The Walking Dead has been on AMC for almost six years, bringing millions of viewers to the network, with new ones coming in every week thanks to word of mouth and it being one of the only shows of its kind on TV. But through every season, there tends to be a certain formula that occurs, involving the cast of characters, a new home base, and hordes of the undead ready to destroy any chance of starting over in any real way. When you start to pick up on this formula, you also start to get into the mindset of wondering when things are going to get a little more advanced or switch up a bit from the usual — and how much longer you as the viewer can even handle it.

Let’s take a detailed look into The 12 Stages of Your Love/Hate Relationship With The Walking Dead.

12. Excitedly Realizing That A New Episode Airs Tonight

walking dead screaming The 12 Stages of Your Love/Hate Relationship With The Walking Dead


Regardless of whether or not you have reservations about the show itself, you must admit that you find yourself looking forward to a new episode when Sunday night rolls around. Of course, it helps that Sundays aren’t usually crowded with the very best of TV, but even if every Emmy award-winning program aired at the same time as The Walking Dead, something tells us that you’d still be tuning in anyway. Even with the whole love/hate/love cycle you go through with the show, it’d be hard to not be at least a little bit curious about what new adventures in the world of the undead each new episode will hold.

11. Wondering If It’s Going To Be A Fast-Paced Episode Of Action, Or One Where Rick Has Long, Low-Voiced Monologues

judith and rick walking dead The 12 Stages of Your Love/Hate Relationship With The Walking Dead


You know it’s true. Sometimes, you witness stretches of episodes where some may be full of speeches and low, rumbling voiced monologues, and then several episodes that stretch the span of the latest big war the group has found themselves in. And as much as everyone enjoys those legendary Rick Grimes inspirational speeches, you can only endure so much continuous dialogue in a TV show before it just gets boring. The action that inevitably follows often more than makes up for it, but in the moments of dealing with episodes so quiet that you have to turn the volume up louder just to remain conscious, you can’t help but wonder what’s keeping you going.

10. Considering Just DVR-ing The Episode And Getting To It Later – Or Never

Xander Berkeley and Lauren Cohan n The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 11 The 12 Stages of Your Love/Hate Relationship With The Walking Dead


Sometimes, it’s best to just put off watching those episodes that you know will drone on a bit more than others. And in the case of The Walking Dead, it’s totally normal to consider putting it off indefinitely, or for longer periods of time than the space between seasons. It also makes things easier when you can just leave something, walk away, and come back to it later with a fresh mind and point of view. The same can be said for The Walking Dead and the sort of less-than-exciting storylines or monologues it’s featured in the past. Who knows — maybe they’ll be more exciting if you can let it rest and go back to it later.

9. Telling Yourself That If The Last Few Episodes Were A Bit Dry, Then Something Good Must Be Coming

sam anderson walking dead The 12 Stages of Your Love/Hate Relationship With The Walking Dead


The odds are good enough to assume that anyway, right? The flow of the series tends to go in a somewhat formulaic way, in that they have almost an equation laid out as to how the episodes and seasons will play out in the long run. So if you have to deal with some of the slower episodes of The Walking Dead for a few weeks in a row, it’s probably safe to assume that for the next stretch of episodes, you’ll be gifted with something big. Like, say, a new group of survivors that are less than welcoming, or a big old mass of walkers ready to do the group in. The episodes filled with Carl’s angst and Daryl’s scowls often lead to major, major payoffs.

8. Yelling At The TV When Michonne Gets Cornered By A Horde Of Walkers

Michonne in The Walking Dead The 12 Stages of Your Love/Hate Relationship With The Walking Dead


Granted, this doesn’t happen nearly as often as it happens to pretty much everyone else on the show, and they’ve all had to deal with being the center of the walkers’ attention. But when you see a fan favorite like Michonne have her fate tested, you can’t help but let your real, inner Walking Dead feelings come out. It’s in these moments that you realize how much you’ve come to care about these characters, much to your own chagrin.

Because even though you might talk smack about it every other week, seeing your favorite character in danger of being savagely killed off is enough to reel you back in. But who can really blame you, right? If the entertainment Gods (aka the writers) deem this to be the end of your beloved zombie apocalypse survivor, then now is the time to yell and scream at the TV, as if they can hear you. And we all know that The Walking Dead likes to get rid of fan favorites. Ahem, Dale.

7. Realizing That The Same Scenario Is Starting To Replay Every Single Season

moral walking dead The 12 Stages of Your Love/Hate Relationship With The Walking Dead


It has to be said that The Walking Dead has developed a system and they’re sticking to it. And when they exercise this season-long system, it can get tedious, it really can. Simply put, the Walking Dead story line system entails Rick’s group coming upon a new colony or safe house, taking it upon themselves to settle there (or, you know, take over the place), directly or indirectly be the cause of a zombie hoard overrunning the place, and then getting split up in the thick of it all. The following episodes are then about the mini groups gradually finding their way back to each other. And from Hershel’s farm to Woodbury to Alexandria, it never seems to stop. And realizing that it’s happening yet again is like a slap in the face from the show that keeps pulling you back in.

6. Wondering How Long They Can Go On Like This

tara walking dead The 12 Stages of Your Love/Hate Relationship With The Walking Dead


Truly, with that formula (more or less) in nearly every new season of The Walking Dead, how can they go on like that and not finally start to rebuild a real society? Yeah, okay, there are plenty of walkers still milling around their world and starting over in any real way may be easier said than done, but there comes a point where you just have to wonder how much longer the storylines will so closely mirror each other — but with different character names and locations. Though admittedly, after almost ruining Alexandria, they haven’t yet destroyed it and left the place in ruins, so there’s that hope.

5. Realizing That You’ve Already Seen All Of This In At Least Three Zombie Movies Already

enid walking dead The 12 Stages of Your Love/Hate Relationship With The Walking Dead


Chances are, if you’re a Walking Dead fan, then you’re a fan of most things zombie. Which in this case can be a good thing or a very unfortunate thing. On the one hand, you probably enjoy everything about the walkers and their varying stages of awesome decay. But on the other hand, you’ve almost probably seen a similar group of zombie apocalypse survivors and bad guy humans in all of the zombie movies you’re already a fan of. Watching the same scenarios play out on The Walking Dead may not do much for you, unfortunately, despite the fact that this is more of a long-form series rather than a short-lived movie.

4. Considering Giving Up On The Show’s Repetitive Formula Altogether

twd The 12 Stages of Your Love/Hate Relationship With The Walking Dead


That’s right, we’ve finally arrived at zero hour, where you’ve been pushed to the point of threatening all of your friends who are major fan girls and boys that you’re just going to give up on the series entirely. To which they of course accuse you of not giving the show enough of a chance, or missing the bigger picture, or even being close-minded. Which, okay, may be within spitting distance of the truth, but there comes a point in this love/hate relationship with The Walking Dead that you really just have to consider throwing in the towel, given the emotional toll it seems to be taking on you. Of course that’s not what you want, being a huge Michonne/Rick shipper these days, but what needs to be done needs to be done.

3. Remembering How Much Time You’ve Already Invested On It

daryl beth walking dead The 12 Stages of Your Love/Hate Relationship With The Walking Dead


With a show that has gone several seasons with having tuned in to every single episode, DVR or live, you’ve got to admit that that is where some of that loyalty comes from. You saw Carl when he was just a kid with one mom and two dads (kind of), and you knew Carol back when she wasn’t this insanely tough, walker-slaying, warrior woman. When you get to the point of seriously considering dumping the show once and for all, you then probably come to the conclusion that if you’ve gone this far, you might as well continue on, right? There’s no way all that time could have been for naught.

2. Seeing A Rick-Daryl Scene That Actually Makes You Giggle (And Sucks You Back In)

Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 10 The 12 Stages of Your Love/Hate Relationship With The Walking Dead


In one of the more recent episodes, Rick and Daryl looked like they were actually having some sort of fun. Light-hearted moments like Rick blasting the radio (to his companion’s dismay) might have made you forget, if only for a moment, that The Walking Dead is a show about the struggles of survivors in a very different, and very dangerous, world. And it’s when you get to see things like this that you get sucked in all over again, and all your emphatic resolutions about leaving this show in your rearview for good go flying out the window. No one can blame you, though; their chemistry was kind of through the roof of that delivery truck that eventually wound up in the lake.

1. Enduring Another Bleeping Monologue That You Contemplate Fast Forwarding Through

The Walking Dead Season 4 Bob with zombies The 12 Stages of Your Love/Hate Relationship With The Walking Dead


Since the beginning, Rick has been all about those long, throaty monologues where he was either being super inspirational or talking about everything they had been through together and separately. And, as viewers, you watched and listened patiently enough, but by the current season, the show’s sixth, you can’t help but want to fast forward through the bulk of these similar speeches and get to the action. Or, at the very least, any “action” Rick and Michonne might be getting into these days. Hey, at least they gave us Richonne, right?

Which stage of the love/hate cycle are you currently in? Let us know in the comments below.