Three and a Half Seasons into Breaking Bad

walter-white-jesse-pinkmanTwo weeks ago we started watching Breaking Bad (BB). I’m actually pretty surprised it took us this long to dive in.

Back in 2011 when we were apartment hunting in Portland over the 4th of July we chose to skip a big city’s firework festivities and instead embrace a BB marathon until three in the morning. We couldn’t stop watching that night, yet somehow here we are a good five years later and beginning the journey anew with faint remembrances of what we saw so long ago.

I always feel weird watching a show with main characters that I can’t relate to on a surface level, whether it’s because I don’t do the things they do or I would never hang out with someone like them.

At first.

Somehow, I quickly become accustomed to the fact that I am rooting for the person about to murder, cheat, escape, and the list goes on.

If it’s a well written show, those surface level characteristics fade away—sort of—as you get to know the meth maker, gambler, mobster, or serial killer. You get to know the other side. The side that embodies all of those quirky human traits that are relatable.

The character that wants to…

  • protect their family
  • punish the bad people
  • have their _________ validated
  • make their family proud
  • prove everyone wrong
  • enjoys a cold beer or good cup of coffee
  • be better than the last mistake they made

Back to Breaking Bad…

Thoughts on the Characters

Walter White

He’s a brilliant chemist teaching bored apathetic high schoolers while watching his peers chase after and attain success. He’s let the world mount his shoulders to the point of emasculation with everyone around him talking about him and making decisions for him as if he’s not in the room.

Cancer. Shaved head. Making meth. Not just any meth. Perfect chemically stable meth.

A new riskier Walt emerges from the shaved-hair and chemo ashes.

Walt has rage. Rage he’s been internalizing.

I need the bromance of Walt and Jesse. I’m upset when they fight and put each other in danger only to rescue one or the other at the last minute.

jesse-pinkmanJesse

I would avoid Jesse like the plague in real life. If there’s one thing my Dad taught me it’s guilty by association. I abandoned any real life druggie friends when I graduated high school. But. I. Can’t. Get. Enough. of Jesse.

I don’t know what it is. I watch him and I want him to succeed. I want him to stay clean. I want him to realize his talents and pursue them when he leaves meth behind. When Walt verbally accosts him, I just want to protect him and tell him everything will be okay.

I think I love these complicated, co-dependent relationships so much because I can observe them from the safety of my couch. I won’t be talked into giving Jesse a ride to the junk yard where x, y, or z could happen. I’m safe. On my couch.

Skylar

Watching from the couch, I cannot stand her. I call her terrible names. Terribly wonderful names.

I want her to leave Walt alone. Let him make his own decisions I say. Except when I realize if Jeremy had cancer I’d probably ride the selfish horse too.

IRL I’d champion her. Kick that deadbeat to the curb, I’d say. Except for her passive aggressive manipulation. I don’t condone that.

Hank

Not much to say here except that I think he’s a fantastic character so far. I love how ‘little’ he thinks of Walt. I can’t imagine what it will be like when he finds out about Walt. I’m guessing that happens at some point.

Marie

I can’t stand her as much as I can’t stand Skylar. Last night I was trying to imagine how annoying their parents must be. Or they are completely wonderful.

Other notes

  • I love the tight story writing/story arcs. It’s beautifully woven.
  • During the 2nd season is when I started to notice the colors. Green = Walt. Purple = Marie. I’m afraid to delve into the BB color wikia, I’m sure it’s full of spoilers.
  • How weird it is to celebrate a show that highlights a drug that ruins people’s lives. Blue rock candy cupcakes. Blue rock candy in baggies at parties.
  • How have they made it half way without any real muscle or weaponry?
  • Did Aaron Paul start BB as his character on Big Love was wrapping up?
  • I read somewhere that Jesse started as a one-season character. I can’t imagine this show without the dynamics between Walt and him.
  • How do they get out of the new fancy cooking laboratory? Is there a buzzer that buzzes somewhere upstairs and they are let out. Or just a button from below that opens it up.

That’s all for now. Please no spoilers.

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