As everyone, fan or not, is well aware, the end of Breaking Bad is nigh.
Show I never watched, about people I don't care about (meth dealers? No thanks, put that one in the same league as The Sopranos). I have managed to avoid the Breaking Bad fan train for the last few years. I am so fucking tired of hearing about the GREATEST SHOW EVER.
Also, no offense to Bryan Cranston (who is forever in my heart Dr. Tim Whatley): It's not the greatest acting performance of all-time. It's the television equivalent of Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July wheeling around screaming, "Penis! Penis! Penis!" (Side note: Even though Morgan Freeman should have won that year, if *he* had to lose, I thank God he lost to DDL.) It's obvious. It's not Jon Hamm in Mad Men (well, seasons 1-5 of Mad Men).
I guess I jumped ahead here, because, if I never watched it, how could I make the above claim, right? Well, in the last five days, I accepted a meaningless challenge to watch every episode (up to "To'hajilee," which aired last Sunday) in preparation for a final episode party I'm attending. Now I am here on almost zero sleep to affirm, and qualify, my opinion.
We are starved for good dramatic serials, on that I presume we agree. And Breaking Bad capably avoids the narrative stagnation that so many dramas popular in culture (CSI, SVU, uh, something or other) fall into. For that, it is to be commended and appreciated. It's certainly a little drama that pulls you in and keeps you coming back for more.
But at the end of the day, the fandomfanaticism surrounding the show is more a reflection of what it is about than how well it is done. This is not the greatest show ever.
My take after 60+ episodes of it was feeling like... I had sat through the television version of Falling Down. Michael Douglas, wronged nerdy white guy, lashing out at everyone who 'caused' him to fail. Trying desperately to make himself relevant. Deserving of no accolades or empathy. A whiny, spoiled little douche who blamed his life failures on being emasculated by [insert group here].
And the energetic online fanboy culture had, of course, attached itself to that hero worship. They hate Skyler because she's a complicated woman (only Walt can be complicated!); they hate Hank because "LAW AND ORDER" (and he deals with a complex personal life without becoming a full-fledged asshole - see his reaction to Marie's real estate-related arrest, where's he is angry, bitter, embarrassed, and also capable of letting it the fuck go); they hate Gus because "EVIL DARK-SKINNED METH BUSINESS GUY BLOCKING WALT'S SUCCESS!" (what else needs to be said?)
That there are people out there rooting for Walter White makes me sick. He deserves to be shot in the face, set on fire and hung in the village square by his nuts to make right all the shit he has done.
- Aaron Paul gives a good performance when he is asked to do more than be stoned/high and/or look depressed. That's not often, though, and if you put Jesse Pinkman vs. Pete Campbell in a ring? PC comes out the winner every fucking time.
- Jonathan Banks gave what is probably the most fulfilling performance in the series; although he is a long shot, I'm rooting for him at next Sunday's Emmys.
- The amount of time-killing filler that this show gets away without blowback from its base is unreal (sidebar: I devoured certain recappers and fan sites contemporaneously with each viewed episode). See: The crack-den scenes of Jesse's home in season four, and the mind-killing Star Trek bullshit his pot-buddies engage in during a season five episode. As with the "Don Draper manpain/whorehouse scenes: Yeah, I got it, about three seasons ago. Move along."
Anyways, for what it is worth a few hours before the episode Vince Gilligan claims is the best in the series, that is my abbreviated but to the bone take.
Edit: Can't figure out the editing snafus but too lazy to deal :/