Sunday, July 22, 2012

Breaking Bad Ramble

Here I go again, breaking my promise to blog on Saturdays.  As always, I forgot to do it.

Breaking Bad is back.  If you don't watch this show, you should.  I didn't watch it for the first 3 seasons because I couldn't quite grasp the idea of Brian Cranston in a dramatic role.  The only thing I knew him from was Malcolm In The Middle where he played Hal, the barely there dad and husband.  Finally I broke down and watched the first episode because Netflix kept throwing it into my suggestions.

I was hooked.  I mainlined the first 3 seasons that were available on Netlflix and then tracked down the fourth season and watched it.  The fifth season started last Sunday and I've got the DVR set for tonight.

If you're living under a rock and don't know the basic premise of the show, here it is.  Walter White (Cranston) is a high school chemistry teacher with a pregnant wife and a teen aged son with cerebral palsy.  He's in debt up to his eyeballs and frustrated by life.  One day he goes to the doctor for a persistent cough and finds out that he has lung cancer.  He's told that it is inoperable and even with treatment he'll be dead within a year.  Walter wants to be able to leave his family debt free with money to pay for college educations for the kids, so he hatches a plan.  After hearing his brother in law, a DEA agent, describing the insane amounts of money meth dealers can make, Walter decides he's going into the business of cooking and selling methamphetamine.  He finds a former student, Jesse Pinkman, who is a small time meth producer and dealer, and blackmails him into teaming up to sell the drug.  Hilarity ensues.

I'm not joking about the humor in the series, especially in the first season.  Walter knows his chemistry and produces superior meth that soon catches the attention of the local drug lords and authorities, but he has no clue how a criminal enterprise works.  Jesse on the other hand, while not exactly stupid, obviously slept through most of Walter's chemistry classes, and is prone to taking short cuts (as evidenced by his decision to ignore Walter's instructions about buying a plastic container to dispose of a body, leading to me laughing at the same time as being horrified when a half dissolved body plunges through the ceiling.  Watch it.  I'm not describing anymore.)

As time goes on things get more serious as Walter and Jesse go deeper into the criminal underworld.  They both grow and change; Walter becomes more and more ruthless; Jesse loses some of his naivete, but not enough to keep from being manipulated by more powerful people around him (including Walter, who despite claiming to care for Jesse has no problem with using him as a pawn and a shield).

The acting on this show is just amazing.  As I said before, I only knew Brian Cranston as Hal, and he was hilarious on that show.  Sometimes, especially during the first season I get a Hal sort of vibe from Walter, but that soon goes away.  When Walter stares down a rival meth cook in the parking lot of a hardware store, you're actually scared for the rival.  Jesse started as a one note joke, (ha ha, look at this high school drop out in his baggy pants.  He doesn't even know that metal conducts electricty) -and according the creater of the show, he was supposed to die at the end of the season- but Aaron Paul really brings a lot to the character.  You believe how conflicted Jesse is in all the things he is made to do by Walt and others.

Here, just watch these videos, because I don't think I can adequately describe how great this show is. FYI: Lots and lots of spoilers in these vids.

Finally to lighten things up a little (does not feature any previously mentioned characters, but it's great anyway):

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