By “Bad” Emmet
I never thought anything could ever approach “Lonesome Dove,” the best production I ever saw on television. Then, thankfully, along came the “Sopranos.” Picking between them is like picking between “Godfather” and” Godfather II.”
Finally, I have discovered “Breaking Bad” on Netflix discs, with no commercials. Hold your breath. It could be the best of the lot. And I am up to only season three.
“Bad” has fantastic casting, acting, plot and photography. What else is there? You never know what is going to happen from one moment to the next, let alone the next episode. It has been described as a “pitch black comedy.” If you liked “Fargo,” you will love “Bad.”
The show is the brainchild of writer/producer Vince Gilligan, who also created the “X-files.” I would love to meet Vince.
If you were as out of it as I was until a few weeks ago, you (poor thing) don’t know that “Bad” is about underachieving high school chemistry teacher named Walter White (Bryan Cranston). Not only is he a nebbish, leading a life of quiet desperation with his son fighting a crippling disease and a wife in a world of her own, but he discovers virulent cancer growing in his chest.
So far, Cranston has collected three well-deserved Emmys. You might remember him from the “Malcolm in the Middle” show, where he played the good father. Honest.
Problem number one becomes paying the mammoth hospital bills, since Walter is apparently not covered by Obamacare. To ease the pains of chemotherapy, Walter seeks marijuana from a former slacker student, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). Jesse opens the door to the drug world and Walter falls in, like Alice in Wonderland. Everyone in the show seems to beat on Jesse, at one time or the other. Plus, he falls through the top of a Porta Potty. Not a pleasant scene.
The highly unlikely pair start cooking methamphetamine in a battle-scarred (you ain’t seen nothing yet) Winnebago, parked in the middle of the desert. Walter, a highly skilled chemist finds his muse and starts cooking the best “meth” in the Southwest. Surprisingly, you find yourself supporting and understanding this radical departure from high school teaching.
You must pay the bills, right?
This is a long way from “I Love Lucy.” I don’t remember a “Lucy” show where she and Ethel caused a midair plane crash, with bodies slamming into their swimming pool.
Everybody is a “star” in this show. I think my favorite is the bear-like brother in law, Hank Shrader (Dean Norris) who just happens to be a highly aggressive DEA agent, looking for this new source of high grade meth, right under his nose. Wonderful acting.
Apparently, the drug trade is not a pleasant one. Apparently, the established dealers resent the new and better supply and they occasionally kill a few people to establish that point.
If your hero is a drug dealer, it is pretty hard to figure out the good guys and the bad guys. Like the “Sopranos,” this show has legendary bad guys. You have Mike (Jonathan Banks) who is a free-lance enforcer, you have Gustavo (Giancarlo Esposito) who takes over the meth operation and you have ultra-villian Tuco, (Raymond Cruz) who scares the hell out of everyone. He beats his own gang member to death, sort of by accident. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief when he is killed in a shootout with DEA agent Shrader.
The show, like “the Sopranos” is perversely funny, mostly with the highly corrupted lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) who labors mightily to keep Jessie and Walter out of prison. So far, he has become one of the good guys in this convoluted drug scheme.
Netflix has only sent the first three years so far and has warned that season four has a “very long wait.”
What? Who killed whom in season three?
I am addicted. I cannot wait a “very long” time. I must see what happened to Walter and Jesse. In the last episode, they each commited murder to save themselves. I think. I have to get to season four to find out.
What am I going to do? I need my “Bad” fix. I can’t watch the “new” shows on regular television. I have to watch them in order.
Perhaps I could watch the reruns of “The Sopranos” and “Lonesome Dove.”
But not “I Love Lucy.” Never.