Monday, September 30, 2013

Breaking Bad (as required by Internet Rule # 47854b)

Ramblings Post #240
There are certain Rules. You don’t put pineapple on a pizza. Chocolate is the best flavor. You don't buy beer, your rent. Reading is fundamental. You don't hit a girl. Two plus two equals five for large values of two. You don't talk about fight club. And if it is a hot topic, your blog must comment on it...if only in passing. So, today, we discuss a television show I never really saw.

He was the danger - (pic from Huffington Post via AMC)

I have watched a few clips and maybe one and half episodes of Breaking Bad. Well, the second half of one episode and then the episode that followed it in the marathon I stumbled into. As it happened, the whole episode I did happen to see was the where they killed off Gus Fring, and had I completely understood what was going on - I did to read the Wiki later -  I would have been much more impressed than I was just piecing things together.

I think it was because I missed the beginning of the series that I was never really able to get into it, but there were still other things I was kinda irked about. The original premise - Schoolteacher with cancer turns crime to provide for his family after death - just smelled wrong. I'd already seen the lead character with cancer trope go wrong for Showtime, because if the show becomes popular and you need more seasons, the quick fix is the cancer goes into remission, whoosh! It's a way too easy writer out, and wrecks the motivation aspect. But then most television writing has to be so conditional...the afore mentioned ratings, character popularity, who agreed to come back next season, etc...that a writers room can churn out something worth watching nothing short of extraordinary.  Still, I don't appreciate "trapdoors" like that. I expect more creativity.

The continuing theme of "anti-hero" is starting to get less than enjoyable as well. We've starting celebrating killers and thieves in our popular culture. Not "bad" people, like we did in the 70s, but people who are actually bad. There is a book series that I like, but I cannot read, because the bad guy gets away with too often. This show reminds of that - not characters who live their lives and do things because that's how they have always done them, but people who actively chose to do these "bad" things when other possibilities existed. But then fans never really talk about his motivations, and the clips of him with is family never seem to have the right flavor.  

But, the episodes I did see I liked. They were gritty not flashy, the characters seemed very grounded. That the drug lord ran an actual business and drove a station wagon I found refreshing, instead of the the usual nightclub. Ultimately however, the story was in my mind far too sprawling at the point I entered it. The Wiki just kept going and going. Maybe in the future, when I have extra money to go with some time, I'll get the whole box set (or rent the whole box set) and watch it all in one mindless torrent. Maybe.

"Like, literally the best work of art that television has ever produced.” That's the quote I keep hearing, comparing it to things like the Wire and the Sopranos. To that I have to ask... um, how long have you owned a television? How many channels do you get? Do premium channels not count?

Maybe I need to watch another couple of episodes. 

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