Friday, January 21, 2011

The balance

I'm working my way through Season 1 of Breaking Bad, a show that gets a ton of press and not enough people watching. It's great, made more so, by the two central performances and as a character study, this show is up there with Mad Men. Bryan Cranston's character Walt is perfection.

He is an ordinary man with chemistry skills who is driven to make crystal meth to support his family. He has other options, options the audience is shown, but none that will allow Walt to sustain his pride, and so he really feels this is his only choice. The show does an amazing job of making us care for this man and completely understanding his choices.

Where the show doesn't completely succeed for me, is in the balance of the different subplots. Walt is maintaining two lives, one where he creates and sells drugs, and another where he is trying to maintain his family, and keep them from finding out about his new career.

One is literally life and death as Walt interacts with violent drug runners and the other, while intensely important to Walt, is whether or not his marriage will survive, and when it comes down to it, the drug interactions are so much more interesting and dramatic that I get impatient when the show focuses on anything else.

They haven't perfected the balance of plot and subplot yet, but I'm interested enough in the main plot to keep watching and see what happens when the two plots colide.

Anyone else watching Breaking Bad?


Maureen McGowan said...

I just watched Seasons 1 and 2.

I think they start to develop the sub plots better in the second season, focusing on stuff with the brother in law more, and giving some juicy stuff to Walt's partner.

My one beef with season 2, which I'm still on the fence about, is that right from the first episode, they are foreshadowing the end of the entire season... and the reality of what happens ends up being a bit of a cop out. Part of me thinks it was clever, part of me got angry.
But some really juicy stuff with the brother in law. He started to be as interesting to me as Walt.

Molly O'Keefe said...

It gets better and then in the second season it breaks yoru heart. And for me the perfection of that show is Aaron Paul - the drug dealer. Bryan Cranston is great - no doubt about it - but his conflict is almost all external - yes, it's awful what he has to do and what he's going through, but that guy commits to this ridiculous lifestyle and it starts to tear him apart - no doubt about it. But he's totally committed - all the way down to the bottom.

But oh, sweet Aaron Paul. I love this show and it's too tense to watch more than a couple of episodes at a time - but it's a good one.

Eileen said...

I know so many people who love this show, but it just didn't do it for me. I only watched three or four episodes, maybe I didn't give it enough time. Maybe it was too gritty. Maybe the sex was too yucky.

No. I know the sex was too yucky. But I don't think it was only that.

Sinead M said...

Eileen, it took a few episodes for me to really start to like the show. The sex is yucky... I might have missed a couple of episodes at the beginning, or maybe Spartacus has completely jaded me, but is there sex in Breaking Bad?

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