Breaking Bad Brainwashing

Everyone and their mother, sworn enemy, and disgruntled coworker who seems a little too interested in Bryan Cranston for your comfort level is going to be talking/writing/tweeting about Breaking Bad today, but that’s kind of okay with me because it may be is the best show on television right now. And it’s ending after this season. (Despite the numerous letters I’ve written to AMC.)

I know, I know, we hear “best show on television” all the time. I’ve even heard that phrase said about The Bachelorette, on a day that wasn’t opposite day, but Breaking Bad is different. Breaking Bad is AMC’s little pilot that could. …Aside from Mad Men. I wasn’t always a Breaking Baddie, and even though I’m a fan of the series, I clearly have no idea what fans of the show call themselves, because it certainly isn’t “breaking baddies.”

The show was on its third season, and I’d heard all the Breaking Bad blather. A show about a chemistry teacher who starts cooking crystal meth with a handsome young drug dealer who should be busy impregnating me instead of being on this show—why would that appeal to me? I get uncomfortable buying over the counter medicine at Walmart. I couldn’t imagine getting invested in this show, because the premise is totally a what-the-fuck moment, but then I watched it, and I immediately understood why no one could shut up about it.

A lot of hipster haters avoid Breaking Bad because of the hype—which is bullshit, yo. If you’re not watching this show because everyone else is into it, continue to not watch it, because you probably suck. Continue enjoying Gilligan’s Island on Netflix.

Some of the more legitimate complaints about the series are its un-relatability, the violence, and how beyond belief it can be sometimes (fugue state, anyone?). Those are all valid arguments to whip out at the water cooler to be the office pot stirrer, but let me share with you what Breaking Bad is really about. Yes, there’s more violence and meth labs than you could hide in the name Heisenberg, but the show doesn’t rely on its countercultural aspects to be provocative.

What makes Breaking Bad popular with scallywags and scholars alike is that it’s a show about dealing with things we’ve all dealt with, just with much higher stakes and much better writing. Over four and half seasons we’ve watched the impact of a cancer diagnosis on a family, the limits of friendship and loyalty, the corrupting effects of greed, the difficulties of being married or in a relationship, the complications of parenthood, the struggle between honesty and deception, and most importantly, there was a catchy song, sung entirely in Spanish, about Bryan Cranston’s drug lord alter ego.

The character development in this show is incredible. In how many series does a small time drug dealer, who ends most sentences with “bitch” or “yo,” wind up playing peek-a-boo with a meth addict’s son (causing you to ugly cry on the couch), and ultimately becomes the conscience of the show? How many of us expected the cancer patient we pitied and sympathized with, who also happens to be Malcolm in the Middle’s dad, would become a much more dangerous villain than any of the actual “bad guys” were?

I hate when people try to shove their favorite TV shows into my DVR or my Netflix queue, because sometimes a girl just wants to watch Bad Girls Club and channel her inner hot mess without changing the channel, but Breaking Bad truly deserves all the attention it gets, and I think everyone should at least give it a shot.

(By the way, if you’re avoiding Breaking Bad in protest of Aaron Paul’s recent marriage, get in touch with me. Maybe we can help each other through this tough time.)

There are 41 comments

  1. amylkis

    Jesse’s friends NEED TO DIE! They are SO ANNOYING! Thats my one complaint about the show…other than being lost most of the time because my boyfriend watches the show without me. Also this season premiere was the at least the 2nd time they opened with Walt wandering around aimlessly sometime in the future without explaining themselves AT ALL and that bothers me. Also I’m kind of glad this is the last season for this (and Dexter) I think they can only do the same things over and over so many times before it turns into an ABC family show. Haha

    But over all, Breaking Bad, Dexter, and Game of Thrones are the best shows on TV right now. I dont really care for Ray Donovan…or any other show on Pay per view. People say to get into True Blood but I never do.

    Just my two cents <3

    1. Katie

      Gosh, I wish I had watched Dexter for the beginning. I got caught up on Game of Thrones, but Dexter’s probably going to wait until it ends.

      The flash forwards of Walt are obviously the aftermath of whatever happens this season. So I’m thinking he’s hiding out, on the run, or they couldn’t prove he did all the things he did, but Hank convinces everyone that he did and his reputation gets ruined. I don’t know! I have so many theories. All I know is this: if Jesse dies (as I fear he will) I will be devastated.

      1. Quickstepp

        Ugh same predicament. Lets see, would I be into someone who’s done meth? Yeah, not so much in real life. But I’d be lying if I said I’m not crazy about some Jesse Pinkman, yo! He just needs a good influence in his life and then he’ll turn it around.

  2. bensbitterblog

    If nothing else, this at least got me to wikipedia “fugue state” and find out that while in real life it is a rare thing, Hollywood uses it quite a lot. Also my buddies tell me it is awesome and I need to check it out too. So, I guess I will be checking it out…when I am good and ready.

    1. Katie

      You have to. No excuses. I think I’ll be setting a new precedent for bitterness when it ends. I may even go into a fugue state and stay home from work the day after.

  3. Ashley Austrew

    I love this show so much. I started watching it on Netflix in 2011, right after my daughter was born. We caught up in time to watch the first half of season 5 when it premiered, and now…ahhh! I’m sad it’s ending. But also glad it’s got a definite end point. It’s such an amazing show, with so many complex themes and characters. So many layers. I just can’t sing its praises enough.

    1. Katie

      Agreed, agreed, agreed! Even though I don’t want it to end, I’m glad everything’s going to be resolved the way they wanted without scrambling to figure out a conclusion, and without dragging it on so long that the storylines become repetitive or ridiculous.

  4. Samantha

    Most of the time the reason I haven’t seen TV shows is just I generally don’t like to watch TV…but this premise sounded interesting from the beginning. I just have to find the time to sit down with some crocheting and watch/listen to it sometime…

    1. Katie

      This one, before I started watching it, was one of my biggest TV regrets (TV shows I wish I made time to get into when they started) along with Dexter and Game of Thrones; I’ve caught up on GoT, but Dexter I’m just going to wait until it ends at this point. Making time is the hardest part.

  5. The Bumble Files

    Agreed, Katie. I watched season one and was immediately hooked. But lately I haven’t watched much tv at all, so I have a lot of catching up to do. You state it perfectly here that the show deals with problems we are all familiar with, but that the stakes are so much higher! I plan to catch up on Netflix when time allows.

    1. Katie

      Yes! Some major stuff has gone down since then. I think you’ll be most surprised by how Walt changes. I’m so glad I decided to jump on the bandwagon.

    1. Katie

      I can respect that. There’s been some major cliffhangers for the season finales. I swear, the 45 minutes goes by so fast with that show, and you can tell it’s going to a cliffhangy place with only two minutes left and you’re like, “NO. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?!”

  6. Seb

    Disagree with you on every level. Are you actually suggesting people like BB because they empathize with these people who are only alive beyond episode 2 because of the utter implausibility of the writing. Vince Galligan wrote some great stuff for the X Files but he seems to have imported the rules of that universe in the the BB universe and it just doesn’t work. also, the show is so damn boring! Does anything ever happen in it which isn’t either a) utterly predictable b) utterly expository or c) utterly incredible? What makes BB remarkable is, in fact, the things that don’t happen i.e. Walter, Jessie and Saul ending up in shallow graves by the end of episode 3.

    1. Katie

      BORING! Really?!
      I’ve never been bored watching BB. I agree that some of the writing isn’t believable–that’s a common gripe about the show–but I don’t find it so unbelievably ridiculous that it interferes with me being able to enjoy the show. As to predictability, I think it’s predictable in that you can tell when certain storylines are ending or certain characters have run their course, but at least me, what happens is usually a surprise.

      I don’t think characters in extraordinary circumstances are necessarily unrelatable because of it. But I’m biased, because I’m a pretty big fan of the show.

  7. RoSy

    This show is addicting – like the drug!
    We missed it when it first started. So- we were behind & didn’t want to catch it on tv without having watched all of the previous episodes. So hubby & I watched the 1st 5 1/2 seasons on Netflix. We caught up by the time this last season started & now are on track. We didn’t want to hear everyone talking about it without having watched it. We want to see how it ends first hand.

    1. Katie

      Such a good idea! I’m so glad I started when I did so I can enjoy it with everyone else now. It’s probably become one of my favorite TV shows ever. I love it. I’m going to hate when it ends, but I’m anxious to see what happens.

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