“The Walking Dead” does a great job of showcasing what would happen to your facial hair if you were unable to access a razor on a regular basis. The varying types of beards and stubble that each male character exhibits also make it clear that everyone’s facial hair grows differently. For example, Rick was able to a glorious Yeard+ without even trying, but Glenn seemingly has barely been able to get past the stubble stage.
When Rick shaved off his amazing beard in the season five episode entitled “Remember,” it gave beard enthusiasts a reason to mourn and mentions of Rick shaving off his beard lit up the Internet this week. As you can see below from last Sunday’s episode of “Talking Dead” that followed “Remember”, many crewmembers grew their beard right along with Rick, and even shaved it off on that sad day that Rick’s had to go.
Gone was the brilliance of his Grizzly Adams appearance, and with it went a lot of Rick’s perceived strength and intensity. In fact, it would not be out of line to say that the character of Rick seemed to become emasculated as each hair from his beard fell into the sink. Fortunately for fans of the show, appearances can be deceiving, and Rick is clearly just as much of a badass as ever before. However, this does help point out the importance of having a beard in an apocalyptic situation.
Even the Ladies are Getting Beards
Sunday night’s “Talking Dead” episode even gave away a beard to one lucky lady member of the audience that got called to the stage to ask the talk show guests some questions. Hmmm…maybe beards will catch on with the females before long. Check out the crystal beards on these Paris runway models by clicking here if you don’t believe ladies can sport a stylish beard.
Beards Equal Toughness
When you think about the toughest characters on “The Walking Dead,” you are certain to have names such as Rick, Abraham, Daryl and Glen come to mind. These characters all have distinctive facial hair in common. Even Tyreese had a nice beard, and this ultimately made it much more surprising that he was portrayed in such a sensitive manner. Meanwhile, Glenn is known to be a smart but sensitive guy, and this is reflected in his baby face that is almost completely free of beard hair. In other words, “The Walking Dead” uses facial hair to clue the viewer into the personality of each character, and this also has an impact on how other people living in this zombie filled world initially view each of them.
The Symbolism behind Each Beard and Mustache
Andrew Lincoln fantastically portrays Rick, and “The Walking Dead” is primarily Rick’s story, and the growth of his facial hair throughout the first five seasons has corresponded perfectly with his personal evolution. In the beginning of the show, Rick was a genuinely nice guy who wanted to do the right thing, and his lack of facial hair made him seem kind and trustworthy. These qualities might be good for a cop in the real world, but they are a deadly liability when the law stops having any meaning. Each season highlights Rick’s transformation into an increasingly savage individual who will do anything to survive, and the size and condition of his beard plays a major role. After all, the length and fullness that his beard had reached by the halfway point of season five was thick enough to make Rick look very intimidating, and this helped keep other people at bay.
Actor Norman Reedus plays Daryl, and the goatee and mustache that he was sporting at the beginning of season one helped set the tone for where his character had come from, and it is no surprise that he has held onto these symbols of his former life. However, Daryl’s facial hair has been thickening a lot during the past season, and this is indicative of both his willingness to be tough for the group and his personal descent back into loneliness after the loss of Beth. Daryl’s emerging beard will almost certainly continue to grow in as he lashes out at the thought of settling into Alexandria, and it will serve as a constant reminder of his past.
The glorious ginger mustache that Abraham (played by former “Southland” actor, Michael Cudlitz) has been able to cultivate makes it clear that he could have a thick beard if he wanted. Unlike Rick and Daryl, though, Abraham has allowed Rosita to help him keep his facial hair in order. This is clearly symbolic of the character’s military past, and the fact that the mustache was allowed to get extremely bushy during the fifth season provides some insight into how far gone Abraham became for a while.
This deceased character played by Chad Coleman was able to initially hide some of his sensitivity behind a thick beard. When people first saw Tyreese, they automatically assumed that he would be very tough and difficult to beat because of his size and facial hair. Although Tyreese made some mistakes that had a big cost for the group, his beard camouflage did come in handy a few times.
Glen is played by actor Steven Yeun, and beard enthusiasts have noticed that, every so often, Glen has a patch of hair on his chin. Does this patch of hair pass off as a beard? Yes, it does. That patch of hair is known as a goatee and a good goatee is not judged by the thickness or fullness of the hair. A good goatee is used to add character to a guy’s face and Glen always has plenty of character.
Why Did Rick Shave Off His Beard?
It could be argued that Rick was simply tired of his wild man appearance, but this would be selling the character short. It is clear that Rick understands the need to look like less of a threat in order to fit in with the Alexandria group, and he also wants to be perceived as an ally. In other words, removing the beard could give him a tactical advantage because it will make people believe that he is still the kind and gentle man who wore a badge before the zombie apocalypse happened.
Rick is being very shrewd at this point, and he recognizes the power of the beard. According to a poll on “The Talking Dead,” fans of the show think he looks best with stubble or a full beard, so removing all of his facial hair has also reduced Rick’s level of sex appeal. Again, this will make him seem less threatening. Therefore, it was a good move from a leadership standpoint, even if it did make beard lovers cry out in anguish at the loss of so much growth. [SPOLIER ALERT] However, do not despair too much. If the TV show continues to follow the path of the original source material, Rick will eventually let his beard grow back. [/SPOLIER ALERT]
The Oddity of Norman Reedus
Daryl is a fan favorite, but he is also rather odd at times. Perhaps this is something that the character gets directly from the actor who portrays him. Norman Reedus is known to be a goofball who pulls a lot of practical jokes on set. Chris Hardwick discussed one of his recent escapades on Sunday’s episode of the Talking Dead, and according to the host, his latest odd request was to keep Andrew Lincoln’s beard hair after the actor cut it off onscreen as Rick. This hair is reportedly in a zip-lock bag inside Reedus’ freezer. Maybe he is planning to make a lot of money off of it by selling it on eBay after his time on the show comes to an end. Or the answer to this puzzle could be much more simplistic: maybe Reedus is simply jealous that his facial hair does not grow in with such wild abandon.
Growing a Beard During the Apocalypse
If you take one life lesson from “The Walking Dead,” let it be this: a thick beard will protect you in many unexpected ways. People are much less likely to target a man who has a wild yeard, and any amount of facial hair will make you appear more attractive to potential partners. All you have to do is consider how tough Rick has looked in each season based on the length of his beard to see just how important growing your facial hair out will be if you ever need to survive an apocalyptic situation.