iZombie is a Dumb Show
29 Apr 2021
It's one of my favorites.
I really like iZombie. I watch it the way most people watch some show like The Office, probably. I like that it’s geeky and funny and dark: it resonates with me, the way most things liked by somebody have a tendency to do so. It’s not really a work of art or anything, but it’s functional and serves its purpose. I enjoy it, at least. You can find it on Netflix, just in case you were wondering.
When you Google the show’s title, the search engine spits back the following “knowledge panel,” whatever that means:
AboutWhen over-achieving medical resident Liv Moore attends a party that turns into a zombie feeding frenzy, she ends up joining the ranks of the living dead. Determined to pass as human despite her pale appearance and newly listless demeanor, Liv forms a plan to resist her drive to consume fresh human brains by taking a job at a coroner's office, where she can secretly snack on the brains of corpses delivered there. Soon discovering that she absorbs the memories of those she feeds on, she finds new purpose by posing as a psychic and working with a detective to help solve their murders.
I’ll admit, the description sounds terrible; it’s like a combination of “Steampunk, Gender swapped Joker, in a Willy Wonka hat…” and a plot for one of those cheesy soap operas that my mother likes to watch. But then again, I’m fairly convinced that most science fiction is sort of like that: how else would you ever make anything interesting other than by just mishmashing a bunch of other vaguely interesting things? Moving past the thought that maybe the creators of the show were trying too hard, the premise is nevertheless interesting.
I think I like the performance of Olivia “Liv” Moore (played by Rose McIver) most about the show. While the characters are consistent, Liv’s personality and behavior have drastic shifts from episode to episode, displaying McIver’s talents as an actress and keeping the audience curious to see Liv’s next change in the following episode. One of my favorite personas has to be in the second episode of the first season when the depressed Liv turns into an emotional, sexually driven painter. I wonder why. I also enjoyed the agoraphobic, gaming basement-dweller persona (season 1, episode 6) and the dominatrix one (season 3, episode 5). But however varied and interesting Liv’s personas may be, she always ends up coming back to her true, unfortunate condition: part of the living undead, forced to eat human brain to prevent herself from becoming a George Romero-style zombie.
Have you seen those Tasty videos on social media? The ones where you get an above shot of some hands cooking some sort of meal? Those are featured in essentially every episode, except for the ones where she doesn’t feel like cooking. Except instead of having wagu beef be the star of the show, it’s human brain. It’s honestly still pretty satisfying to watch.
Speaking of pretty satisfying, there are many shots of shirtless men and of the pretty curves of the actresses in the show, emphasizing that which Liv (and we as the viewers) can’t get. Which I thoroughly enjoy. Sex and love are themes of the show’s overarching plots, surprisingly enough, mostly because zombies could possibly transmit the virus to their human lovers, limiting the number of sexual and romantic relationships that our heroine may have. And when Liv does have an opportunity to have sex, the scene is provocative enough to the point where I would be quite ashamed to have my parents walk in and hear and/or see it. Keeps my gears grinding, you know?
The actual mysteries that are solved by Liv and the other leads are interesting enough, emphasized by Liv’s connection to the victim through the literal consumption of their brain. I enjoy murder-mystery, not because I like guessing who it is and then being right, but because of the process of learning more about the scenario and seeing how the suspects behave, how our heroes react, and their interactions amongst themselves. Liv is sassy and confident, literally gaining insight into the lives of the murder victims through their memories, and Clyde, her cop partner, keeps her grounded morally and mentally. Ravi, Liv’s boss at the morgue, is also charming and British and adorably nerdy. I also enjoy Liv’s major love interest, Major, just because of how hot and chipper he is. It’s fun to watch.
The show’s pretty funny and cute, but it also falls into the sci-fi horror genre, meaning that it falls under the label of “dark humor”. I personally think that most humor is pretty dark by default, just because it’s fundamentally meant to help people cope with misfortune, but that’s besides the point. The show varies between the characters making actual jokes in the form of comments but also situational humor, involving the circumstances of the victims and encounters between different characters with comical results, with the theme of death subtly always hanging out in the background.
I could tell that the show is made by geeks, for geeks. iZombie was initially a comic book series by DC Vertigo, upon which the show was loosely based, and funnily enough, Vertigo was mentioned repeatedly throughout the series, but this time as a reference to the Hitchcock movie. iZombie references cosplay, Dungeons & Dragons, video games, comic books, and all sorts of stereotypically geeky things, which appeals to me on some vague, active level. Anyway, now I’m seriously considering investing $50 bucks in getting a print copy of the iZombie omnibus, just because I’m a sucker for zombies, dramadies, and books in print.