Watch Breaking Bad
I’m going to try and do this as best I can without spoilers, but hold on; if you are reading this sentence, then you’re not following the simple instruction at the top of this post. You’re reading this and not watching Breaking Bad.
Simply put, Breaking Bad is the best thing on television right now. It’s probably the best thing that has ever been on television, and I can’t imagine anything topping it in the foreseeable future. Now there are so many routes I could take with this post. I could highlight the beautifully stylized cinematography. We could marvel at Bryan Cranston’s impeccable performance as the powerless high school teacher turned violent meth-cook, Walter White. But in the spirit of 2488Hughes, I would like to measure the show by a different metric. Something simpler, more primal: Badassness.
Don’t get me wrong. I can appreciate the loftier aspects of good television. My second favorite show is HBO’s The Wire. And darn it all, don’t I love me some good analysis of the inherent flaws and breakdown of our social institutions. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate how badass it is when Omar walks down the street and heroin dealers run off scared.
Seriously, in terms of the production, acting, and artistic aesthetic, Breaking Bad is stunning. But we’re not going to talk about that today. This is simply my take on one aspect of a great show. So I’m going to start off with the basic premise. Middle-aged high school chemistry teacher uses his expertise to synthesize incredibly potent meth to provide for family following a cancer diagnosis. This isn’t Nancy Botwin of Weeds and “The Midlife Crisis That Went Too Damn Far”. This is meth we’re talking about.
(The Cream Roommate has told me on numerous occasions that this is his favorite ad campaign.)
And yet in the context of that gritty meth underworld, we have Walter White, the beaten-down chemistry teacher working part time at a car wash to supplement his income. The juxtaposition sets the stage for one of the fascinating (read badass) transformations ever put to the small screen. Watching the bookish, emasculated everyman struggle and claw to survive, and ultimately succeed in the utmost badass fashion, makes for some damn good TV.
In some ways, the meth-cooking super genius that Cranston becomes serves as a superhero alter-ego to the mild mannered Walter White. What would a superhero be without some supervillains? Breaking Bad delivers some of the most terrifying characters in fiction. From the strung out dregs of the drug culture to the merciless enforcers of the Mexican drug cartels, the AMC series has it all. Take Gustavo Fring for example. The man is the ultimate professional. He is calm, calculating, and ruthless. But don’t take my word for it. Check out this sweet meme, completely out of context:
I want to leave you all with something incredibly badass but would hate myself if I spoiled anything so… I’m not. The first 3 seasons are currently on Netflix. Get to it. For your trouble, here’s something from an equally badass show:
Do you love Breaking Bad? Do you think you know something better? Please share in the comments section.