I have done the impossible.
Well, actually, I have done the probable. I finished five and a half seasons of Breaking Bad in two and a half weeks.
And unlike the rest of you who have been congregating from week-to-week, season-to-season, around your television to catch the AMC drama, I have completed this journey all by my lonesome. Just me, myself, and Mackenzie (my laptop).
Remember the good ol’ mantra “the medium is the message”? I should have clued into it just by thinking about the concept of Netflix. It’s instantaneous and convenient and produces addicts. Kind of like Heisenberg and his blue meth.
Suddenly, my life was no longer just focused on watching the show…it actually became the show.
It started off slow. At first I was gathering my bearings just by getting to know the characters, understand everyone’s motives, doing a little background research on the cast and crew. You know, the usual creeping. Given that all everyone told me was that the dad from Malcolm in the Middle played the main character and you can’t even begin to believe that fact yada-yada-yada, there wasn’t anything particularly exciting about this aspect of my experience with the show (but, in all fairness, Bryan Cranston is incredible).
But then I started noticing things. Things like the use of chemical elements when they list cast members’ names in the opening credits. How much time Walt actually spends hanging out in his underwear. Jesse’s limited vocabulary. The tacky decorations in Saul’s office. Walt Jr./Flynn’s obsession with breakfast. What did it all mean? What did it represent?
And when I started thinking about it, I realized that this show actually had some deep stuff to it. Like, really deep.
My undergrad education kicked into high gear as I began to dissect the show in terms of morality, surveillance, the various conceptions and representations of family, Skylar as a feminist, Jesse’s relationship with kids, and how Marie is most definitely a Western alumni.
I really and truly hoped it would end there because hey, at least I could maintain some semblance of my intellectual dignity.
But no. Instead I often found myself sitting in my kitchen thinking about how sad I felt for Jesse Pinkman and proceeded to Google all things Aaron Paul and began to develop some sort of temporary crush on him. I looked up Buzzfeed articles since I was now a part of the Walter White fanclub and understood all of the lolz. Creeping on Reddit BB conspiracy feeds . Why? Because binge watching Breaking Bad made me more concerned for a fictitious world than I was for my own. And I needed more.
It’s like finally getting into that exclusive club that everyone you know is a part of and receiving a gold membership. It was fulfilling. It was exhilarating. Like, some real Maslow Hierarchy emotions. I could laugh at the YouTube parodies because they finally made sense. The fact that I could finally buy a Los Pollos t-shirt because hey, it would make one great statement: this girl has good taste in food, and in television shows. And yeah, getting a tattoo that said “Heisenberg” seemed like a great idea.
…that is, until I hit rock bottom.
I was charged $20 for going over my monthly internet bandwith because I had watched so much Breaking Bad. And may have gotten a slight scolding from my father. We couldn’t use the internet for three days and it was all my fault.
Perhaps if I hadn’t ignored this article on Complex I would have avoided this tragic path that I ended up on. But I did ignore it. I didn’t tread lightly. I justified watching fourteen episodes in twenty four hours. I isolated my family from the world wide web because all I did was think about my own desire to know what came next. To be able to say I was a part of the movement for what’s been called one of the greatest television shows of all time, even if it was towards the very end of its run. I relearned the periodic table of elements for this show.
All for what? I am still unsure what I really gained from all of this in the end.
And so now, from one Breaking Bad Binger to any potential ones out there… don’t do it. Just don’t.
Thank goodness Sons of Anarchy is back.