Breaking Bad is considered to be one of the greatest television series of all time, and while I don’t disagree, it definitely isn’t on my list of favorites. I’m a TV connoisseur. You’d think that this, like the rest of the world, would be my favorite show. After hearing all of the rave reviews it received, I couldn’t wait to watch it. And while it held my interest and kept me intrigued to the very end, I just didn’t love it. Why, you ask? Well here it is: The characters.
That’s right, I didn’t love Breaking Bad because of the characters. For me, a big part of what makes me love a show is whether or not I love the characters and get invested in their story. I want to believe in them, and root for them, no matter what they do. That is what gets me invested in a show. Regardless of their actions or how bad they are, if I identify with a character, I can put that all aside. However, with Breaking Bad, I just could not get behind the actions of the characters.
For starters, I didn’t identify with Walter White. I love Bryan Cranston and he did an absolutely phenomenal job. That’s not the issue here. The issue for me was I simply didn’t like Walter as a man. I couldn’t get behind his actions. In the beginning, I definitely identified with him: a man dying of cancer who decides to use his knowledge of science to cook methamphetamine in order to provide for his family in the event of his impending death. How can you not get behind that? However, Walter’s mission soon changes and no longer becomes about his family, but himself. He gets addicted to cooking the meth and the feeling that it brings him, and he becomes consumed with it. He gets reckless, dangerous, and downright frightening.
In the end, I was so glad that he finally admitted to his wife that he didn’t do it for them, he did it for himself. We all knew it, but hearing him say it was one final piece of satisfaction that Walter brought me. Yet, in the final scene of the show, he walks around the meth lab and fondly reminisces on his time spent cooking. He places his hand atop the barrel and actually smiles. Are you serious?!?! Walter, this destroyed your family! They don’t care why you did it, they don’t care about the money, they don’t want anything to do with you! They’re not going to miss you. It’s a relief to them that you’re finally dead. Your daughter, who you barely got the chance to know, will not have a fond memory of her father. Your family is going to tell her that her daddy was a very bad man. And yet, there he is, still smiling at all the good times that meth brought him. That, for me was the breaking point. How could I support this man when I was just so angry with him? Don’t get me wrong, I think that was the point and Cranston executed it perfectly; however, I want to love the main character, not hate him.
I love Aaron Paul and Jesse was definitely my favorite of the characters, but even he didn’t have enough of a hook for me to get so invested. Hank, Skylar, Marie, Walt Jr., nobody quite grabbed me the way that I hoped.
And so, while I agree with every award that Breaking Bad won and think it was an incredible show with one of the greatest finales I’ve ever seen, it just wasn’t my favorite, simply because I’m a character girl. I’ve got to love my characters.
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