Wednesday, June 3, 2009

essay on Breaking Bad

Here's a great take on the greatness of the TV drama show Breaking Bad, from a random commenter dmallet on AMC's Breaking Bad website.

"This is the finest dramatic work of art I have ever seen. Be it films, theatre, or television, this is the most spectacular entertainment to date. If America needs to see what the failure of the War on Drugs has caused, they need look no further than this show. Walt is the symbol of all unassuming people who have been seduced by the unregulated, uncontrolled universe of organized crime fuelled by drugs. But, it is not only a statement on a matter of policy and morality. It is also a detailed portait of a failing marriage. It is a commentary on the folly of youth. It is an expose of the sordid underbelly of addiction. It is a glimpse into corruption at every level. It is a terse and biting knock at the disarray of the American Health care system. It is an emotionally devastating dissection of the family unit from several different angles. It is another in a fine line of creative endeavors that has taken on the difficult task of satirizing suburban life and does so perfectly. It is all of these things and more. It is the most provocative, complex and rewarding show ever broadcast on television. 

Several years ago, a horrid, melodramatic film called Crash won the Oscar for best picture. It attempted to connect various characters and situations together to make a statement about the struggle between races for equality and acceptance. Here drugs and the criminal underworld act as an initial catalyst for a deeply felt, artful exposition of the human soul in all of its complexity. Where Crash, Magnolia, Short Cuts, or American Beauty succeeded ( and let me add that Crash fails on every count to feel the least bit genuine), Breaking Bad triumphs.

But don't view this simply as a pastiche of events...see it as the unfolding of a solitary sell a hard drug to help sustain his family after his death. A dark means to an end. Every man, woman and child has made a decision like this. Perhaps we have had a child as a result of a night of impulsive passion, unfurling a lifetime of changes, all based on a moment we decided to keep removing articles of clothing. Perhaps we have lashed out in anger, and escaped into a self destructive pattern of behaviour. Walt, Skyler, Flynn, Hank, Jesse, Jane...the entire cast of characters is a prism of the human condition.

One knows when they have witnessed great art when it conjures up emotions that cause a person to pause and reflect, to see this painful mosaic of life and identify with those elements that ring true in your own life. And simultaneously, it is supreme entertainment. 

I pray that come Emmy time, the Academy is willing to reward Season 2 for what it is...a watershed moment in television and art in general and do their part to ensure that the public knows of it. 

I have no hesitation proclaiming Breaking Bad as a modern masterpiece, alongside M.A.S.H and All In The Family as the best this or any genre has to offer"


Anonymous said...

your a fuckin genius

Anonymous said...

It's impossible to write about Breaking Bad without mentioning The Wire, which I think still claims the title Best Show Ever in the History of American Television. And its influence on BB is pretty obvious.

However, that doesn't take anything away from BB and it's own unique brilliance. But let's give credit where it's due.


Anonymous said...

it's own unique brilliance = ITS own unique brilliance. Darn typos.