On Easter Sunday evening, a TV show about good and evil aired on the History Channel — the final installment of “The Bible” miniseries in which Jesus is executed. AMC ran the season-ending episode of “The Walking Dead” — the series where zombies try to eat the brains of human beings. One footnote: The world might have been a better place had the zombies preemptively gotten to the guy who thought up this series in the first place.
Anyway, the zombies won. They beat Jesus in the ratings, especially among viewers ages 18 to 49.
What lesson can be derived from Jesus losing to the walking dead? Well, it proves that about 12 million Americans want to see blood and gore. Wait — there was plenty of that in the Bible’s crucifixion scenes. Maybe the zombie viewers simply wanted cheap thrills. Yeah, that’s it. Cheap thrills triumphed over a spiritual experience. Cannibalism beat baptism.
Base entertainment almost always beats highbrow stuff. But watching flesh-eating zombies on Easter does put a different spin on things, does it not? I mean, how soon can we digest dismemberment on television after eating our baked ham dinner? One hour? Two?
At least Jesus was in context. The New Testament says the son of God rose from the dead on Easter. The zombies rise from the dead whenever their makeup is finished. Honestly, I have no idea what this zombie phenomenon is all about. Way back in the 1960s, I saw the first modern zombie movie: “Night of the Living Dead.” Things were creeping along OK until a little girl turned into a zombie and tried to eat her mom. At that point, my entire group decided enough was enough, and we bolted out of the theater.
But today that scene would be tame. Now zombie kids will eat their entire families if given the opportunity. Depravity doesn’t even begin to cover it. Apparently, we Americans have an unending appetite for gross behavior. Pun intended.
What must Jesus think? Here he is, being nailed to the cross by smirking Romans and getting trounced by TV zombies at the same time. The prince of peace preached that we all should love our neighbors as ourselves. I do not believe that Jesus would condone eating your neighbor even if you are dead. Many folks who like this zombie business freely admit it’s a low form of entertainment. “But so what?” they say. It’s fun to envision yourself outsmarting zombies, blasting them to hell with shotguns and then escaping to some tattoo parlor. I guess that’s fun in some precincts. But not for me. I threw in with Jesus even though the guy who played him looked a bit like Spicoli in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Sure, I knew how the miniseries was going to end, but there are worse things you could do on Easter Sunday — like watching man-eating zombies.
All I know is this: When Jesus appeared to the apostles after he died, thank God they did not have access to AMC.
Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor.” For more, see the Web site www.billoreilly.com.