It had been my intention this week to write something light-hearted and even humorous about some fairly unfunny situations taking place—the insanity going on in the House of Representatives, for example, with the threats of shutdown/default (a situation which once again begs the question—are current House Republicans getting close to traitor-hood?), or the complexity of making this Syrian chemical weapons agreement actually work, or the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that concluded it’s now 95 percent certain that our planet is getting warmer because of the activity of humans, and could we please stop arguing and denying and finally get around to doing?
But I'm not up for it. My deadline approaches yet I'm just not feeling any of that stuff. I'm emotionally spent since Breaking Bad concluded last night. And goddamn, those guys stuck the finish. So what was it about this freakin' show that got me and millions of others all caught up and crazed?
1. Its location was interesting. It was simply time for Albuquerque to dent the national consciousness! Not only was a show set in New Mexico completely new and fresh, but many of us appreciated a show that wasn't set in a goddamn apartment complex in New York or a glitzy neighborhood in Los Angeles. Very simply, no other show has ever looked quite like BB. Meetings would take place on lonely desert back roads. Days would pass with the help of fantastic time-lapse photography. Stunning stuff.
2. Through the character of young Jesse Pinkman, a recent high school grad and typical modern wastrel thoroughly involved in the meth scene, BB could establish some serious, young, hip credibility. And it did so with gusto. With Jesse and his buddies, us old squares could get a feel for how Jesse's generation truly look at school, life, love, and money. These unapologetic cross-generational glimpses would bristle with cred, 'tude, and humor.
3. The music on the show was always good and often sensational. This was something the BB producers stole from The Sopranos, and wisely so. The Sopranos, you'll recall, made great use of perfectly chosen songs to enhance certain scenes. So did BB. There is one montage where Walt is making blue meth and mad money to the entire four minutes of Tommy James “Crystal Blue Persuasion” that is just nothing less than perfect. The effect was thrilling.
But I'm glad Bad is over. It was an extraordinary show and a helluva ride, but, in the end, there comes a time where you just have to get off the roller coaster. As show creator Vince Gilligan said, “I'd rather check out one season too early than stay on one minute too long.” Right on, VG. But when the super deluxe ultra mega BB box set goes on sale in time for Christmas, I'll be rested and ready. I just gotta have that Los Pollos Hermanos Bar-B-Q apron!