Herbie J Pilato: “Breaking,” Good?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Time now for TVWriter™ to weigh in on the BREAKING BAD, um, thing.

But probably not the way you thought we would.

breaking-bad-tvwriter.comby Herbie J Pilato

I recently sent the following request to all of those on my obsessive/compulsive email list:

“I’ve never seen one single episode of Breaking Bad (I know, crazy, right?) – but according to all the press (from all over the universe) it clearly has the potential to save (if not the Universe – then at least) the world.

So, please – for my own edification (and maybe a few blogs and writings down the road), what the heck is it about – and why the double-heck is it so popular?”

Some of their prime (and now anonymous) responses were:

[1]        “Hmm.  My best suggestion is for you to watch the pilot episode.  It’s only about 45 minutes long so not that big of a time investment.  Then you will have an inkling of an idea if the show is for you – subject wise, as opposed to reading other people’s opinions for hours on end.

As someone who watched and enjoyed every episode, I felt like it was one of the few shows that really kept me on the edge of my seat, made me relate to the characters even as they underwent big transformations, and always kept me longing for more at the end of each episode. Also it’s a smart show that really rewards its vigilant viewers when it came to setting things up & paying them off.

There was no spoon feeding plot points.  You had to pay attention & use your own intuition to follow along. Everything was there for a reason. No red herrings.  But you had to sometimes be patient for things to come back around or to finally make sense.”

[2]        “It is intriguing because it chronicles the transition of an ordinary suburbanite chemistry teacher and others around him into an increasingly dark world as a result of ambiguous moral choices.

Basic premise: He is dying of cancer and chooses to manufacture meth as a way to make money for his family when he is gone.  But the choices start to snowball from there.  Plus it is hilarious as a dark comedy as well.”

This individual was even kind enough to suggest I click into this link (for “another few perspectives”):  http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/09/29/walter-whites-soul-and-yours

[3]        “It’s about a man who is a chemistry teacher at a high school struggling with bills at home and discovers that he has cancer and is in a battle with chemo and struggling about how to secure his family financially …  his brother in law is a drugs cop that takes him along one day to make a drug bust … being a chemist he then decides to go into making crystal meth and is very good at it.

The next four years are filled with excitement and suspense it is so popular because every man out there (can relate) to what this man will do for his family … but at the very last episode we find a surprise about that.”

4]         “I haven’t watched it either…which doesn’t mean much since I don’t watch much anyway…but my oldest [son] was just tonight saying that he recently “caught up” with all of the seasons using  Netflix, is going to watch the series finale tonight, and says it’s probably the best TV drama ever.”

But probably my favorite response, for various and maybe even a few obvious reasons, was as follows:

“Dear HJP: Like yourself, I’ve never seen Breaking Bad. But it’s about a math teacher who made and sold crystal meth. The series got darker and darker. The acclaim comes from (and my friend who loves the show swears by this) outstanding writing, direction, and performances. Hey, you can’t argue with those three areas.

The plot just doesn’t appeal to me. I never watched it. I’ve never watched The Sopranos, either. I’m sure they are well-made TV series. They just don’t appeal to me.  The darkest series I ever watched was The Shield (FX) and I had to leave the series mid-way because it became too dark and disturbing for me.

I do love series such as Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.  Excellent shows that I also have to take frequent breaks from. I’m realistic towards life and TV. But my real life is stressful enough. I have to watch what I “watch.”

I’m an intense person, so I’m careful what I expose my mind and heart to. I soak things up like a sponge. That includes TV and films. I most enjoy The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, The Middle, Once Upon A Time, The Golden Girls, The Munsters and of course, our beloved Bewitched.

[And by the way], my copy of [your new book] THE ESSENTIAL ELIZABETH MONTGOMERY arrived today.  And by that, I mean, it ‘just arrived!’  I’m insanely busy this week, but will look at it and get back to you as soon as my schedule calms down.”

You gotta love the true, dedicated TV fans of the world, er…the universe!

About Herbie J Pilato

Writer, Author, Producer, Actor, Singer/Songwriter, Lover of Life