Raise Your Hand if You Love BREAKING BAD

…And tell us why.

by Larry Brody

 Today’s Big BREAKING BAD News is that the show won two Critics’ Choice Television Awards yesterday. Bryan Cranston won the “Best Actor in a Drama Series award” and Giancarlo Esposito won “Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.”

I found this especially interesting in light of my ambivalence about the show. Ambivalence I was forced to face (okay, not really “forced,” but, you know, I thought about it a little) when TVWriter™ contributor Robin Reed posted her opinion on the TVWriter.Com Facebook page (which y’all should be visiting regularly anyway, but you already know that).

I’m thinking the FB conversation deserves to be seen by more people. So I hope you’ll read on and jump in, either here or on Facebook.

Robin Reed:
Breaking Bad confessions: I started watching BB on Netflix because a writer I know on Facebook raves about it almost every day. After a few shows Walt is offered money for his cancer treatments by his young former business partner who got rich while Walt got squat. I understood that Walt’s pride wouldn’t let him accept the money as long as he thought his meth business would raise enough money. But then he made a conscious choice to kill people rather than accept the money. Maybe it’s just me, but the show lost me at that point. I might follow a man into the depths who had no choice, but when he chose to be a murderer and he had a way out, I couldn’t watch any more.
Like · · Sunday, June 17 at 6:42pm

TVWriter.Com: I have a BREAKING BAD problem myself. I find it ugly. I find it to be about unstable people making decisions no stable person would make and harming others in the process.

Many of my friends love the show, and I’ve learned it’s because they don’t view it through the same filters I do. They’re looking for dry comedy, and to them it comes through. Walt killing the guy, Walt trying to figure out what to do with the guy who’s alive, the bathtub being reduced to rubble and pulped flesh – they just think those are funny moments, not related to real humanity. In fact, one of the BB fans I respect most just flatly said that he watches the show just the way he would watch an old Loony Tunes cartoon, only with humans playing the parts.

That being the case, I’d rather see this thing with funny animals. Maybe then I could laugh too. (But first I’d have to “unsee” what I’ve already seen with humans.) Maybe we’re just plain wired “wrong,” Robin. What do you think?
Sunday, June 17 at 6:50pm · Like

Robin Reed: Actually I could get into a cartoony story with real death, but it would have to make its intentions more clear. BB is presented as a real drama with characters we’re supposed to care about.
Sunday, June 17 at 6:54pm · Like

TVWriter.Com: But its fans don’t know that. So why is their interpretation different from ours? Of course, the same buddy who explicated BB for me also loves DOC MARTIN, the English medical series about a doctor who cannot relate to humanity on any level. Knows everything but can’t be anything but an ass to his girlfriend, kid, patients, etc.

When I told him I wasn’t watching anymore because I couldn’t stand the way the Doc hurts everyone who loves him, my friend was astounded. “But I don’t want him to change. His coldness is what makes him so funny!” (And, no, it’s not generational. He’s just a couple of years younger than I am.

This is a mystery I really want to solve. Maybe it calls for a TVWriter™ post/discussion?
Sunday, June 17 at 8:30pm · Like

Robin Reed: Maybe we’re more sensitive in our old age.
Monday, June 18 at 6:53am · Like

TVWriter.Com: Or we’re not really proper human beings and never were?
Monday, June 18 at 7:05am (23 hours ago) · Like

Daniel Davison: I LOVE, with a capital LUV, BREAKING BAD! I feel it is a fantasy/cautionary tale for middle aged men, *gulp*, like me. It allows folks like us to both watch and play along with the damaged Walt, also *gulp*, like me, whose sad past, includes a best friend stealing his ideas AND love of his life, ends up teaching high school chemistry to a bunch who won’t, and worse, CAN’T appreciate what he has to offer…. on and on…

Yeah, he becomes a shitheal, but he becomes a shitheal who feels he finally has power over his own life and actions; something he’s never had before. That power is never real, and in order to keep it, Walt has to break badder at every turn. I’m sure, in the long run Walt is doomed to Hell, but I love the ride.

Mostly because I get to watch it and not live it.

I had a love/hate thing with the Sopranos precisely because of the kind of stuff you talk about. With BB it’s pure unadulterated love.
Monday, June 18 at 10:23am (20 hours ago) · Like

Daniel Davison: I also was a chemistry major at one point. So that makes the “it’s about me thing” even stronger.
Monday, June 18 at 10:24am (20 hours ago) · Like

TVWriter.Com I had no problem with THE SOPRANOS because they were hurting/killing assholes even bigger than they were. Well, except for Adrianna, I guess.
Monday, June 18 at 11:07am (19 hours ago) · Like

Author: LB

A legendary figure in the television writing and production world with a career going back to the late ’60s, Larry Brody has written and produced hundreds of hours of American and worldwide television and is a consultant to production companies and networks in the U.S. and abroad . Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys, Writers Guild Awards, and the Humanitas Award.

3 thoughts on “Raise Your Hand if You Love BREAKING BAD”

  1. I still have only seen one episode of The Sopranos, but I think if I saw more I would just assume they would kill people since they were gangsters to start with. I just had trouble with Walt’s transition in Breaking Bad when he had a way out, even one that he hated.

    1. It’s weird, what inhumanity (for lack of a better term) we’ll endure in a TV show – and what we won’t.

      As I think back, not only did I have no problem going along with THE SOPRANOS, I also dove right into DEXTER and THE WIRE but couldn’t handle THE SHIELD. And I love all the various versions of Dracula, mostly in novels, where he avenges wrongs without batting an eye at the ones he commits in the process.

      So I’m not really sure why BREAKING BAD creeps me out, or even DOC MARTIN. Maybe I need counseling?

  2. I love Breaking Bad. I don’t view it as a cartoon, but I don’t root for any of the characters, either. In fact I tend to root against the “bad guy as main character”, just like in Sopranos and Affleck’s “The Town”. Breaking Bad delivers more than the others, though, because it just keeps getting worse and worse for the main character.

    I don’t really see Walt’s decisions as unrealistic. He experienced total freedom (nothing left to lose), and got addicted. Real criminals commit worse and worse crimes to avoid going back to prison. Spouses kill each other and make it looks like an accident instead of just getting a divorce.

    I can see how people might need a person to root for, though, in order to invest in a television show. But rooting against can be just as fun. That’s why so many people are tuning into the NBA Finals, and the ratings are dropping as it looks more and more like Miami is going to win.

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