Judge John Hodgman Episode 45: Apocalypse Row


Pop Quiz: The super-pocalypse is imminent --the zombies have already crawled out of their graves and infiltrated the capitol. Volcanic earthquakes have devoured the coastal cities in flames and you realize you’re no longer safe in your home. Where do you go?

Carrie and her husband Phillip are at odds like billionaires and the 99%. The dispute of whether or not to Occupy Wal-Mart is at such a fever-pitch the four horseman are breaking a sweat. Phillip has a military background and believes that the most logical plan is to take control of a nearby Wal-Mart which is fully stocked with food, ammunition and has cold storage. It’s also easily defensible.

Carrie, on the other hand, feels that a more holistic approach to fleeing the locust swarm is the answer. She posits that Wal-Mart on Black Friday is already like the rapture and that the best medicine is to stay away. With abundant farmland and plenty of Natural Resources nearby, a return to nature will provide a safe haven.

Should they batten down the hatches and roll back the prices or live off the valley in the shadow of death? Only one brave man (who’s actually written a book about just this sort of thing) can decide! Judge-ment-Day John Hodgman



From Phillip

Two photos showing Phillip's readiness to lead his group to security (and hopefully, safety). This is Phillip -- "Sarge," as he's known to the townspeople -- in his vehicle.

An aerial view showing his proximity to the Walmart. His neighbor is one of the folks included in his emergency plan.


Walmart for sure

I think Sarge's plan is fine, assuming that he and Chip don't try to actually take over the Walmart for their families alone. They live so close that they can get their soon enough to help decide how to defend it from the zombies/infected/aliens. Stockpiling a few non-perishables in their homes is of course a good idea, but actually renting a storage unit and stocking it would be extravagant.

Walmart will surely be the gathering place for survivors, so it makes good sense to go there at least to get an understanding of the situation. Who knows? Maybe their town will be early victims and the Walmart will be mostly empty. How silly would you feel pooping in a bucket for a year only to discover that Walmart was only occupied by a handful of people that whole time?

Of course, you won't catch me at Walmart. I'm going to commandeer the first Porsche 911 I can find and drive around looking for hot babe survivors, then take over a school. There won't be as much food as a Walmart, but it will have its own swimming pool for the babes.


What an awesome episode. My girlfriend and I often talk about the apocalypse, except none of us own guns or have served in the army.

I didn't hear any suggestion of changing your life now: leave the city and prepare a mostly self-sufficient life. Wouldn't this best prepare you for the total collapse of everything?

Or how about at least boning up your farming, hunting, and making-shit skills?

Or is this totally crazy?


The Postman

Carrie here... I'm happy to report that Phillip/Sarge bought the Postman to add to our survival bunker kit; and that we watched it last night. Mr. Hodgman, I now understand so much more.

They Live!

Whilst clearing the docket, I think Judge Hodgman made reference to a book on the ethics of John Carpenter's They Live. Was he referring to the "Deep Focus" series of long-form criticism? If not, what other information can be used to identify this book?

p.s. I do not have a database or databases of films I have seen, or a list ranking them.

In defense of hoarding

Consider also, that in a somewhat slower (and more plausible) collapse of civilization, the Walmart will likely be emptied of all useful merchandise before its inevitable demise. Picture your local grocery store immediately prior to any impending severe weather alert. :P (bemusement or disappointment?)


Phillip is hot in his jeep even though I dislike weaponry or jeeps!

I Don't Wanna Grow Apocalypse

I would avoid Walmart, the woods, or any survivalist strategy for that matter. I would try to enjoy my last days to the fullest. The Toys•R•Us located adjacent to Otto's Liquor Barrel is where I'll make my last stand--a mile of Hot Wheels track, Red Vines, Jameson and a couple Twilight sleeping bags zipped together, large enough for me and Emily Brewster!

I know this is nitpicky and silly but...

A great podcast, but I do have a nitpicky point. At one point Judge Hodgeman describes the Occupy Wall St. movement as "people who think that society owes them a living". Having participated in this a little bit (by speaking to people encamped) I didn't get this at all. What I got was that OWS was about not having crippling student debt/an underwater home follow you around for years and years while the rich get tax cuts and bailouts at your expense. Mostly it's about fair treatment of everyone.

Yes, I know it was only one line in the entire podcast but it really stuck out at me and I felt compelled to correct it. Other than that, "keep on rockin' Judge Hodge".

fast zombies

I thought 28 Days Later introduced the fast zombie.

28 Days Later

You seem to be operating under a misapprehension. 28 Days Later is an outbreak movie. There are no zombies of any kind in 28 Days Later, only infected, living, breathing, people.

Fast Zombies

I recently watched Return of the Living Dead (ca. 198...something. Anyway, it predates 28 Days Later). Return had running zombies. Although, Return also had talking zombies, and zombies that could think and reason. Therefore, I would say that its contribution to the zombie mythos was small. Because I have yet to come across a zombie movie/television show/book that has such zombies.

Actually, come to think of it, you could make the argument that in the first film, Night of the living Dead (ca. 196... something), there was a running zombie--well half running, half stumbling. This occurred in the cemetery when the two insufferable characters are attacked.


I did not mean to paint the entire Occupy movement with that particular brush; rather, one of the reasons I find it fascinating and often inspiring (though occasionally silly) it the fact that it cannot be painted or pigeonholed with any number of brushes.

So accept my apology--I was making a joke based on a caricaturization that is already a cliche in order to point out that Sarge was acting as though the world owes him survival options.

That is all.



Thank you for clarifying, Your Honor. I figured you were being facetious, but I admit the line struck me funny as well.