breaking bad.September 10, 2012
One of the reasons I love Netflix Instant is so that I can watch TV shows straight through. I can’t even remember the last TV show that I actually watched on TV, waiting from week to week for each episode. And a whole year of not working meant I actually sat down and watched a lot of TV. Which is probably a topic for another post.
But anyway, the boyfriend and I are currently powering through Breaking Bad. I just can’t handle reading the hype every time the season premier or finale comes around – or rather avoiding the hype because I may watch the show eventually. So we’re finally doing it. Or rather, we’re trying for the THIRD time to get through it. Part-way through season 3 and it’s just gotten to the point where I think I want to watch it when I’m not doing anything else.
Because, let’s be honest, season 1 was slow as molasses up until the last two episodes and season 2 would be unmemorable if I hadn’t just watched it in the last couple weeks. And now that I’ve invested so much time, it’s at the point where I should just stick it out.
The central question on Breaking Bad is this: What makes a man “bad” — his actions, his motives, or his conscious decision to be a bad person? Judging from the trajectory of its first three seasons, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan believes the answer is option No. 3. So what we see in Breaking Bad is a person who started as one type of human and decides to become something different. And because this is television — because we were introduced to this man in a way that made him impossible to dislike, and because we experience TV through whichever character we understand the most — the audience is placed in the curious position of continuing to root for an individual who’s no longer good.
While I love that the show is about Walt’s transformation into a bad person, I cannot get behind the fact that he’s a likeable guy. Because I think he’s not. I think Walt’s arrogant, stubborn, resentful, unappreciative, with bottled up emotions. What exactly makes him likeable? I find myself siding with all the other characters – his wife, his son, his drug dealing partner – but I never seem to be on Walt’s side. And it’s hard to love a show where you aren’t all that invested in what happens to the main character.