Dan and I reached the end of Breaking Bad last night.
I will admit, the last season was an exercise in watching to get to the end. Don’t get me wrong: if you like amazingly compelling television, Breaking Bad fits the bill. The writing and acting are amazing, the best television I’ve ever experienced. Did Aaron Paul ever win an Emmy for that show? Because he should’ve. Jesse Pinkman was by far the most layered, complicated character Breaking Bad gave us. He broke my heart — or, conversely, my heart broke for him — again and again.
I would recommend Breaking Bad if you asked me. Sure, go ahead and watch it.
Just don’t count on making it part of time with your spouse that will leave you with any desire to do a thing once it’s over.
Even when Dan and I were snuggled up together on one of our couches to watch Bryan Cranston’s decent into ego maniacal, obsessive ruthlessness, it was less about any kind of physical intimacy than clinging comfort. It’s not a sexy show — it’s the antithesis of sexy. It is almost completely devoid of sex, first of all. Second, Bryan Cranston in his tightie whities is not Channing Tatum in Magic Mike.
As Dan pointed out last night, “It’s almost a joke by now how often we see Walt in his underpants.” That would be a supercut to avoid.
The other way Breaking Bad left no room for intimacy with my spouse is because we kept staying up late to watch it, making me too tired to get down. Not to mention that… well, Breaking Bad episodes often end with a stunning event that sucks all the energy out of the viewer in a big, rushing whoosh.
Here’s the part where I issue my *SPOILER ALERT*. If you haven’t watched Breaking Bad yet, and think you are interested — and, again, I do recommend it — you should stop reading now, and come back in a couple of days when I’ve posted something else.
My Thoughts on Breaking Bad, In No Particular Order
It’s hard to rank Breaking Bad characters in terms of likability. It’s actually nearly impossible. Excepting Walt Jr. and Holly, all of the characters were deeply, fatally flawed men and women whose motives and decisions were questionable at best. The majority of the characters exist on a sliding scale from sociopath to full-blown psychopath.
The levels of tragedy in Breaking Bad are nearly Shakespearean. I mean, no one survives, not really, even if they are still alive at the end of the show. Most people die. Even if a character doesn’t bite it by “Felina”, their lives are irrevocably ruined. It’s rather breathtaking.
I will confess: I never did get the hate for Skyler. As far as the flawed characters on this show goes, she was kind of a lightweight. I think maybe because of her greed? Her attempts to control the situation and her husband? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll see if Twitter can enlighten me.
Watching a television show that is on Netflix with one’s spouse is an interesting exercise. Because of our schedules, Dan and I didn’t get to binge watch Breaking Bad. I think the most episodes we watched in one night together was three. And that probably only happened twice.
Now, Dan did go on a couple of watching binges at a couple of points. It’s very compelling television, and I only got through one or two episodes at night before I went to bed. At one point in Season 3, he asked me to let me know when I was watching because even though he had gotten ahead, he wanted to start watching with me again. He especially wanted to watch the end of “Half-Measure” in Season 3 with me because he wanted to see my reaction. Which I believe was, “HOLY FUCK!… Walt is in so much trouble.”
While the character Jesse Pinkman was a champion of protecting children from the fallout of the drug trade, the writers of Breaking Bad didn’t hesitate to kill them off. I fully expected Holly to die (she doesn’t). I think I cried the most over the children, just like Jesse. The little boy in Spooge’s house, Brock’s brush with death, the boy on the dirt bike. Those situations were wrenching.
I think the thing I said the most in Season 5 while watching was, “I hate this show.” It never occurred to me to stop watching though, not when we’d come this far.
The finale was, I admit, a little too neat for me. Walter ties up his loose ends; he gets to tell Skyler where Hank’s body is; he gets to tell Lydia he’s killed her; and he gets to off the gang of psychopathic felons who stole his money and killed Hank. Seriously, why doesn’t Kenny look in the fucking trunk? Although I totally cheered when Jesse strangled Todd (“that Opie dead-eye piece of shit”). That death I was just fine with.
And, still, even with the too-neat ending where Walter both wins and dies, I’d recommend it. Fantastic television, compelling storytelling, and the acting was off the charts.