
6) Tried a lot of new things.
7) Went on a few dates with people I didn’t know beforehand.
8) I saw water droplets frozen on the tips of pines.
9) I ate breakfast like a queen every morning.
10) I realized that everybody believes that what they’re doing and how they live their life is right. And I realized that it doesn’t mean I can’t like them or get along with them or love them.
11) I lit a candle in a Roman Catholic basilica with a guy I’d just met.
12) I learned to appreciate the sun.
13) I learned that I hate the movie “500 Days of Summer” and am totally done thinking that Joseph Gordon Levitt is cute.

But most of all, I learned that I can’t do this all on my own. I need people in my life, to talk to, to listen to, to learn from, to love. New people, new experiences are so good for us sometimes.

We get so stuck with our lives the way they are and we forget how big the world is, how many people are just out there, waiting for us to say hello.

Carl Sandburg was asked, in 1954, what the worst word in the English language is. He responded with:

“Exclusive.”

“When you’re exclusive, you shut out a wide range of humanity from your heart, from understanding them.”

To Sandburg, we were all part of the same world. Indeed, when he died, his wife sold the house, gave away 5,000 of his books to the University of Chicago and left everything in the house exactly as it was, taking only her clothing and necessities. Why?

She said Carl belonged to America, he belonged to the world.

He was a man who cared more about other people than himself. He wrote his poetry on a typewriter balanced on an orange crate. He was a socialist. The only award he was ever truly proud of was the lifetime achievement award from the NAACP for his work “for the negro and the common man.”

I think we forget what matters a lot. I think I did.

But this weekend, I was reminded of what matters. I was reminded that there are people who really do care about other people more than themselves.

I was reminded of my great friend, Scottie Kale. He died in 2010 at the age of 19. But he was one of those people–honest, good, never exclusive, always enjoyed the simple things in life. You could count on him to tell you the truth, to be there for you, to value others and be a help.

Since my vacation, I’m inspired to be different. There are so many people in the world who are nothing like Carl or Scottie. Duplicitous, angry, rude, selfish–so many adjectives. But maybe, things would change if we’d all be a little more honest, a little more open to people who aren’t like us.

Maybe…those people are just waiting for you to care, to take an interest in who they are without trying to change who they are.

Maybe they’re just waiting for you to say hello.