So here we are, just a little late in the game, starting to watch “Breaking Bad” on Netflix. I’d had it in the “instant queue” (now the “my list”) for a while but never got around to starting it up, mainly because I was busy watching anime series whenever my wife would fall asleep in the middle of a movie. But there we were one Saturday, having polished off the movie “Cyrus” in a nearly-unprecedented single sitting, with Tucker demanding a lap and couch time and my wife not quite ready to fall asleep yet. Well, why not finally give “Breaking Bad” a look?
Wife: “Why did he just crash his Winnebago into a ditch? Did we miss something?”
Me: “Umm, no, I guess that’s just how it starts.”
Wife: “Why is he in his underwear?”
Me: “I guess you don’t want to cook meth in your good clothes.”
Amazingly enough, my wife stayed awake for the entire hour-long episode, after which there was an exchange like this:
Wife: “I thought that was a movie. This is a series?”
Me: “Yes. Looks like Netflix has about fifty* episodes.”
Wife: “Let’s watch another one.”
So we watched another episode. And another one. And another one. One of those involved people getting melted into pink goo by acid. She didn’t like that part so much. That little hiccup aside, we’re on track for about one episode every night, and it hardly ever puts my wife to sleep. She actually asks to watch episodes of it. This may make it the Best Television Show Ever, or at least, the Best Television Show Since Early Episodes of “The X-Files“, which the creator of “Breaking Bad”, Vince Gilligan, used to write for and helped to produce. Coincidence?
Wife: “I haven’t gotten drawn into a show like this since ‘The X-Files’.”
I never planned to watch “The X-Files”; I only had Fox playing on that Friday night in August 1993 because I wanted to see “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.“, and we just sort of hung around to watch “The X-Files” afterwards. You can imagine how that turned out.
Me: “Hey I saved the next ‘Spider-Man’ movie in our Netflix queue. I know we didn’t like the last one, but this next one is going to have Jamie Foxx and Paul Giamatti in it, and you like them, so I–”
Wife (panic-stricken voice): “What? I want to watch ‘Breaking Bad’!”
As for me, the last times I got drawn into a show this fast was the first season of “Lost” and the first season of “The Walking Dead“. However, unlike with “Lost”, I’m pretty sure that Vince Gilligan knows where the hell he’s going with his story; and unlike with “The Walking Dead”, I know that the network didn’t keep firing show-runners over the course of the run, which has in my opinion had an at least temporarily disastrous effect on “TWD” every time it happens, and it happens a lot. I bailed on “Lost” during the second season after deciding it was getting all muddled with The Others and various diversions and red-shirting of new characters. But who knows? Maybe I’ll go back and give “Lost” another chance on Netflix, like I did with “TWD”, which I stopped watching for a while in Season Two after all the characters suddenly became stupid. (I am not the only one who thinks this; Emily Nussbaum dismantled “The Walking Dead” in a recent article in, of all places, The New Yorker.)
Anyway, “Breaking Bad” does not put my wife to sleep. So that means you should watch it. Trust me, you will never think of “rice & beans” the same way again.