Sunday, September 29, 2013

Breaking Sad: A Farewell To My Favorite Show

Tonight, if you didn't already know, AMC airs the final episode of what could possibly my pick for greatest (or "favorite" as I prefer to use) show of all time.  If the show ends like Lost did, that placeholder could change, that's why I say "possibly" right now.  But at this juncture, if the final episode ends in mediocrity, it can still take that title.  Although, it won't.  And I'm pretty confident in saying that.  There's a reason why its so easy to quickly place Breaking Bad on the highest of pedestals.

Not one episode of Breaking Bad has ever sunk to even being mediocre.

Sure, there's been episodes that haven't had a level of intensity that others had.  There were some that were obviously bridge episodes.  But they all counted.  You never left the episode unsatisfied.  The lowest point of the series for me was the finale of the first season.  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't quite as gripping of television for a finale as some of the previous episodes were.  And you know what, the creators and writing staff get a mulligan on that one.  It wasn't their fault.  Breaking Bad fell victim to the writer's strike.  That wasn't supposed to be the finale.  The show was 2 episodes shy of its intended finish.  Now, take a look at the first episodes of Season 2 and its all clear.
I'm glad the show is coming to a close where my love of the series can be shared with a commune of people to appreciate it with.  I'm not trying to say "I'm a bigger or better fan than you" with this, but I've been there since the first episode aired on my birthday back in 2008 (January 20).  Maybe that's why I have a deeper connection.  I always will try to go to a new movie that's released or watch a show that premieres on my birthday.  It's just some weird personal tradition I have (I even tried to give Dawon's Creek a shot, it just wasn't for me ladies).  The buzz and buildup of this show made it sound like it was going to be a knock off of a favorite show of mine at the time, Weeds.  While, Weeds got so crappy I'd like to forget I spent so much time with it, I'll never forget you, Breaking Bad.
From the opening shot of the show, I was hooked.  I instantly said "Cancel the Emmys, just give it to Cranston!".  There was nothing like this going on.  And by the 3rd episode, the show became everything it was going to be.  It was "...And The Bag's In The River" where Walt had Krazy 8 captive in the basement.  It was incredible gripping, edge of your seat entertainment in its finest. And it also played very very real and made the viewers themselves feel like they had their own person stakes in it.
Every time with Breaking Bad when I thought things couldn't get bigger, better and more intense than the previous season, they always shot me in the face and laughed.  The show was gradually and naturally building its suspense based a lot upon your love and care for the characters.  Why is it the show hurts so bad with Walt's complete turn to darkness?  It's because, that while we knew it was coming, it still hurt like hell to see because we were secretly hoping this guy wouldn't turn out this bad.  That somewhere along the line we as the viewer could see some sort of redemption.  But alas, it was never to be.  While he still has TEAM WALT fans, there's no justification for his actions in the past few seasons.
For a time, a sometimes still, every network was looking for that "new Lost".  And they always got it wrong when it came to serialization.  The knock off shows always put forth mystery and actions above all else.  They would come up with a crazy question that hopefully the answer would come out through telling the story.  What they would completely disregard is the characters that asked that question.  They always felt secondary to everything else.  We don't need or want mystery shows.  We need shows with great characters whose actions and choices make up our "mystery" and plot that tickle our fancy and build our suspense because we care about them.  That's where the successful serials thrive and the subpar ones leave us after one season.  Who cares if its sci fi or paranormal or whatnot.  Give us the characters that make us tune in week to week and then we'll care more about the questions you want to ask us.
When I started watching the show, I felt like I was all by myself.  I tried spreading the word as best I could.  I'd tell people it was the best show on television.  But people seems to prefer unengaging, mind dumbing reality shows like Duck Dynasty and Housewives stuff.  This isn't a knock on those people, everybody likes to shut their brain off for things.  I get that.  It's just, I'll never for the life of me understand why they choose that and how it gets considered "good TV".  Anyway, it wasn't until about season 3 or 4 that I felt like people were sort of sharing the love for the show.  It wasn't a big crowd mind you, but it was that "secret club" type feeling.  But now, I'm glad my favorite show is going out more popular than ever.  That people have been through the wringer with it.  Whether they sat biting their nails til next week's episode or stayed up til 4am on a worknight cuz they couldn't put it down, the important thing is, we all got together and supported great television.  And tonight, we could possibly see a perfect book come to a close.
Breaking me, you never had a dull moment.  Everything always mattered and always meant something.  I struggle to think of any show that ever kept me as engaged, invested and constantly outdoing themselves like you have.  I don't think I've seen a show where every single season, every single episode never disappointed me.  You've introduced me to some of the richest characters television has ever seen.  And a TON of the creepiest and scummiest.  You've made me fear for fictionalized people like they were a personal friend of mine.  For me, I tend to enjoy entertainment that takes me on that "thrill ride" type of feeling.  If I felt like I had a completely physical and mental experience with something and I haven't even left my couch...that's an incredible feeling.  And I hold things up high that do that for me.  Breaking Bad, you pretty much did that week in and week out.  Thank you.
A lot of people have had predictions on how it ends.  But I hope, just like always, Breaking Bad teases, laughs and does what nobody could have predicted or saw coming.  Let our jaws drop and our guts get punched one last time, please!
Hats off to Vince Gilligan, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn and everyone ever involved with this fantastic hour of television!

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