Monday, September 30, 2013

Breaking Bad

Did you watch Breaking Bad last night? If you didn't, and you care, don't read this.

I never thought I'd become so involved with a show about drug dealers, but I have to admit, Breaking
Bad is one of the best television shows I have ever seen. What could have been a trite and mundane program was done with meticulous skill that turned it into something truly unusual. My husband, who can predict any story fairly early in, was often surprised by the plot twists in this show, and the surprises were relentless. Thankfully we began watching on Netflix after season three had already aired and we were able to marathon the show, often until 3 or 4 in the morning because the cliffhangers kept us saying, "Well, just one more episode before we go to bed."

It took me a while to get interested. While the pilot episode had me interested and the acid bathtub with Crazy 8 maintained my interest, I wasn't sure where this show was going and I wasn't completely hooked until Tuco Salamanca. But once it got me, it had me, and with repeated viewings I picked up on all of the details that came together to make a really brilliant show work.

I mean, how great was Todd's ringtone for Lydia? "Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, say have you met Lydia?
Lydia the taAAtooed lady?" There have been many old movie references in the show in the past, from Walt and Jessie watching The Three Stooges after a cook to Hank watching The Caine Mutiny, and now this highly appropriate use of Groucho Marx's signature song. It gave me a chuckle in the middle of a very serious scene without ruining the tension. That takes talent.

And what about the great music choices in general? In the recent past we had "Crystal Blue Persuasion," a mellow song cleverly used as the backdrop for some pretty grisly stuff. And of course, the grand finale, Badfinger's "Baby Blue," which could have been written by Walter White himself.

There are so many great moments in this show. The ATM episode was the first episode that I felt was perfect from start to finish. Badger telling an undercover cop that if he swears he is not a cop, that he'll sell him drugs. Gus Fring in general. Walt and Walter Jr. in their brand new sports cars. Then, just as things seemed to be winding down in season five, we get the train episode. Perfection. We knew that the bad guys would have to be punished, so the series finale tied up everything we knew had to be coming but still managed to throw in a few badass moments (Walter waltzing into Gretchen and Elliott's house looking at family photos, and his homemade automatic car gun).

Now that it is all over, I am sad, but happy that such a show existed and was so well-recieved by critics and audiences alike. Too often, great TV is dismissed in favor of tired sitcoms and another rendition of CSI, or it is given one season before the plug is pulled. Breaking Bad is one of the rare instances of a show that got to live, breathe, and die on its own schedule. Here's to Breaking Bad!