Yesterday we had Vince Gilligan on the show. For those of you that don’t know - Mr. Gilligan is the creator and executive producer of Breaking Bad. And for those of you that don’t know ME, I’m obsessed with it.
The reasons behind my addiction are complicated. They change day to day, and episode to episode. They’re deep, they’re shallow, they’re artistic, they’re utilitarian.
I love the cinematography. It’s the best shot show on television. Nobody does more work, or is more effective with light, angles, and lenses. They drive the vision. You aren’t seeing what you want to see, you’re seeing what they make you see. It’s the difference between watching a show, and experiencing it.
I love the cold-opens. Sometimes they’re a continuation of the last show. Sometimes they feel completely non-sequitur. They always draw me in, and they’re always critical to some portion of the episode. We learned that lesson again this past Sunday.
I love the characters. Anti-heroes abound, as Walter and Jesse cook and sling meth across New Mexico. Kids are getting poisoned, people are dropping dead all around them, and somehow the writing allows you to keep justifying your favoritism. I loved Tuco, I loved his Tio, I loved the Twins. I loved Gus Fring. I love that Hank is at once a very good DEA agent, and completely oblivious to his brother-in-law’s life. I love that it became plainly obvious that “Heizenberg” has completely lost his mind, but I’m still holding out hope that he’ll rein it in. I love that Jesse has become the voice of reason, and the moral compass.
Breaking Bad plays on the notion that under extraordinary conditions, people are capable of extraordinary things. We all like to believe that with our backs to the wall, when the hooey hits the fan, when cliches meet cliches - we’d be able to rise to the occasion. But Gilligan and his crew remind us that not all ‘occasions’ call for rising, and that sometimes - when asked to reach deep within ourselves - we’re forced to pull out something ugly in order to survive. THAT is the line his show walks. If you want to believe you’re capable of great things, then be honest about your capability for evil.
That’s the hook. Our very own Lily of the Valley Plant in the backyard of our viewing consciousness.
Could I be Hank? Could I be Jesse? Could I be Gus? Could I be Walter? Maybe.