Everybody’s favorite postapocalyptic graphic novel–turned–prime-time drama The Walking Dead staggers back for its third season (premiere: October 14 at 9 p.m. on AMC). The series racked up impressive ratings, but some viewers slipped off into Rick Grimes–like comas during season two—dubbed “the talking dead” by detractors due to its focus on fleshing out characters with mind-numbing dialogue during the interminable campout at Hershel’s farm. It’s time to catch up with the survivors. Because not only will there be new Georgia locales to spot on-screen (like Coweta County town Senoia), but also, beneath the blood, guts, and leg-dragging melodrama, there are sure to be important life lessons that transcend zombie geekdom. A few pearls from last season:
Nutrition Eat local—super local. Know what you are putting in your body. Rick and the gang recouped from their Atlanta scavenge for convenience-store preservatives by appreciating the from-the-earth goodness of Hershel’s homegrown veggies and farm-raised beef and chicken. Bonus Tip: Check the well before you drink the water.
Relationships Deliver big news to your partner in stages. Thanks to Lori, we now know that leaving empty blister packs of morning-after pills on the nightstand might not be the best way to tell your husband you’re pregnant. However, that bombshell may soften him up enough to gently confirm his suspicion that you slept with his best friend while you thought he was dead.
Parenting Kids get in trouble the minute you turn your back. The children may be our future, but when the planet’s gone to hell and there is no future, they’re just a pain in the ass. They’re either wandering off (Sophia), getting shot (Carl), on suicide watch (Beth), or rolling in the hay with the first young thing that comes wandering off the highway (Maggie). It’s enough to make you just want to lock them in the barn. But not Hershel’s barn.
Environmentalism Look for commute alternatives. One thing that hasn’t changed after the end of civilization is the sight of cars piled up in a standstill on Atlanta freeways (guess we should’ve seen the TSPLOST fail coming). Early in season two, our survivors learned to reduce their carbon footprints by walking or riding good old-fashioned horseback—except for villainous Shane, who still putted around in his SUV. And look where that got him.
Illustration by John Ritter