Today’s ‘I’ve Ben Thinking…’

1. My personal anti-snark campaign for the 2013 Indians. So this year is off to a great start, right? But I’m challenging myself to only look at the positives. No, seriously I am. I think it’s easy to complain and hate on the Tribe when things aren’t going well but I want to see what happens if I adjust my expectations and just sit back and enjoy the season. Afterall what good does it do to complain about a sports team? I’ve been doing it for years – and my dad before me – and these teams just don’t see care what we have to say. Shocker, right?

Here, see what I mean below and let me know if you want to take this challenge with me. I could use your help to keep me on track:

  1. Fact: We lost the home opener. Anti-snark take: Hey, it was the opener! Who cares – it’s beautiful and we got to drink beer! Baseball’s back! Woo!
  2. Fact: Francona is leaving the starters in too long. Anti-snark take: What, do you want to burn out the bullpen in April?
  3. Fact: Francona got lost walking to the stadium and had to call a clubhouse attendant. Anti-snark take: It’s great to see Terry getting out and mingling with the locals, exploring the city! He’s one of us!
  4. Fact: Santana might be injury prone. Anti-snark take: Let’s get all the bugs out now Carlos.
  5. Fact: The Yankees are beating the snot out of us without half their starters. Anti-snark take: We didn’t lose last night!
  6. Fact: It might be a long season. Anti-snark take: Of course it is – 162 to be exact. And no one ever won a championship in April.

See how easy and fun that is!? Go Tribe.

2. ‘The Walking Dead’ Final(e) thoughts. I know I’m late to the game on this but I finally watched ‘The Walking Dead’ finale. Hey, I have kids and it’s hard to watch a show where brain-eating zombies is the main focus. My review is below so, don’t read any further if you’re one of the four remaining people who haven’t seen it.

I had spent the last 10 days hiding from people who I know are TWD fans but I did see/hear enough to know that the ending was pretty polarizing. With that in the back of mind, I kept an eye on the clock as the episode unfolded, thinking “if there’s going to be a ‘moment’ it needs to happen soon”. And then of course the moment was delivered in the form of zombie Milton taking a chunk out of Andrea resulting in her taking her life before she could turn.

I think that left a lot of people thinking ‘That’s it? That’s pretty good for a mid-season thrill but for a finale?’ Thanks to ‘The Sopranos’ we’ve been conditioned to expect that big shocker/twist in season finales (ironic when you consider how ‘The Sopranos’ ended). And I think The Walking Dead has become a victim of its own success in a way. They deliver big moments at the speed of a trickle better than any show out there – it’s both frustrating and rewarding to watch. And the finale was no different.

Don’t hate the finale for sticking to what made the show good. Hate it for abandoning what made it good, specifically:

1. Glossing over character showcases. The show has (painfully at times) given its actors a chance to shine and really show the depth of their characters. Some good (Hershel, Rick, Glen), some not so good (Dale, Laurie, Shane). They had a chance to let Daryl show some range and reveal a little more about who he was and who he has become/is becoming, but they cheated us by tying up Merle’s death when he talks to Carol for a second before hopping on his motorcycle. Same goes for Carl. He’s turning into a psycho but all we see is his cold rationale for why he’s choosing to kill v. be killed.

2. Making us assume too much. The scene at the prison when the Governor and his team are making their attack is lacking significant detail. How did Rick and the gang arrive at the conclusion to fight and orchestrate that attack? Why did they? And the incredibly tactical Governor just leads his gang down into the prison cells (tombs)? Again, a total departure from his character to this point. And forces us to just go with the story instead of wrapping us up in it.

3. Making us care too much. Back to Andrea. Her character had become so self-righteous (something that the comic book leverages well – where, she’s still alive by the way) that you weren’t all that sad to see her go. I had read a lot about the finale requiring reshoots and now I know why. One of the alternatives was to just have her devoured by Zombie Milton (v. freeing herself at the last second – yawn). The show’s producers will tell you that version lacked any emotion and they needed to reshoot it to have the old gang find her. I disagree – I think there would be plenty of emotion in her meeting an unfair death at the hands of Zombie Milton – and a wonderful irony considering they were both trying to stop the Governor (ultimately too late, with no one to blame but themselves). Don’t think for us Hollywood – let us do that.

All that being said, ‘The Walking Dead’ is still one of the best shows on television—so much so that I expect better. There is a lot to look forward to in October (how are they going to feed all those people; will Cutty/Tyreese be a main player; will Carl continue to turn to the dark side; will Daryl and Carol make an ugly baby; will the Governor return; will Hershel grow a new leg?). In the meantime, a quick note to AMC – stop the black and white versions on Thursdays. I don’t know what you’re going for but it’s cheap.

3. The current state of social media teams. I had to share this infographic about the current state of social media departments. I think it’s interesting to see how real world compares to perception. We know companies want more out of their social program. And we want to believe that companies are doing this by investing more (time, budget, training) in social media. But…I’m not sure what they want is matching up with what they’re doing.