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04/30/2018 19:08:46 •••

Reviewing Bad

When Breaking Bad was on, you would be hard pressed to find a TV series more engrossing and blood pumping. Striking, experimental, and definitively hardcore, it is five and a half seasons of Crazy Awesome that just keeps getting Darker and Edgier with every passing moment.

As the main page says, after being diagnosed with lung cancer, high school teacher Walter White decides he can use his genius level knowledge of chemistry to manufacture highly pure crystal meth in order to support his pregnant wife and handicapped son. Teaming up with his lowlife former student, Jesse Pinkman, Walter initially tries to operate as quietly and cautiously as he can... which lasts about five minutes. Things get crazy. Everything goes wrong.

This show is about Character Depth more than anything else, not about the crimes but about how the consequences affect those involved and what choices they made led them there. No matter how flashy Walt and Jesse may look committing crimes, it is overshadowed by their complex personalities and the decadent realm of corruption they are sinking into.

Walter and Jesse are unforgettable. Walter is a true Badass Mad Scientist and incredibly fascinating. His evolution from Insufferable Genius to Magnificent Bastard is as exciting as it is disheartening. You will be as infuriated as you are impressed by him. This is the role that has deservedly placed Bryan Cranston amongst today's best actors. Aaron Paul as Jesse is even more surprising. Presented as a total case of This Loser Is You, yet through solid Character Development and acting he becomes as important if not more important to the show than Walter. His journey is something to behold as well. Describing any other awesome characters would take another 400 words because there's so many.

Though it seems grounded in reality and definitely IS taxing for moral minds, it heavily indulges in fun symbolism, slapstick/black comedy, outstanding visuals, editing, writing, directing, music, and a Rule of Cool that kicks in at all the right moments. Intense, funny, poetic, and maddeningly cool, Breaking Bad is the real deal. Unfortunately, it's current popularity and overhype has made it seem less awesome somehow. (Will explain in the comments, if necessary)

04/13/2018 00:00:00

I\'m not sure if it\'s the Hype Backlash effect you\'re talking about in the last line, but I\'m feeling at least some of that watching the show now. For a show this popular and hyped, it\'s far too predictable and cliched, and people keep passing around too many Idiot Balls. After watching something like Dexter, this feels like one of Dexter\'s bad seasons stretched out to be slower and more melodramatic.

04/30/2018 00:00:00

Well, I wouldn't take it that far.

In Dexter, characters started acting stupid purely as a result bad writing. You could tell the writers were bending over backwards to keep things going, to the point that they spent whole seasons beating around the bush and having Dexter make the same illogical mistakes over and over; the number of times he had the chance to kill the bad guy but let them live to keep playing games only for the bad guy to find out and screw him over just got maddening. And they contrived lame excuses for the other characters to do the same.

With Breaking Bad, it's more nuanced. Characters doing stupid things is frustrating, but it at least makes sense within the context of the story. Walt can't stop himself from overreaching because he's on a mad power trip. Jesse is completely ruled by his emotions. Skylar never just bails because she's desperate to maintain normalcy, and never realizes how serious things are until it's too late. Hank and Gus each allow themselves to be blinded by revenge at critical moments. And they all make fatal errors due to misunderstandings and constantly being Locked Out of the Loop.

I just think the hype did have the negative result of misleading people into thinking they were going to watch some transcendental thing they'd never seen before. The basic story of Breaking Bad is one we've seen many times over. After awhile, I could see why someone would watch it and immediately wonder how a show that's actually pretty simple could be so popular. But as Roger Ebert once said, "It's not what it's about, it's how it is about it." It's not that it's anything super original. Most of us were drawn in by the way it made us feel, and how crazy it's evolution was.

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