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.)