Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Breaking Bad

Hi Mum, I think you’ll appreciate this – give it a chance XXX

This was a note accompanying a late birthday gift from my #2 son.

It turned out to be the complete first series of an America TV programme – Breaking Bad which I had never heard of and when I read the blurb I had my doubts.

Walt White is a middle aged chemistry teacher who has just been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.  He loves his wife who is expecting a second child and their first – a teen–age boy - has cerebral palsy.  Walt is desperate to leave them provided for after his death.

He teams up with an ex student Jesse - a dealer - and together they take an old RV into the desert and make crystal meth which Jesse will sell to his dubious associates.  The dubious associates turn out to be murderous but Walt is a chemist par excellence and makes short shrift of them.

Walt’s secret plan to leave sufficient funds on his death to give his family security is hampered when the family, on learning about his cancer, are desperate that he should have the best possible treatment which would use up all the money he is making.  There are a number of moral dilemmas – not least does a man who is suffering from terminal cancer have the right to eschew all treatment and let nature take its course.  Walt feels he does have the right but when he sees the distress this causes his loved ones he relents and has the chemo with the inherent hair loss and awful nausea.
 Just to complicate matters Walt’s brother in law is a DEA agent.  He offers to finance Walt’s treatment but Walt refuses and convinces his wife it is being funded by an old friend.

It all sounds totally immoral and why would one want to watch someone slowly dying and creating may hem.  All I can tell you is I found myself watching the first five episodes glued to the set until a late bed-time.  First of all it is a rattling good yarn – fast paced – beautifully photographed and the acting is real.
Most of the characters are likeable and the relationship between Walt and Jesse is sad, bitter and humorous.  There is quite a bit of black humour.  The love between Walt, his wife and Walt junior is believable and touching.  The son is played by R.J. Mitte who himself has a milder form of cerebral palsy. Forget about Brad Pitt – R.J. is a real dream boat.  Part of the third disc has the cast chatting about the production and everybody adored R. J.

The character of Jesse is interesting – apparently a no-good drop out who came from a good home and got into drugs.  On a visit home – on his best behaviour, you see what a disappointment his flunking education was to his parents who now were concentrating on the highly academic younger son. Drugs were found by their maid – Jesse was blamed and thrown out and the younger son thanked him for not giving him away.  Why had both sons turned to drugs one wondered?

I expect many of you over the pond are familiar with this series – it has been out since 2008 and won many awards.  This is an example of the type of drama that Americans are superb at and I can’t wait to see the rest of the series.

You chose well # 2 son.  BTW he was originally put on to it by his son – my grand son so that is three generations – although I hesitate to call it a family film.


rashbre said...

Ahah! I saw this advertised on one of the UK TV channels but didn't have a clue about it. Now I know it's something that I think I'll watch.

R. Sherman said...

I'm afraid I've not seen seen it. It does sound interesting though.


The Unbearable Banishment said...

You are correct that it's a big hit here in the U.S. People seem to love it.

There's been a titanic shift in entertainment. Starting with HBO's The Sopranos and The Wire, great writing has returned to TV via cable. Weeds, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Mad Men and a few others are as good as anything you'll see on the big screen.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh Yes, Oh Yes! I think this series is FANTASTIC! It gets better and better with each year, and more horrendous in so many ways, too. I agree with everything you have said about it. The Acting, Writing and the Direction, are ALL Stunning...! I hope you get to see all the seasons, Pat. I don't think you will be disappointed. And, that a TV Series can appeal so strongly to such a range of people---In your own family, three generations---is quite astounding, don't you think!
The actor who plays Walt, has won the Emmy three times I think---He wasn't eligible for a Nomination this past year because "BREAKING BAD'S" Season did not fit into the correct dates for it....But, it will, this season, I believe. So...it will be interesting if he is Nominated, once again. ENJOY the rest of Season 1, my dear....!

busana muslim said...

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angryparsnip said...

I am the minority.

I see so many people like this show but for me I can't.
It drive me crazy. I can't watch it.

The reality of all the bad choices made and we celebrate that.
The fact he is now producing Crystal Meth a horrible drug so his family will have/make money on the blood and deaths of others.
Where I live I see the damage from the drug trade, the deaths, the killings the way it permeates into my everyday life.....

A Big No Thanks for me !

But as I said I am probable the only person in the world who feels this way.

cheers, parsnip

Pat said...

Rashbre: yes watch it and then decide. It isn't to everybody's taste.

Randall: I'd be interested in your opinion.

UB: you certainly have a wealth of choice over there.

Naomi: I'm watching it for the second time . It's amazing what one misses the forst time and I actually had skipped over an episode.

Busana: I'm glad you liked

Parsnip: you are not the only one. MTL wouldn't dream of watching it and I watch it when he isn't around.
I totally understand and respect what you feel about it.