Monday, August 27, 2012

Breaking bad down

I've watched every episode of breaking bad (...well, to episode 8 of season 5, anyway). For those that are not in the know, it's about Malcom's Dad getting diagnosed with Cancer and turning to meth production with the help of a high school drop-out (who would assist with distribution) as a means of providing his family with a little cream for when he passes on.

Needless to say, things go a little (lot) awry and he realises that meth production is a lot harder than he thought it would be. I enjoyed the premise although the implementation left little to be desired. Far too much time was spent fixing issues that they created because the producers/writers needed another set piece to be introduced and they had nothing better than forcing one of their characters to do something completely out of character to produce this desired effect. They also go out of their way to make every single female character completely annoying ... apart from one**.

(spoilers ahead)
**She soon over-doses while Walter (Malcom's Dad) watches on and his partner lies passed out next to her ... which is completely out of character for anyone that isn't suffering from cancer and isn't a sociopath. This show cannot possibly have a likable female character but her demise was inevitable. I did predict her downfall as soon as I saw her if that's any consolation (pretty, sane woman befriends ex meth-head = death from overdose). This is a 'gritty' drama, and so, it's only natural that every person gets their come-uppance in the end. FYI: there are references to Scar Face in season 5. Hmmm... wonder what Walt's going to be doing in the grande finale? Considering Season 5 starts (a flash forward one year into the future) with him purchasing a machine gun/grenade launcher almost exactly the same as Pacino's should make the finale pretty obvious.

Anyway, Walter does a whole bunch of really stupid things that only a moron (or meth-head) would do. Except he's an intelligent (ex) high school chemistry teacher, which makes what I am about to list of out-of-character moments even more out of place:
  • Walter goes into partnership with a meth dealer / ex student of his high school class.
  • Walter makes a move on a colleague at high school and is instantly fired from his high school job.
  • Walter spouts random dark words at 100% inopportune moments any chance the writers feel that there isn't enough drama. This mostly occurs in front of his DEA brother-in-law.
  • One day Walter doesn't want any partners, the next he does.
  • Walter poisons his partner's pseudo child just so his partner's focus can return to full-blown meth manufacturing.
  • Walter buys a muscle car + luxury sedan *cash* and flaunts it under his DEA brother-in-law's nose
  • Walter, apparently, doesn't have an understanding of basic arithmetic as he's always surprised when his cut isn't larger (despite being able to do complex yield calculations in his head).
Other bone head moments:
  • Jesse does *not* use plastic containers to dissolve the dead gunman, despite Walter's expressed desire that he should. The guy dissolves through the bath tub and then through the floor of his parent's home. Hilarity ensues.
  • Walter and his wife devise  the weakest cover story possible by stating that "Walt's good at cards" and, therefore, that this is the perfect cover for his new-found wealth.
  • Apparently the girl that Walter witnesses O.D. was the daughter of an Air Traffic Controller, which results in a mid-air crash that just happens to occur directly over Walter's house, hence the burnt pink teddy bear. Ridiculous ... or the world's best example of chaos theory in effect.
  • The wife has an affair (not so far fetched) and because she's the accountant for her bone-head boss,  then feels compelled to cover her boss' cooked books with Walter's money to the tune of around 600K ... without Walter's knowledge.
  • The boss decides to buy/lease a 300K sports car instead because, hey, what's the IRS gonna do? Put him in jail for tax evasion?
  • She orders her lawyer's thugs to go and push him to pay the outstanding taxes and he snaps his neck through an act of god.
  • Walt kills Mike for no good reason other than "he's now Heisenberg" (the god particle?). I'm sure this will play out somehow where Jesse (the partner) finds out. What drama.
  • His DEA brother-in-law finally cottons onto Walt possibly being a meth manufacturer. NOT because he doesn't work anymore. NOT because he's a brilliant chemist. NOT because he bought multiple cars cash. NOT because he bought a car wash cash. But because he found a book in Walt's house signed by the guy Mr DEA found murdered (also referring to Walt as W.W. in the inscription). Way to sleuth that one, Mr DEA.
I could go on but I won't - far too many bone head/silly moments to list. But the biggest point is that every single woman in this is really annoying. The writers must all be misogynist because no love is directed towards them and pretty much nothing particularly consequential comes from anything they happen to do ... outside of them being a pain in the ass every time they're on screen. You could quite happily watch this series without any one of them and the story would be a whole lot better.

Classic example ... need I say more? (Although Nurse Ratched did make the  film)
  • Walt's wife: nagging, vindictive, philanderous, catatonic, suicidal, prone to silent treatments, prone to aggressive outbursts, smokes cigarettes while pregnant.
  • DEA's wife: nagging, kleptomaniac, unable to keep a secret, gossiper, prone to jealousy.
  • Skyler: pretty cool, attractive, a little punk ... and dead through O.D on meth/heroine.
  • Lydia: squirrely, opportunistic, prone to putting hits out on all those that know her, compulsive liar.
The women really get the short end of the stick most of the time. The guys are still annoying but less so. I think this series would have been far better if the characters had stayed true to their personae and not as prone to uncharacteristic outbursts for the sake of creating a situation. This broke the realism and destroyed any sense of rapport with them. This is a series of coulda and shoulda. So close, but no meth for you.