In the interest of full disclosure I've never seen a single frame of Breaking Bad. No. No. NOT one of my spiteful refusals - quite the opposite - I was so late to the party I decided I would miss it entirely and then catch up on it in binge form after the fact (thank you, Netflix).
In reality I don't know if a more interesting premise for a TV show has come along in a long, long time. Part Shakespearean epic, part cautionary tale, part impossibly absurd storyline, part amazing acting and TV-making, part carefully timed releases to keep the audience wanting more, part "this is such a train wreck I can not look away" - the show has held a pretty good chunk of critical and mass attention for years and years.
For those who are even farther behind than I am . . . Breaking Bad is the story about a high school chemistry teacher (I really don't even know his name) who, upon being diagnosed with terminal cancer, decides to turn to a life of drug making to either pay for treatment and leave his family something or to avoid confronting his own mortality (I've heard it explained both ways - I'll let you know which is which when I dive in). Needless to say stuff gets weird as murder, drug turf battles, lies, stealing, and generally horrible behavior grow within our anti-hero like the horrible cancer that put him in the mindset that drives his decline.
So - uh - what's up with a review of a show I've never seen? This is not about the show . . . it is about the phenomenon because here is why I LOVE Breaking Bad (without ever having seen it (for the record this is not the first time I've pledged love for something before I had any familiarity with it (witness boobs)) - the FANS.
- Walking Dead? Lame.
- The Sopranos? Got HORRIBLE and then got "wonderful" again as soon as the end was announced (yes, fans, go back and read reviews and opinions in real time)
- True Blood? Got sorta' old even for the real fans.
- Mad Men? Come on. Seriously? Come on.
- Dr. Who? Hipster gateway for sure.
- Arrested Development? Go. F*ck. Your. Selves. Seriously. Unfunny. UNFUNNY.
I could go on (and on and on) but the point is that generally speaking the fans of the above shows have made them less desirable for me because they have all had this "You MUST see this show" You would LOVE that show." "That you don't enjoy that show makes you LESS than me." I know, I know, I know - I was the same way with Lost, Desperate Housewives (season one and ONLY season one), Fast/Furious, and hummus. But what makes Breaking Bad fans better and what makes the show somehow better (by illogical extension) is that they don't care if you like it or not.
I've never had a single conversation with a Breaking Bad lover where they tried to convert me. NOR have I ever talked Breaking Bad with anyone who has given away ANYTHING. No plot lines, no twists, no curves, no character flaws, etc. Sure - sure - the stuff is out there (it is 2013 and we have the world wide web (funny aside . . . Collin Quinn has a very fun special on Netflix where he talks about how granular our taste for porn has become and how the world wide web will provide - the highlight "I like girls with some junior college who quit - but they are going to go back - probably.")) but no one has ever just SPOILED a drop of the show.
So I have had the luxury of seeing all the awards, the accolades, the audience, and the hype, and I've seen the pop culture creep (I had FOUR people Tweeting/Facebooking yesterday about special cupcakes and donuts sprinkled with meth-like candy (by the way there is NOTHING funny or cute about meth but that's another post)) and I've seen all the reasons why I will probably love Breaking Bad. BUT I've had the time and luxury to pick my moments. For that . . . I thank you.