I love tv. In a major way. I remember shows from when I was a kid. I actually am baffled by people who don’t remember the shows they or their parents watched growing up. One of my earliest memories is watching the Mickey Mouse Club and desperately wanting a Mickey Mouse watch for Christmas – the one where Mickey’s in the middle and his arms are the hands of the watch. I got it. Yay mom and dad. I remember lazing around during the summer before cable, VCRs and remotes and watching I Dream of Jeannie, I Love Lucy and hating when Leave It to Beaver came on. I remember my parents watching The Rockford Files, Quincy and The Honeymooners. I remember in high school, when Twin Peaks debuted and everyone at school talked about the super weird show on tv. Periods of my life are partially defined by the tv I was watching at the time and conversely some shows bring me back to those periods.
I have previously talked about my slavish devotion to The Simpsons. My love for tv shows continues today although with what I hope is a more informed and appreciative point of view. What I’m trying to say is I think tv is awesome and Breaking Bad may be the awesomest of the awesome.
I used to think, believe, preach that The Wire was the best show ever. Among many shows worth watching, The Wire should be watched. Its portrayal of the complexity of drugs in America legitimizes the tv series format. This story could not and should not have been told in a film, or in a book. It needed the time allowed by a series and the visual impact of filmed medium. The fourth season is one of the best on tv ever and Omar is a character for the ages. But for all its formidable strengths, there are episodes and even seasons that are weaker including the final fifth season. I think two is the weakest – not be confused with bad as there are no bad seasons of The Wire – but it dipped again in the somewhat rushed/compressed final season.
Breaking Bad however may be the best ever. I think every season has been better than the last and I don’t think there’s been a wasted minute since the start of season 4. How many shows can you say that about? I’ve rewatched every episode this season immediately after it airs because there’s so much to absorb. And I’ll watch it again as a whole after this first half of season 5 is done.
I never know where this show is going. I will just stop trying to guess. Every minute demands attention. Don’t get up to get a drink during this show. Don’t check your phone. You WILL miss something. The show goes beyond surprising me – it intimidates me. This show is much smarter than I am. If you haven’t watched it, it’s not about a guy who gets cancer and starts to cook meth to cover medical bills and take care of his family. That is a very small part of the story. Breaking Bad is about men. All types of men – young and old, powerful and powerless, vicious and kind. It’s about power, manipulation, and ego. Raul – you are talking a lot about Self with Dollhouse. I think Breaking Bad is the ultimate show about Self – how you define your Self, how you let others define it, and reconciling the two. Or not. This show – so far – has been about the rise and fall of men. This is not to diminish the women on the show. Everyone and every character is excellent. But it really just about guys and the many faces of “what it means to be a man”.
The vision of its creator Vince Gilligan is absolute. The fact that he has said from the beginning that this show would be five seasons and that the show will be five seasons says a lot. He has a story to tell, knows how he wants to tell it and that’s that. AMC is milking the fifth season by splitting it in half and stretching it out over a year but maybe that’s a good thing to have new Breaking Bad episodes in my life a little longer.
I’ve heard Gilligan is a control freak on the show but if this is the result he can be the biggest tyrant dick ever for all I care. And if it’s any indication, and I think it is, I’ve seen some of the best fan work for the show. Including
The Simpsons Breaking Bad Mashup I wrote about previously
The Breaking Bad paper dolls done by the inspired Kyle Hilton. I want to be friends with this guy.
And the Breaking Bad LEGO rendering. I particularly love little concerned Jesse and Gus with the chicken leg.
Even Breaking Bad fans are awesome! I will relish these final episodes of Breaking Bad. I will be curious to see how I will look back on this time but I will surely have only fond memories of being amazed by this brilliant show.