For many readers of The Walking Dead comic, it was no surprise that when Aaron was introduced at the end of the episode “Them” two weeks ago, that we would likely see his boyfriend show up in the next episode. Well he did, appearing briefly in Sunday’s episode “The Distance”, but it’s not their relationship that ignited a flurry of negative comments online, it was something else.
A harmless kiss shared between two people because they were both thankful the other hadn’t been killed by Rick’s suggestion of taking a route they didn’t know was secure. Immediately, Twitter lit up with people spouting angry, hateful tweets, some that can be read on Bleeding Cool.
Apparently a kiss shared between two homosexuals requires some kind of warning, one Twitter user wrote, because they “watch with their children”. Nevermind the fact that we’ve seen zombies falling through ceilings whose bodies shatter upon impact, guts being torn from living-dead things, and yes, even a “zomb-o-lantern”, where Rick fired a flare into a zombies head and its dead tissue melted away in a gory, wax candle kind of effect (great job, special effects department!). A lot of questionable things have happened and many more will happen, but if someone’s biggest problem is a kiss that two characters share, maybe they (and their children) shouldn’t be watching.
We’ve seen human cannibalism. The group eating dogs. A child stabbing another child to death and then taking about murdering a baby. We’ve seen the Governor treat Maggie like an object (and believe me, in the comics it is much worse than that for Michonne). This show isn’t afraid to reveal its cards one by one. A kiss is a kiss, whether it is shared between two women, two men, or a man and a woman. The Walking Dead pushes boundaries, and I’m sure the showrunners don’t really care that people will no longer watch the show because Eric and Aaron are together. Tara has been a staple since Season 4 and no one has been outraged about her, so why the double standard?
Actor Ross Marquand spoke with The Daily Beast about the kiss, one that he thought was beautiful.
“It was one of the most beautiful scenes that I’ve had the pleasure of shooting because it dialed into what I think the theme of the show is. This is not a show about zombies; I think it’s a show about relationships and the real human connection that we have to one another. When you lose someone, or you feel that you have lost someone, it doesn’t matter what the situation is, you mourn them and you miss them and you want them back and you will do anything in your power to protect the ones you love. I hope that that’s the focus of our characters, that it’s not hung up so much on our sexual orientation.”
Of course, not all feedback was bad. Many people on Twitter were supportive of the moves from The Walking Dead writers camp to include Aaron and Eric, as well as their relationship.
Yes, there's 2 gay guys on the show now. Get over it! eric and aaron ❤️ #TheWalkingDead
— Ariell Torres (@Ariiellllllllll) February 23, 2015
Aaron/Eric… one minute in, and it's already a better love story than Fifty Shades of Grey. #TheWalkingDead
— J.P. Sloan (@J_P_Sloan) February 23, 2015
— Nestlé Snipes (@ChocnessMonsta) February 23, 2015
— Janell Baptista (@Janellaboo) February 23, 2015
— inkbloodedjedi (@inkbloodedjedi) February 24, 2015
— Gloria Flores (@GloriaIFlores) February 23, 2015
— Call me Legs. (@MayhemShmayhem) February 23, 2015
— missbobloblaw (@TalkingMomcents) February 23, 2015
Knew reading comments about #TheWalkingDead would upset me! Aaron and Eric finding love in the apocalypse is a beautiful thing.
— Laurie (@stargazer60) February 24, 2015
There was idiots creating a fuss about the gay kiss in #TheWalkingDead last night? Do know Aaron and Eric were together in the comics also?
— Erin Laufeyson (@ChaosDragoness) February 24, 2015