The curious case of what it is to break bad

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

So, I have a problem. For months now, I have been hearing from every corner of my life that “Breaking Bad” is must-see television. My dear friend Frank swears by it. My dear friend Dan went as far as to buy me the first two seasons of the show on DVD for my birthday recently. I just had to watch it, I kept hearing. It blasts everything else out of the water. Combine that with Bryan Cranston pushing Jon Hamm out of the “Best Actor” spot at all of the trophy shows television can offer anymore, Rolling Stone giving what seemed like 64 pages dedicated to the program in a recent issue, and the fact that AMC is now the king of all cool television these days, and what you have is a recipe for inevitability.

Besides, remember: Someone gave me the DVDs. And those who know me well know I can’t turn down a good television binge on DVD, no matter the product.

The problem? I don’t know if I like it. Really, I don’t. I’m six episodes into the first season now, and I can’t bring myself to come up with an opinion on it. Six episodes (or two discs in TV on DVD land) should be enough of a barometer to figure out how I really feel about a show, right? I mean, come on, now.

Maybe this goes back to taking up watching “The Big C” when it first hit television last year. In reality, there are only two differences between the two shows: Crystal meth and Laura Linney. Both shows showcase how ironic it is that a death sentence can lead someone to finally figure out what it is to live. Both of those death sentences involve cancer. And both of the main characters are former do-gooders who seem moderately successful professionally (and each just happen to  be school teachers, to boot!). And then whoops, terminal illness changes all of the things they thought they knew. Rinse. Repeat.

As wrong as I am, I’ll always feel as though “The Big C” came before “Breaking Bad” only because I began watching the former before I began watching the latter. Is that fair? Probably not. But does that mean that I may not have room for more than one cancer-heavy show in my tiny television-watching world? Unfortunately, I am realizing that just may be the case.

Still, I want help. Is this show good? What’s the appeal? Why are people so quick to crown it as one of the best shows on television today? Am I missing something? Should I not even follow up on the current season of “The Big C” for the sole purpose of giving “Breaking Bad” a fair shot? How often does Bryan Cranston really shave his head for that role? When will the younger meth dealer (actor Aaron Paul) break out and become the huge star he clearly is set to be someday? And most importantly, when will Frankie Muniz make an appearance on an episode for that inevitable ironic “Malcolm In The Middle” reunion we all know will occur?

Blogger extraordinaire Stephanie Mlot offered her two cents. “I watched the first season, and I thought it was really good,” she told me. “But then I just forgot about the show when the second season started and I haven’t seen anything since.” My near and dear friend Frank (not the aforementioned Frank, but yet a different Frank) noted how his wife couldn’t completely latch on to it, though he agreed about how great Aaron Paul is. That said, without his wife’s support, he conceded he just doesn’t have the means to watch it as consistently as he would like. And my friend Mark responded with only the following: “The Good Wife” is the best show on television.

So alas, I am still lost. Stephanie says that if I don’t like it, I shouldn’t watch it. But it’s hard for me to say I don’t like it. Then again, it’s hard for me to say I like it, too. It would be unfair to bail on after a mere one season, right? Right. So … we’ll see.

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