Breaking Bad – Wholey Good
My particular series 5 disk failed just as the opening credits for the final program were rolling. I had watched the previous 4 series and all the preceding installments over two months, at the same time as splitting from my girlfriend. My pervasive depression was soothed, but only by submitting to a more dangerous treatment. By the time I got to the last program I so needed Hollywood’s closure to escape the twin evils I was wrestling. The good bad guy dies. He admits his overarching selfishness. He saves the other good bad guy, but all the supporting actors playing bad bad guys fulfilled their destiny expiring in variously clever ways, dreamed up by our gifted sociopath, Walter Whyte.
Normally I never remember the character names of a film I go to. Walter I will. Actually I can’t remember the actor’s name, but have seen with surprise that I knew him from before as the Dad in another, very funny sitcom. Now he is me – a disaffected, increasingly disconnected 50 year old – but one who did something dramatic and vengeful, postponing the realisation of his utter self centeredness until his Butch Cassidy finale. In real life I confess to it daily, and try to moderate my behaviour.
I didn’t like it minute to minute. Large parts of the all too real ordinary family stuff I simply fast forwarded. That stuff I don’t need recreated. What I liked personally was the gradual but sustained moral decline. I liked that all the supporting actors got to be long enough on screen for us to get to know them. Saul – why do I remember his name too? Sleazy lawyer but refreshingly intelligent and sailing peacefully without morals where others are always adrift. The brother in law – flawed, loyal, good at this job, unhealthy but strong and allowed to be a complete pain in the ass for quite a few screen hours.
So I’ve learned to appreciate TV series rather late. What a thrill it must be as an actor to get a role in something that can be written and produced to such a high standard, stretching longer than any movie, and dealing with dirty, complicated populated stories.