I’m skipping the Blog Asheville meetup due to a headache. I am writing this to console myself… :0(
Breaking in, breaking out. Breaking up, breaking down… I’m a new hardcore convert to the original AMC series Breaking Bad, about how a middle-aged high school chemistry teacher deals with the news that due to lung cancer he has a limited time to live.
His brother-in-law is a DEA agent, and when the brother-in-law mentions that a recent meth bust involved $700,000 in cash… Already demoralized by money problems and forced into a degrading second job working at a car wash, Walter White decides to bankroll the uncertain future of his pregnant wife and disabled son with a lucrative new skill: making and selling crystal meth.
The first season of the show is uneven but compelling from the first moments, in which we see the pale and soft-bellied White, wearing only undies, socks, shoes and a gas mask, driving like a maniac through the New Mexico desert with a cargo of chemistry equipment and dead (?) drug dealers sloshing around in the back of his RV.
Here’s the Season 1 trailer::
* Why doesn’t White’s wife work? She’s not that far along. There are a few token mentions of her being a writer of fiction, but her lack of income reads to me like a fairly lame plot device to force Walter into a more stressful role as sole breadwinner.
* The show seems to both want Walter to be a brilliant Ph.D. chemist and a job-hating high school chemistry teacher. But it seems to me (ex chem major) that someone with Walter’s skills who needs more money and receives so little work satisfaction could find better work in a lab — and would never be so broke. The plot seems to need Walter to be brilliant, highly educated, employable and poor, and the combo just doesn’t work for me. (The show as a whole sure does, however.)
* The disabled son who has cerebral palsy isn’t a Tiny-Tim focus for pity. He can walk with crutches and while he does need help, he’s not pitiful and dependent. He’s not a favorite character, but he also exists as a person and not a cheap plot device. Nice. The scene where some assholes in a store make fun of him feels like the random cruelty of real life, and the actor who insults the kid is so perfect you forget he’s an actor.
* The end of episode one, where after fighting off armed rival drug dealers in the desert, trying to commit suicide, failing, evading the law and coming home in the middle of the night sunburned and trembling, White has amazing sex with his wife and passes out on the bathroom floor. All in a day’s work for the brilliant Bryan Cranston as Walter White.
The series returns in January 2009 according to my friend Geniune, the one who got me hooked on the show.
Amazon.com raves here.