Wednesday, October 07, 2015
I just finished watching BREAKING BAD.
Didn’t catch it when it first came on. The buzz really didn’t really start until the second or third season – at least in my circles.
And you know how it is – you’d have to start from the beginning and set aside 20 hours, which is fine unless you have other more pressing obligations like Tetris.
So you figure – a) it’s probably not as good as people say, and b) you’ll get to it eventually (maybe once you’ve gotten to level 10).
Then more seasons go by, everybody’s talking about it, but now you’re 40 hours behind. You’d have to give up Tetris and baseball and the Roy Orbison concert they always show on PBS during pledge drives. So we're talking a major commitment here.
But now you really feel like an outsider. There’s this whole shared national experience that you’re not a part of and in fact, are actively avoiding since you're sure you’ll get to it someday and don’t want any spoilers.
The zeitgeist can be a cruel mistress when you shun her for Sportscenter.
As if I needed any more incentives to watch, I had met Bryan Cranston a few times and found him delightful, Aaron Paul was in one of our pilots, and I directed Jonathan Banks in a sitcom years ago. I saw them all at a TCA Awards dinner and they all remembered me fondly. So add guilt.
In fairness, I had a plumbing mishap last year that destroyed my ability to run Netflix on my living room flatscreen. And recently I put in a new system and it’s up and running again. (NOTE: water and electronic equipment mix as well as me and Kim Davis.)
So I finally bit the bullet and decided to binge-watch BREAKING BAD.
I don’t want to get too specific because part of the reason for this post is to encourage other procrastinators to finally hop on board, and I don’t want to spoil anything.
I’ll just say every character is rich and nuanced, anyone who doesn’t empathize with Skyler doesn’t have kids, if you’re considering getting into the meth business you might want to rethink it, no one in Albuquerque is safe (and that includes the Isotopes mascot), and Gus was the Barack Obama I thought I was voting for.
All of Bryan Cranston’s Emmys were richly deserved. Sorry Jon Hamm. In “Walter White” you see a man evolve into a chillingly scary monster. In “Don Draper” you see a successful guy who’s moody. Anna Gunn was sensational, Dean Norris can do no wrong, Bob Odenkirk was a riot, and Aaron Paul was a revelation.
You’re probably laughing because you knew all this three years ago. What am I going to praise next – the 2008 Summer Olympics?
I’m sorry I wasn’t part of the craze at the time. On the other hand, I don’t know if I could have watched this series off the air. I don’t know if I could have waited a week, or in some cases months, for a new episode. Binge-watching was the way to go.
Congratulations to Vince Gilligan and all the brilliant writers, directors, actors, prop people – everyone associated with this extraordinary series. If television can produce shows like BREAKING BAD there’s still hope -- for the medium... and us.
Yo, bitch, go watch it.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM