Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Hey, you know what's a good show? BREAKING BAD

Okay, I admit it. I’m a little late to the party.

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.

OhmyfuckingGod!

It really IS as astounding as everybody says. Season one was good, by season two I was hooked, and the last two seasons knocked me on my ass. As interesting and complex as MAD MEN was, BREAKING BAD was in a whole different stratosphere. There were episodes in which I was literally breathless. Tetris be damned!

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.

It’s going to be tough transitioning back into real life. At least I have BETTER CALL SAUL to ease my re-entry.

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.

59 comments:

Joseph M. said...

Dear Ken,

I read an essay by a writer named Charlie Hauck (Maude, Frasier) that described how he got hired for "Maude". The producer asked him to write a single scene to see how he handled the show's characters. This led me to an important conclusion: comedy writing (at least for TV) is ultimately about scenes.

Why is this important? Because it underscores the value of outlining. To some, it seems like extra work. But as I'm working on an outline for a script idea, I realize that the outline divides the work of writing a script into smaller, simpler tasks. Writing a script without a good outline is like trying to drive two cars at once. An outline isolates the task of figuring out the plot of a script, allowing the writer to focus on writing funny scenes.

As I go to write my outline, it occurs to me: can I break this task into even smaller pieces? I decide to start with a handwritten synopsis, about a page or two. Then I write up a scene list, in chronological order and divided into acts. For each scene, I write what characters appear and where the scene takes place. Between these two steps, I've already done part of the work of writing an outline, making that task easier.

Outlining does the same thing for the actual script: the more work you put into the outline, the more detailed your "map" is, making it that much easier to actually write the script. For writers not comfortable with outlining, try approaching the subject with this frame of mind.

Jim S said...

Ken, Welcome aboard. As someone who watched "Breaking Bad" from that first episode on AMC that Sunday night back in 2008, I say there's always room for one more "Breaker". (I have no idea if that is the Breaking Bad equivilent of Trekkie, but let's go for it).

I also have to say that I also saw the first episode of Cheers, Seinfeld and The Tony Randall Show.

Vince Gilligan has commented on this. He said he knew Breaking Bad was a cable network show, so he wrote it like that. Act breaks had to work so that you'd be afraid to channel surf over the commercials. The last scene of show 22 had to make you want to watch the first scene of show 23.

David Cross, Bob Odenkirk's frequent comedy partner said he didn't start watching the show until after hearing about how well Bob was doing in it. He got hooked and didn't want to hear any spoilers from his old friend.

That's the beauty of Breaking Bad. It made you want to be at your TV set on Sunday at 9 p.m. None of this "I'll record it for later" or "I'll binge it once it's on Netflix or DVD." So when the last episode was over, I could actually talk about it with others without having to say "spoilers." It is so rare to have that communal experience.

And I am loving "Better Call Saul."

Jared said...

Agree about BREAKING BAD. Great series.

I'm not sure how or when people are able to binge watch as much as they do. People talk about binge watching entire seasons of this series or that series over the weekend. I never seem to be able to watch more than a couple of episodes of anything at a time. Granted, part of that is because there are three small children in the house, and they do rate a fair amount of my time. Another part of it is probably that I'm not good about being able to sit and stare at a screen for too long without feeling a strong urge to go outside and do something physical.

Jason said...

So you're saying I should watch it, then.

Just started Portlandia on Netflix, but maybe soon...

John Leader Alfenito said...

"Breaking Bad" had one of the best endings of any extended series, ever.
I know you couldn't have mentioned every actor who shined in this show, but props to Raymond Cruz as Tuco. Just wow.

caedex said...

Glad you finally joined most of the rest of the world in appreciating Breaking Bad. Just so you know, Better Call Saul is just as good (well, it's really damn close) in slightly different ways. It's a fantastic continuation, keeping up the tone and excellent writing and performances. Put down Minesweeper and watch it before season 2 starts.

Mike Barer said...

So, this gives me another opportunity to brag about Aaron Paul's Mother-In-Law going to High School with me.

Pete Grossman said...

Well, I guess I'll have to hop on the Breaking Bad bandwagon. I did see Brian Cranston on Broadway "All the Way" and was blown away. To do such a show 8 times a week for 3 freakin' hours? The guy is a fucking force of nature.

VP81955 said...

Someday, I hope people talk this way again about a sitcom, especially the multi-camera format. Is it possible, or has that ship sailed?

Anonymous said...

well I did not watch the show the first time around and my son moved to Albuquerque....he said it was a good show so I netflixed the show and was blown away---best writing and acting ever....oh since Cheers....no it was great---also did the BREAKING BAD tour---that was fun too...dan m.

Rock Golf said...

I watched and enjoyed the first two or three episodes live on TV, then missed a few and didn't come back until about season 3, when I caught a few episodes on an AMC all-day Sunday marathon. Then I was hooked. Bought the earlier seasons on DVD. Didn't miss an episode thereafter.
The season four (Gus) finale was literally jaw-dropping in more ways than one.
The third last episode (Ozymandias) was the nerve-wracking thing I've ever experienced. My hands were shaking the entire hour. It is the only episode in TV history to score a perfect 10/10 rating on IMDB.com, and that was with over 25,000 votes. (I see it's now dropped to 9.9/10 with 69,000 votes.

Terry said...

I was late to the party on Breaking Bad too. Started binge watching just ahead of the final season. And try as I might to get caught up before the finale, I just couldn't make it. So I had to hide in a cave for a couple of weeks after it aired and wait for the hype to die down so I didn't accidentally see any spoilers. It was worth it. One of the best finales ever.

Peter said...

I've yet to watch this too. I have to binge watch it at some point, along with THE WIRE, GAME OF THRONES and THE WALKING DEAD, which I've also missed out on so far. For a long time I actually thought the character in BB was called Bryan Cranston, as it's such a cool sounding "movie" name. I was so surprised when I learned it's the actor's real name. Walter White just doesn't sound as cool in comparison.

By the way, Ken, as I know you like having quirky/funny videos brought to your attention, I came across a great one yesterday. It was filmed in 2014 and is of an eccentric woman in Chicago berating a cyclist and then throwing a cup of water over him, which is witnessed by an off-duty cop. The cop is absolute gold to watch. He is such a character. He is so funny and cool in the way he handles the eccentric woman. I don't know if he's Jewish but his cadence and the way he speaks at certain points is reminiscent of classic Jewish comedians. The highlights include his response when she says she wants to sue the city and when he tells her "There's something wrong with you. I think the elevator needs repair." Someone should make a movie based on this guy. He mentions having been a cop for 24 years, so he'll have a ton of stories from his life as a police officer. Combine that with his persona, it would be hilarious. Anyway, here's the link. Enjoy!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEPx0N_jAa8

JPilot said...

Longtime reader, first time commenting.

What you don't see on Netflix is the promo for the Ozymandias episode that aired on AMC before the show. Bryan Cranston's voice over reading of Shelley's poem and the scenery of the New Mexican desert will raise every hair on your body. Find it on YouTube.

Jim Grey said...

It *is* a great show, full stop.

However, there were a small handful of episodes with scenes that I wish I could un-see, they disturbed me so.

I kind of felt like that broke the television contract. I am less upset when a movie disturbs me like that, but somehow I feel like TV should be safer somehow.

Chris G said...

We watched it, start to finish, in a couple of months last year. I've never seen anything like it. The final three episodes were each amazing in their own right - I agree with the praise for Ozymandias, but I thought Granite State was perhaps more brutal in its own way, and necessary to bring Walt to a point where the audience wasn't completely revolted by him.

Mitchell Hundred said...

I've heard it said that it's kind of of amazing how well the show turned out, considering how much of the plot the writers had to change on a dime. For example: Jesse was supposed to get killed at the end of Season One, but stayed around after the writers' strike truncated that part of the show. And Tuco was supposed to be the series' ongoing villain, but the actor wanted to leave earlier than expected, forcing the writers to bring in Gus partway through the series as a replacement antagonist (and of course, he became one of the best characters in the whole show).

Gary West said...

Loved "BB" the first time around - there was nothing better. Tried to watch it again - much later; but, Walter's (increasing) stupid behavior and bad decisions got the best of me. I thought - "This guy's an idiot - he deserves this."

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

I know the feeling. Fortunately, I caught up to Breaking Bad before it ended its run. One of the few shows that deserved purchasing the complete Blu-Ray set. Gorgeous cinematography by the great Michael Slovis. I could stare at the Albuquerque desert for hours and hours.

However, I was way too late when I finally binge-watched THE WIRE. Seven years after the fact. Nevertheless, I'm glad I watched it all the way through, late or not. Finished it just in time to catch David Simon's brilliant miniseries Show Me a Hero.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Ever wondered what Gustavo Fring was up to in the early 80s? Look no further than here, and direct yourself to the 3:00 mark:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3_V6Eh6QbE

GS in SF said...

Am I the only one who read your post and immediately thought of the song Cat in the Cradle? At least you got the second chance the dad never did.

Mighty Dyckerson said...
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flipyrwhig said...

I watched the whole series last summer. I told my wife that when I'm old and have lost the use of speech I want a bell attached to my wheelchair like Tio.

Aaron Sheckley said...

I see the blog admin beat me to the punch. Here I was, composing a nice response comparing a legitimate critic to a troll, and now the comment has been removed. It's like thinking up the perfect insult twenty minutes after the other person left the room.

Diane D. said...

I also binge-watched BREAKING BAD after the series ended, and was completely blown away. It's the most extraordinary show I have ever seen on Television (of that genre). Even though Walter White slowly turned into a monster, I have to say I never completely quit sympathizing with him. My adult children were horrified by this. AND, I also had less sympathy for Jesse than everyone else did. Reasons: Walter White, in spite of the unspeakable things he did, never seemed to totally lose his humanity--he continued to care about Jesse until the very end, he adored his children and had started the whole thing because of his concern for leaving them destitute when he died of cancer. In Jesse's case, everyone but me seemed to forget that he was ALREADY a Meth dealer before Walter White came into his life so he was well on the way to screwing up his life before WW came along. And the two things he did that sealed my opinion was when he was running his own little gang, they went to DRUG REHAB meetings to recruit customers--how monstrous is that! The second thing he did was get the woman he truly loved hooked on drugs again.

To VP81….In spite of all the praise and acclaim for BB (which I share), I do not think the ship has sailed on love for a good sitcom. It is still my favorite genre; just like Romantic Comedies are still my favorite genre of film (I hope I get to see yours before I die), even though I love films like SMOKE also. I would still rather sit down to one of my favorite episodes of CHEERS than almost anything else.


Hobbes said...

We watched the pilot when it first aired and knew the series was going to become something special. So glad it's received the well-deserved recognition and awards. My husband gave me the special edition box set after the series finished and it's a treat. If you get a chance to watch eps with commentaries from each season, do so! They are brilliant and almost as good as the episodes themselves. You get the sense that Vince Gilligan ran a tight ship and that everybody involved with the series was valued and respected.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,

Better late than never. Yup Breaking Bad is one of my top 3 all time, along with The Wire & The Shield. Loved all the actors, especially the ones that played Mike & Uncle Tio. My other favorites over the years: The Sopranos, Mad Men, Friday Night Lights, NYPD Blue, The X-Files, Damages, Luther, Narcos, Bloodline, Homeland, Ray Donovan, Alias, Justified, House of Cards, The Americans, The Fall. I'd include shows like 24, LOST & SOA but by the end they got so over the top ridiculous. Also I like Game of Thrones but I don't think it's great. Same with Boardwalk Empire- I liked it but gave up after S2. My 2 new shows I like are both from Showtime: The Affair & Masters of Sex. --LL

Terrence Moss said...

i'm in the minorority on this, but i still prefer "mad men" and jon hamm. cranston is hands down great, but he was also wonderful as the hapless dad on "malcolm in the middle".

Tom said...

Maybe it was a mistake watching Ozymadias (or at least trying to) a day or so after I got home from a week in the hospital that included three days in ICU, but holy crap. I had to turn it off and watch it weeks later. If you have or believe you are susceptible to PTSD, think twice.... That said, I eventually watched it (and Granite State, and the finale) but nothing I've ever seen on a screen, fiction or non-, affected me like that episode did. I still get slightly ill to my stomach thinking about it. All this is meant as a compliment, if that wasn't clear...

Covarr said...

Maybe I'm alone in this, but so far I've found Better Call Saul to be even better than Breaking Bad. Every bit as much nuance, but with the added benefit of something to root for, and more variety in tone.

Jon B. said...

Welcome aboard, Ken. There's room for everyone.

Roger M said...

I was fortunate in that I saw articles about Breaking Bad before it started. I was a big fan of Vince from x-files. So I was in early.

I listened to the podcasts after the fact. I think at the time, I thought they were supposed to be listened to while re-watching the show. (like dvd commentary) And I didn't have time for that. Only later did I learn they were to be listened to separately. There are some podcast episodes that are great, and others that could use some structure. But worth checking out for the fan. (these are the ones by Kelly Dixon, lest you stumble into any of the fan or tv critic podcasts).

I love that Ken likes some of the same tv I do. I dont know why. Maybe its cause it used to be people in tv never admitted to watching tv. Maybe its cause he likes things like The Middle like I do, and not just the critically acclaimed stuff you're supposed to love.

MikeN said...

Some other shows you might consider:

The Wire, Homeland, Babylon 5, The Shield, Twin Peaks, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Bill Simmons on his podcast when the Heatles were formed:
LeBron is Breaking Bad, Dwyane is Mad Men, and Rubicon is Chris Bosh.

Snoskred said...

I loved this show so much I wrote a blog about it. :) It is called Rewatch Breaking Bad. I just finished it a couple of weeks ago.

I agree with Roger M about the podcasts - they have taught me more about television than I thought I would ever know. I listened to all the commentary tracks too. Thanks to those, I have a mini Vince Gilligan in my head who says "That's a great shot" whenever I see a great shot.

If you listen to no other insider podcast, drop whatever you are doing and seek out the podcast for episode 213 - ABQ - there is an incredible story of trying to get one specific shot. I link to the mp3 files for each episodes podcast on my blog.

The show was absolutely amazing, but the podcasts added to so much to it and talked about every possible thing from show credits to transportation.

But now I must ask the important question - what did you think of the bottle episode "The Fly" - season 3 episode 10?

Finally, I just want to say how utterly perfect that Chrysler 300SRT was for the character of Walt. It was one of the few pieces of product placement they did on the show but it was done so well I did not mind it one bit.. Every time I see one I expect Walter White to get out of it. But it is usually some old bloke who probably never saw Breaking Bad at all! :)

MikeN said...

The first season of 24 is incredible.
However, for those who have watched later seasons, rewatch it and you will find it to be very slow and tedious.
Another series to catch up on is SportsNight.

VP81955 said...

To VP81….In spite of all the praise and acclaim for BB (which I share), I do not think the ship has sailed on love for a good sitcom. It is still my favorite genre; just like Romantic Comedies are still my favorite genre of film (I hope I get to see yours before I die), even though I love films like SMOKE also. I would still rather sit down to one of my favorite episodes of CHEERS than almost anything else.

I think many people would agree with you about sitcoms and romantic comedies, but many are loath to admit it because it isn't fashionable to TV snobs like David Bianculli and his decades-old obsession with "Twin Peaks."

And regarding my romantic comedy screenplay? I've rewritten it after some (justly deserved) critical feedback. The result? A tighter (96 pages, as opposed to the earlier 101), smarter script with more of an ensemble cast and a clearer protagonist vs. antagonist storyline. I'm beginning to contact potential producers, and hope to see get in touch with the agent for one of my dream leads. Keep your fingers crossed.

Albert Giesbrecht said...

You are one up on me, I have never seen any episodes, the same with Friends, I hear that's a groovy show as well.

MikeK.Pa. said...

I was lucky. My son urged to watch when Season 3 was about to begin. Took me two full weekends to watch Seasons 1 and 2 to catch up. Glad I did. The opposite is true for MAD MEN. Watched Season 1 throughout. Started losing interest in Season 2 and clicked off thereafter. Might have to revisit it one day, but too many other shows on now that I'm trying to stay current with.

Sharon said...

I forced myself to watch the entire first season as it aired, and then haven't watched it again. It just isn't for me. Yes, the acting is very good, but it's so unrelentingly dark. It was clear from the start that there was no way this was going to end except badly for any of the characters and I wasn't interested in going on this journey with them. As I like to say, everything's not for everybody.

James said...

I liked Breaking Bad, but I still give the edge to Mad Men because, at least for me, Mad Men seemed to take place in a world that I recognized: I grew up in the tail end of the era and I recognized people and attitudes and behaviors. Breaking Bad had too many fun but unlikely coincidences that ruined the "reality" of it for me (e.g. the mid-air collision). I enjoyed it and respected most of it, but I bonded with Mad Men.

Diane D. said...

VP81955

Thanks so much for the update on your screenplay! I will assuredly keep my fingers crossed.

Yes, I know that many people (especially 30 something cinephiles) won't allow themselves to go to a Romantic Comedy or watch Sitcoms, but I believe they will rediscover their value when their children grow up and have nothing but disdain for their taste in film and TV. In the mean time I pity them for what they're missing. Many sitcoms are bad, but that is no reason to give up on the whole genre.



Anonymous said...

Ken, you've outlined all the reasons I also never got on the BREAKING BAD bandwagon when it was on air. That your assessment of Don Draper and MAD MEN (which I lost interest in after the third season) also align with mine motivates me to just watch it--next summer during vacation.

--Orleanas

Mighty Dyckerson said...
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VP81955 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

I started Breaking Bad on the Friday of Labor Day weekend during its last season. It was 3 weeks before the series finale. I caught up to broadcast before the finale (something like 59 hours of TV). My family thought I'd left them. Clients were calling wondering where their reports were. I skipped sleep and ate while watching. I could not stop watching this show. I've NEVER been obsessed with a show like this. Once the finale aired (and I watched it live), I told my wife about it. I then rewatched the entire series again with her. I went through the series twice in about 6 weeks. And let me tell you, it was, in many ways, better the second time. I caught lots of details that I missed the first time. It was just brilliantly put together.

Jabroniville said...

Anna Gunn had kind of a thankless role at times- "The Wife Who Hates Her Husband's Job" is really hard to do in a new way, and most of her job in the last couple years was crying and/or complaining. Her character remained understandable (I mean, her husband is a DRUG KINGPIN, and she has innocent children about), but it could get grating at times.

I wasn't as taken with Pinkman as everyone else was- I found him annoying and a bit too much of an unlikable turd a lot of the time.

I was surprised when I finally watched the series (after it was already over), because I was expecting Heisenberg to be this cool, collected, demonic figure- basically a competent super-villain. Instead, I was shocked at how pathetic he seemed a lot of the time- begging, pleading and being whiny. It made you disgusted by him at times, which I think was the point. He wasn't Darth Vader- he was a wimpy teacher thrown into crazy circumstances.

Blair Ivey said...

I appreciate your comments on 'Breaking Bad'. Because I haven't had TV since 2010 (by choice: I'm not in prison), I haven't seen any of the shows that make the popular buzz. I'm sure they're good shows, and popular for a reason, but I just haven't been interested.

That said, I'm not sure that a show that takes an entire season to hook the viewer is all that and a bag of chips. You've written many times that a show, and especially a pilot, has to hook the viewer in a few minutes. The last show I saw that did that for me was 'Firefly' waaaay back in 2005 (I know it aired in 2002, but I was late to the party). I watched five minutes of a show I'd never heard of and was hooked in five minutes; primarily because of the razor-sharp dialogue.

While I was pre-disposed to like this show: I'm a sci-fi fan and enjoy movies from the 30's and 40's where the dialogue *is* the action, the show told good stories with engaging characters. I liked 'The Sopranos' for the same reason: it was the only reason I subscribed to HBO. And as you've stressed over the years, it's all of a piece. Storytelling is how humans communicate, and good storytelling is timeless.

Maybe I should check out Netflix.

Barry Traylor said...

I also avoided this show the first season due to the fact that I'd read the main character (Walter White) was dying from cancer which sounded like a major bummer to me. Because my son was raving about the show (plus he more or less twisted my arm to watch it) I gave it a try and was I ever hooked.

MikeN said...

James, it's not a coincidence. It was caused by the actions. There are hundreds of people impacted, so one of them was likely to result in something bad. The coincidence is them highlighting the negative.

Barry in Portland said...

Ken, you'll love Jimmy Fallon's parody:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duKL2dAJN6I

Uncertain Woman said...

I think Breaking Bad is not only one of the best written and acted shows of all times, but the best plotted. I could swear that every episode, every season was plotted out from start to finish from the very beginning. Every twist and turn, every development seemed perfectly thought out.

I'm right there with LL sharing many of your favorites, especially FNL. Hope The Americans keeps up the high quality it has established.

I agree with MikeN that the fist season of 24 was amazing. I binge watched it back when it first came out on DVD, and I remember that feeling of excitement -- my husband and I turning to each other and asking "wanna watch another?" But I'm not at all surprised to hear it comes off as slow nearly 15 years later.

For those who haven't watched it yet, I highly recommend Unreal. Please ignore that it is a Lifetime show -- it seems more like something from HBO or Showtime to me.

Johnny Walker said...

Breaking Bad had me at episode 1. The pilot was BRILLIANT. But there's one thing you didn't mention, Ken: The show could be absolutely hilarious. (I doubt anyone who hasn't seen the show is reading this far down the comments, so I don't feel bad about spoiling a little bit) Prime example is where Jesse has to try and become a "bad ass" in order to scare a couple of meth heads. He's in his own little world, trying to get tough, when the cheery postlady pops by. Watching him instantly break character was just brilliant.

Better Call Saul isn't so great. It's very slow, with no immediate hook, and takes a long time to pay off, but it is worth a watch.

Next up: THE WIRE (right?)

Johnny Walker said...

Also, I never got the Anna Gunn hate. Her character makes perfect sense: Her husband is clearly lying to her, suddenly, after years of marriage, and she can't get to the truth. What would a wife do in that instance? Just go along?

Brilliant show. Vince Gilligan is some kind of genius (and apparently amazingly nice to work for).

Bob in the UK said...

The BB pilot is a work of genius in every respect - writing, acting, direction, cinematography, music, editing. It's just brilliant. There are people who claim that the show only gets going in season 2, but I shared Ken's experience of the show even in those early episodes - staring open-mouthed at the screen, forgetting to breathe, so caught up in the tension. That experience is almost unheard of for me.

Personally, I think the final season is the weakest by a long way (although Ozymandias and its two-episode epilogue is a return to a high point).

A big shout out to Bryan Cranston - as accomplished and talented as Walt as he was as Hal in the criminally underrated Malcolm in the Middle. Two very different roles, but he brings the same simple truth to his performance - there is comedy in pathos, and there is pathos in comedy. A fantastic performance.

Also, the MitM episode I watched the other day had Hal in a motorhome outside a house tented due to exterminators, and ultimately wearing a gas mask to enter the building. Suddenly, the alternative ending Cranston filmed doesn't seem quite so outlandish...

kelly childress said...
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ChicagoJohn said...

This made me think of a Friday question that I've always wondered about:
Occasionally, I see a show that sends me into a writing frenzy. The show is sooo f*#king good that I'm inspired and jealous at the same time.

1) does this happen to you?
2) what shows have "sent you writing"?

Andrew said...

And he was even great as the dentist on Seinfeld. The man can do no wrong.

Jeremy R. said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the show. It was pretty awesome. Being the music fans that we are, but not wanting to spoil anything, I remember having goosebumps and tears at the final song. Perfect choice. What did you think?

Jeremy R. said...

Ken Levine hasn't seen The Wire yet?

sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit.

-Clay Davis