The curious case of what it is to break bad — part 2

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

“I’ve been watching the series from the first season. It is one of my DVR permanent records. I think the irony and level of complexity continue to grow as does Bryan’s character.”

That was part of an email I received after taking to the Internet(s) to post this. My response to the reader in question was as follows:

“See, that’s what I’m hoping for! I hope his character becomes more complex because it seems now that it’s a bit too surface-level. I’m not going to give up on it … But I’m looking for the complexity of it all to increase. If it does, I may fall in love with it.”

Well …

The sole purpose of this particular post is to admit the following: I was wrong about “Breaking Bad.” I knew after I had begun watching the second season of the show that this post was going to be inevitable. But I wanted to take my time and wait until I was completely caught up before turning toward the Internet(s) to garner a “Not only was I wrong, but I was loud wrong” post.

The verdict, though, is still something I can’t bring myself to conclude. Is the show as bad as I wrote it was? Absolutely not. Should it really, honestly be in the same breath as “The Big C?” Absolutely not. Was six episodes enough of a period of time to idiotically take to this blog to scream about a show I consciously rushed to judge? Absolutely not.

But is “Breaking Bad” the best show on television? Well, even though it becomes harder and harder to turn off with every season, and Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman might just be my favorite supporting character on cable television today, no, it’s not. Is it better than I had originally pegged it as? Without a doubt. Is it in the top five of today’s world of TV? Maybe. But the praise it receives is still a bit too over-the-top for me to handle.

I was reminded of this when I noticed a tweet from a colleague of mine over at Popmatters. It read the following:

“Hey you want to hear my impersonation of the Internet? Okay here it is: “OH MY GOD BREAKING BAD IS THE BEST THING EVER.”

You see, that’s funny because it’s true. One of my biggest fundamental problems with the show was the amount of hype everyone seemed to want to thrust upon it. That problem hasn’t been resolved. In fact, it’s only become worse (and countless television appearances and magazine articles are only the beginning of the proof of that). Sure, there isn’t a doubt that Walter White is an award-winning character, and yes, if it was up to me, the Jesse Pinkman character would have a spin-off on Showtime called “Yo, Man.” But even though I am willing to retract my doubt-laden post about the show before, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to consider it among my favorites.

Still, the show is great. It’s not good. It’s great. And if it wasn’t for the fantastic invention that is TV on DVD or the ability to stream episodes online (the fourth season’s premiere is even available on AMC’s own website!), there is no way I would have stumbled into such a “I love you/I hate you” relationship with the show. So I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for my friends who forced it upon me. And I’m thankful that my silly, little low-budget PC could handle the “Breaking Bad” stream. Without it, I would have gone nuts. At this point, I couldn’t even imagine having to wait an entire to year to see how they follow season three’s final episode.

Now, if I could only find a way to catch up on Showtime’s “Episodes” …

All right, friends. That’s it for me. I’m off to Washington and New Orleans next week for dates with Ms. Jill Scott, Mr. Anthony Hamilton and Mr. Kermit Ruffins all in various places throughout this fine country. If you don’t mind, we’ll meet back here in a couple weeks to reconvene our discussion on the silly world of television? Sounds like a plan. In the interim, you could follow my journeys at www.twitter.com/colinpadraic. Or, you could be a much more respected person, and detest social media. Either way, don’t ever think I won’t miss you while I’m gone. 

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