Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Breaking Bad

My wife and I finished the first season of the television series Breaking Bad last night; all seven episodes. Not nearly enough. Breaking Bad is the best episodic program I've seen on television in the last few years. It is the story of Walt White, a father, husband, and public school science teacher. In the opening episode he is diagnosed with lung cancer and the rest of the story--the season--chronicles Walt's attempts to leave his family something.

Walt's wife is pregnant and his son is handicapped. He left a successful career as a research scientist to teach and he doesn't have much except a crummy old Pontiac Aztec and an unfulfilling job. He doesn't have money, respect, or any other damn thing. He doesn't care what happens to him, but he is terrified at what will happen to his family after he dies.

Breaking Bad is a wonderful mix of comedy and drama. Walt is perfectly portrayed as the aggrieved protagonist by Bryan Cranston. He unveils a character who is much more than a victim. He is a man who has played by the rules his entire life and now, when the unfairness of everything crashes down, he chooses to do something about it.

What really makes Walt and the show work is that Walt discovers he likes taking control of his destiny. He finds it empowering and very fulfilling, which creates an interesting tension between law and order and survival. A tension that tightens with each act and episode.

The journey is painful, embarrassing and voyeuristic. The audience is part of the family and the often uncomfortable scenes of a family dealing with death are chilling and dry, but the death and depression are accompanied by a desperate and dark humor that soften the edges just enough. Breaking Bad is simply awesome, and it very nearly makes me want to order cable.


Coop said...

Brilliant TV, great performances all round.

Hi, I hope that this interests you.

I am attempting to amass a large collection of portraits of Frankenstein's Monster in as many different styles and in as many different media as possible as an ongoing art project. The only stipulation is that the size is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches (standard artist trading card size) and that each card has name, date, title and anything else you care to add on the back.

I welcome cards from both amateur and professional artists.

I will be leaving blank cards with instructions and mailing address in galleries, colleges, art shops, on buses, handing them out in the street and wherever else I can think of.

If you think you can spare the time to produce a little something, please send a portrait to:

A Patchwork Of Flesh
45 Silversea Drive
Westcliff on Sea
United Kingdom

Each card I receive will be uploaded at to produce an on-line gallery, I then hope to put on an exhibition of these cards in a gallery.

Watch Bones Online said...

Good call Doug Elfman.I Watch Breaking Bad Online.I bet you feel like a douche now that the series has grown into the best thing on TV. Bryan Cranston is the only good part of this show.