Saturday, March 7, 2009

Here's The Thing: Breaking Bad...

Today I begin a new mini-column entitled "Here's The Thing," in which I will offer a justification-- or at least an explanation-- for why I feel the way I do about oh so many things. Today I will tackle AMC's Breaking Bad, which everyone from horror writer Stephen King to the Client Services rep at "the corporation," Kristen, seems to think is the best show under the sun. This is a show that I purposely left out of my March Is The New Mid-Season article, and I got a lot of angry comments about that. Apparently, if I was so willing to talk about the new "crap" like Castle and Cupid (both on ABC, by the way, so send your thanks to the alphabet network), how could I have the "audacity to leave out the brilliance of Breaking Bad?" So here's where I attempt to explain myself:
So here's the thing: I don't care how this show is "like nothing else on television." I don't care that Bryan Cranston physically transformed himself (by shaving his head) for this role and uses every ounce of himself, including his hardened-by-age facial features to morph into this sad man. I don't care that Aaron Paul is a breakout and could probably act opposite a paper bag and still be completely realistic. I don't care that the cinematography is just as gritty as the subject matter, adding yet another level of authenticity. I don't care that the imagery is haunting-- actually, no wait, I do care about this part. The imagery is haunting because the characters on hand are haunting; they are tragic figures, and though that would normally lend itself to the type of deep, emotional story with which I would fall in love, there is something a lot darker at the core of this particular story.

I will never-- and I mean never-- get behind anything that revolves on crystal meth. Though Breaking Bad doesn't by any means glorify meth dealing, it still asks you to be sympathetic toward Walter White (Cranston), who "only" goes into such a business because he is dying and wants to leave his family with enough money that they don't have to worry about anything. But regardless of good intentions, that sh*t ruins every life it touches. There is no "recreational" meth use. White may be trying to pamper his own family, but he is literally killing others', and that makes him the very definition of an anti-hero. There is nothing redeemable about the drug or the dealer. So no, I do not think Breaking Bad is revolutionary, and no, I will not support it with my money or ratings or words. I will stick with Weeds, where Mary Louise Parker had the same misguided intentions, but at least she only deals in something that comes from the Earth!

No comments: