Breaking Bad

I have just recently gotten into the show Breaking Bad, and I’m officially past that point where “I watch it occasionally” to “I am fully addicted.” Poor choice of words perhaps, but there it is.

Here’s a synopsis of what the show is all about:

A struggling high school chemistry teacher, Walter White (Bryan Cranston), is diagnosed with incurable, Stage IIIA lung cancer. After seeing a former student, Jesse Pinkman, fleeing from the scene of a meth lab… Walt devises a way to provide financial stability for his pregnant wife, disabled son, and to pay for his expensive cancer treatment. Walt and Jesse combine their respective skills to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine.

This show’s popularity makes me think of “word of mouth” praise. Justin is the one who introduced the show to me, having had the show introduced to him by Kevin Pickard. Shortly after I finished the first season, I loaned my DVD’s to Jake for him to watch. Within about five days I got a call from him, letting me know that he was driving home from Best Buy, having just purchased Season 2.

Between me, Jake and Justin… I don’t think any of us are really TV-watching people. So I think it’s a testament to the show that we’re all three into it, and actively praising it to others. As others have made the recommendation to me, I guess that’s what I’m doing here… recommending it to you.

Justin’s description of the opening scene to the entire show is what sold me. It involves Walter White driving through the desert in an RV, with a gas mask on and with no pants on. Here’s the first few minutes of Episode 1:

The odd thing this series does to me: I find myself rooting for a Meth dealer. I find myself behaving a lot like Walt, where I’m rationalizing some pretty unconventional (and sometimes, downright bad) decisions. There is a greater good, somewhere underneath all of the bad… and it’s watching Walt struggle (shifting between right and wrong, good and bad) that really makes for an interesting show.

The first few episodes are… dark. Liz was watching the show with me, and stopped after 3 episodes in. While there are some violent moments, there are also several moments of drama as well. In more than one scene, where Walt is talking with doctors/family about his cancer… I found myself getting a little choked up. In addition to the action and suspense of the show, there’s also this underlying ticking clock of Walt’s mortality. You get reminded of it from time to time, and it suddenly re-focuses all the questionable and bad behavior going on. It reminds you that Walt is human, and that he’s slowly dying.

A part of me does wonder: how does this show end? Where does it go? Can a main character who creates and distributes methamphetamine, as much as we like him… can he actually prevail? Do we want him to prevail? This show is all about the end, justifying the means… and for those of us watching episode after episode, I’m guessing we all agree to that formula.

A few days ago, I noticed that Breaking Bad is now available on Netflix. First three seasons are up, and available for streaming.

The Wire: I’m Officially Hooked
West Wing: Crack In DVD Form
NBC.COM, Why Do You Suck So Much?


This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Truly it’s one of the best TV series I’ve ever seen. They do a great job of keeping in humor while still getting into really thorny ethical areas, and showing how a bad decision can avalanche into a series of catastrophes that invite more bad decisions.

    Walt is both a bumbling fool and a total badass.

    Paul Reply

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