Bye Bye, Breaking Bad

As far as series finales go, I remain ever hopeful that Breaking Bad goes out on a high note, unlike, for example, Seinfeld.

Both shows sit atop the list of best ever in my estimation, and for very different reasons. The final season (or half season, if you choose to view it that way) of Breaking Bad has been nothing short of typically spectacular. Just when you think you’ve got the plot and story arc pinned down, it zigs or zags into a completely different direction. In this day and age of 24/7 media and fan coverage, that in itself is truly remarkable.

Think about that for a second. Thanks to social media, how difficult is it to avoid the buzz and requisite spoilers than inevitably come when anything is released. It’s like before we’ve heard Yeezus we already know everything about it and are tired of hearing of its existence. Same goes with movies. I feel like I’ve seen something before I even get the chance to. We’ve become obsessed with experiencing content and moving onto the next thing. We don’t take time to savor in the thing that we’re trying to enjoy, and just be present in the experience. So for this reason, I’ve done everything I can to avoid Breaking Bad recaps, precaps (they exist, check out grantland.com) and general buzz surrounding the show as it reaches its end. I do this so as to be as fresh and unencumbered by mental clutter as I take in the shows, and so far it’s worked wonderfully. Every twist and turn is a new experience for me. I don’t know who is going to die, who is going to jail, anything about any of the characters. I can speculate, but I keep it to myself.

I have no doubt that Breaking Bad will end in ways that I couldn’t imagine, because so far the show has been surprise after surprise.

I have recently re-watched the entire Seinfeld series in succession. I do this from time to time with TV shows that I enjoy. I’m due to revisit The Wire next, for example. And as I got closer to the Seinfeld finale, a strange sense of mild anxiety took hold of me. I was actually dreading the thought of revisiting the experience, as I’ve never had a good association with the episode. It could’ve been so different to what it ultimately was. They brought Larry David back, which was a good sign. He’d left following season seven, and it showed. The show had gone from insightful humor of the highest order to a cringeworthy half-hour of slapstick and flimsy plots (The Frogger episode, anyone?). It was so bad in fact, that David essentially did an about-face on his own show, Curb Your Enthusiasm. He devoted an entire season (among the best for this fantastic show) to reimagining the finale.

What was so unusual for me was that they took a show that defined itself as being about nothing, and crammed just about everything into the final episode. They went against the ethos of the show itself! I’m pretty sure every character, both major and minor, had a turn in the spotlight in the courtroom scene. Larry David has been quoted as saying that he has no misgivings about how the finale ultimately turned out, but I think somewhere deep down he feels like he’d overcooked it just a tad.

As for Breaking Bad and its swan song, I find it hard to believe that I, or anyone else for that matter, will be disappointed with how it goes out. I’ll just be sad that it’s gone forever.

 

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