The cliffhanger technique of storytelling has been a part of television for years. Shows such as Dallas have used cliffhangers that are still referenced today. Recent shows such as Sherlock , Breaking Bad, Orange is the new black, and even Hannibal have all ended with a cliffhanger at one point or another. It’s a tactic used to keep the audience guessing and invested in to the television show while waiting for the next season to premiere. And when the tactic works well, it’s all fans can talk about while eagerly awaiting an answer to what happens next. The Walking Dead accomplished this recently with their ending to their sixth season when Negan finally made his debut. After giving an incredibly terrifying performance, Negan bashed someone’s head in while Rick and others were forced to watch. But while The Walking Dead may have achieved their goal of leaving the fans wanting more, they could have never predicted how much people with a sense of entitlement would complain about it.
From threatening to not watch the show, to a petition formed to demand to know the identity of the unlucky victim, people have thrown fits about Negan’s appearance because they feel it is unfair to wait until October to receive answers. While the showrunner, Scott Gimple, is enjoying the publicity the show has gained from the cliffhanger from its passionate fans, the reaction to a television show’s ending speaks volumes to the society we currently live in. What was once a way for fans to voice that there’s an audience for shows like Jericho and Constantine, has become a way to voice minor complaints as if they are huge life altering issues solely because certain individuals rather have things the way they prefer it. And if this is something that has become acceptable in nerd culture, then we are living up to all of the fanboy, neck beard, stereotypes that have existed about nerd culture for years.
The honest truth is no one cares about your opinion. Sure, you’re entitled to it, but no one has to listen to it or alter their plans because of it. The Walking Dead’s showrunner has explained that we will see Negan’s scene in its entirety at the beginning of the next season, and the theme of the season will revolve around the death of the character. But what if our opinions on the cliffhanger actually mattered to the show? What if this petition worked? Would AMC just release the name of the character via Twitter post and ruin the up coming season’s planned surprises? And how would the self-entitled fans react if the character is one they’d much rather have survive instead? Will The Walking Dead have to rewrite the season in order to please that particular group of fans? And if so, how many times will they have to change the character who dies and rewrite the show in order to please everyone? That would be the situation the show would find itself in if the writers actually listened to the complaints of a group of people with first world problems, and the fans of the show that are invested in to it for the storytelling it delivers will suffer because of it.
It’s okay to have a strong opinion about something you have an interest in. But it is not okay to force it down everyone’s throat by changing the thing you have an interest in to fit your personal needs. If you don’t like a show, then don’t watch it. If you don’t like how a video game character looks, or a cover of a comic book, then don’t buy that product. Money and ratings speak louder than a petition, and starting one for such a nonissue while there are so many real issues to address does nothing but set nerd culture back. It’s a form of media entertainment. Don’t take it so seriously. So it’s time to stop petitioning like spoiled brats whenever you don’t get your way. No one owes you anything.