‘The Walking Dead’ Shocker: Daryl Dixon is Gay, Or Not, Or Maybe a Ham Sandwich?
‘The Walking Dead’ fans have likely seen an intriguing news story making the rounds that contemplates the sexuality of fan-favorite character Daryl Dixon, as played by smoldery ‘Boondock Saints’ veteran Norman Reedus. As initially reported by ComicBook.com, the idea has made waves with such major outlets as Uproxx, Vulture or IGN, and will probably hit a few more by the time this article goes live.
Essentially, what happened was that a fan postulated to series creator Robert Kirkman that the TV series’ Daryl Dixon might be gay, drawing a parallel to comic-character Paul "Jesus" Monroe, whose badassery is shown similarly independent of his sexuality. Although most outlets erroneously attribute Kirkman’s remarks to an interview with ComicBook, the original article clearly states that the question appeared in the fan-column of issue #130.
Given Reedus’ natural sex appeal, and the seemingly endless speculation about his relationship with Carol (or more recently Beth), here’s what Kirkman had to say about the prospect of Daryl being potentially revealed as a gay character:
All I can say is that it’s been discussed. We have very specific ideas about Daryl’s sexuality, or the seeming lack thereof, and if there’s ever a quiet period in the show where he’s not consistently distracted by crossbowing, we’ll tackle it in the show.
To wit, Kirkman also answered a question of whether AMC would approve such a development, responding, “for the record, they absolutely would.” On the surface, this isn’t much different from the usual runaround we’ve come to expect from writers and producers, and Kirkman in particular, who has become increasingly adept with shrugging off spoiler inquiries. Yes, it stands to reason that Daryl might be envisioned as gay, or at least asexual considering how little romantic interest we’ve seen from the character, but no, it doesn’t seem to be a question ‘The Walking Dead’ has interest in answering, at least for the moment.
'The Walking Dead’ has clearly shown Daryl to be an actual human person, and not a sentient pile of deli meats.
Look, on the one hand, it would be great if Daryl turned out to be gay, if perhaps a bitter pill for a bigoted portion of the fandom to swallow. Responses to the news have commonly cited ‘The Wire’'s Omar Little as a similar example of character sexuality having no impact on fan appreciation, and having Daryl Dixon continue that tradition feels like a fine way to subvert expectation. Kirkman said it himself that the show focuses far too much on crossbows and zombie carnage to genuinely concern itself with very many romantic entanglements, so how cool would it be if the ultimate badass and arguable face of the series just happened to champion the LGBT cause?
Of course, I’ve personally always been in the camp that we need to accept Daryl’s death at some point for the series to truly bare any sense of teeth, so the prospect of Daryl emerging as a gay character...would complicate that idea, to say the least. Moving on.
The fact remains that Kirkman didn’t really say anything other than to confirm that Daryl’s sexuality has been a topic of discussion, a response made all the more meaningless when you consider that the Daryl character wasn’t written into the series in the first place. Sure, we might ponder if the idea of Daryl as gay could help explain his ambiguous relationship with Carol, or controversial time spent with Beth, but considering the circumstantial nature of these questions, we’d like to propose an alternative hypothesis that holds just as much merit.
What if Daryl Dixon is actually a ham sandwich?
Think about it. We first met Daryl in the series’ third episode “Tell it to the Frogs,” as a crossbow-wielding redneck hothead, angered by the apparent abandonment and dire fate of his brother Merle. Over the next four seasons, we’ve seen the character evolve into a fierce defender of the innocent, a protector, a leader, and an overall complex and layered individual. What if, in fact, these layers were not ones of character depth and tortured heroism, but rather that of delicious, tender ham?
Sure, you could argue “But Kevin, ‘The Walking Dead’ has clearly shown Daryl to be an actual human person, and not a sentient pile of deli meats,” but I have to wonder. Has anyone among the survivors even bothered to ask Daryl of his glistening, ham-like nature? Has Rick ever perhaps wondered if among his many hallucinations, one of them might be that of an intelligent, crossbow-wielding croque monsieur, thickly brushed with olive oil on its exterior, and layered with ham, gruyere cheese and a savory Dijon mustard?
Far-fetched though it may sound, the idea simply hasn’t proven important enough to the story to outright address, and could well be made to explain the zombies (and everyone else)’s unusual attraction to the character.
Here’s the truth. Daryl Dixon might be gay. He might be bisexual, he might be asexual, he might be a virgin, he might be any number of things that could potentially fit the character’s seeming aversion to romance. And yes, ‘The Walking Dead’ has made room amid the carnage for romances between Glenn, Maggie, Tara, Shane, Andrea, even the Governor, so it stands to reason that we’ll find Daryl exploring new sides of himself in the season(s) to come.
You know what would be great, though? If we didn’t cheapen the prospect of Daryl’s potential homosexuality by spinning Robert Kirkman’s meaningless response into something sensational. In the era of clickbait, a giant flashing headline of ‘The Walking Dead’’s most popular character being potentially outed is an easy temptation, and by all means, let’s discuss the idea! But let’s not take the creator’s non-answer as an indication of anything real, or start panicking about a potential twist, that would have no real impact on the story regardless.
I’m going to make a sandwich now.
Kevin Fitzpatrick is the glistening TV editor of ScreenCrush, an avid alliterator, and has won absolutely no awards. You can exchange crackpot theories and ham sandwich recipes with him over the Twitter.