Like everyone with cable or, in my case, no money for cable but just enough for an internet connection, I’ve been watching Breaking Bad.
I got on the bandwagon so late that it practically drove away with me clinging to the axel, wondering if I really wanted to be there–that is, I only just started watching it this summer. I was more or less caught up by the time this season started. Since for the last five seasons I have been regaled with raves and hyperbolic declarations that BrBa is “THE BEST SHOW EVERRRR” and “AMAZING EVERY WEEK” from dozens of different people, I was stoked to start watching it but suspected it wouldn’t live up to the hype.
Let me tell you, the hype is right about one major thing: the acting really is the best there is on TV right now. This show features consistently best performances of a truly gifted cast, where ever actor is solid and nobody makes the choices you’d expect. Bryan Cranston is simply astonishing. I love this about the show.
What I do not love, however, is Walter White.
Hear me out.
He grabbed our sympathy and hope from the beginning, making meth to support his struggling family in the wake of his lung cancer diagnosis. That’s great. It’s admirable. We love watching people make questionable decisions with noble intentions and the “WHAT WILL HAPPEN??!?!”-factor is off the charts.
But his meth empire is all he has anymore. I won’t go into details because I hate when people spoil things for me on the internet and plus you, dear reader, are probably watching along with the rest of the TV-owning populace, so why waste both our time? But DAMN. He can’t get out, he says, but that’s bullshit. He doesn’t want to. He just wants Skylar to be happy for him and not mind that he is now a drug lord, for her to let his kids back into their home, and to keep KILLING PEOPLE even though he says he won’t, because he has to in order to maintain control.
We have watched him go from a stressed but loving father facing his own mortality to a psychopathic manipulator, a compulsive liar and a non-hesitational murderer. Which, in theory, makes for great TV, but here’s why I hate Walter, and why it’s getting harder for me to watch the show:
It’s too…real. I almost don’t care what happens to Walter and I don’t want to know. I just want him to go away so Skylar and the kids can move on and be safe. I want Jesse to get his life in order. It’s hard for me to separate those feelings with the entertainment factor of the tightening noose over the neck of the whole story. I feel less like an audience member and more like a voyeur.
In a way, that is a testament to the performers and the writers; they have created and presented (consistently!) a slice of life more chilling and terrible than what most of us will ever know. I just have such a hard time separating audience me from reluctant voyeur me. I want to shake Walter so hard his teeth rattle and tell him to LOOK at all the damage he is doing to the family he got in this mess to save.
It’s a lot of emotions to have over a TV character. Maybe it isn’t necessarily Walter’s fault, but that is why I hate him so much.