(If you’re a BREAKING BAD fan, read on. If you’re not, read on, THEN, go watch the show, all 70 episodes of it – as fast as you can.)
From a deep sleep, I am awakened by the feeling of dread which enshrouds me. It’s the same feeling one has after experiencing the loss of a loved one or the end of an important relationship.
Or, when the best-written television show I’ve ever experienced comes to an end.
I was a latecomer to BREAKING BAD, which aired its final, flawless episode last night. However, over three weeks this past August, my friend, Paul, and I embarked on a binge-marathon viewing of all the previous seasons’ 54 episodes, eventually catching up with the rest of the country and the show’s final season.
As a writer, I have marveled at the absolute, consistent perfection of this show’s sterling, leave-no-storyline-stone left unturned writing staff, headed by Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator.
Like Walter White, the show’s protagonist-turned-antagonist, who finally felt alive by realizing (albeit darkly) his full creative potential, I felt more alive because of my association with this show as a viewer. Episode after episode after episode, the writers and actors of BREAKING BAD consistently delivered the best that the written and performing arts have to offer.
In the Season 3 episode entitled “FLY”, Walter delivers a soliloquy on when would have been his opportune moment to die – destined to become a post-modern classic.
And, just when I was wondering which young actors these days will have any staying power, along comes Aaron Paul, who astounded me week after week. Never was a weak link to be found anywhere in BREAKING BAD‘s entire 70 episodes. When one considers the steady diet of mediocrity-as-entertainment foisted upon us, the magnitude of this show’s accomplishment becomes even more apparent.
One of my favorite lines of the whole series occurs in the same “FLY” episode. Walter refuses to cook his haute-cuisine, crystal-blue meth until the fly he’s discovered in his lab one morning – which he believes has contaminated it – has been eliminated. Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), Walter’s lab sous-chef, looks at Walter incredulously. “We make poison for people who don’t care,” he tells him.
Anyone who knows me well has heard me tell the story of being 14 years old, “discovering” Robert DeNiro in 1973s BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY. That day, sitting in the Seneca Mall cinema with my mother, I silently predicted that DeNiro would become one of the greatest actors this country has ever known. As we all know, this prediction did come to pass.
I have to say now that Bryan Cranston put forth the greatest, consistent acting-as-art I have seen in my entire life. I thank you for this gift, Mr. Cranston.
I could write on and on and on about what a miracle of creativity I consider BREAKING BAD to be. I could talk ad nauseum about the magnificence of the writing. I will be thinking about what a gift this show has been to me for a very long time.
I also feel rather sad today because, once again, something truly great has come to an end; mostly because we don’t seem to get to experience much greatness anymore – anywhere.
I would like to thank Vince Gilligan and his team of brilliant writers, along with ALL of the magnificent actors who had the privilege of being a part of this show, for inspiring me to do something great with my own creativity.
I wonder how BREAKING BAD has inspired or affected you. Leave me a comment and let me know.
And, tell me what some of your favorite moments were.