Posts tagged "Breaking Bad"
The Year in Television 2013

The Year in Television 2013

2013 was a little tricky in terms of television–I can’t remember the medium ever being so dominated by a single show like it was by Breaking Bad. In this instance, that was a very good thing; even the year-end backlash that we’re currently seeing can’t obscure the conclusion of what was for all intents and purposes a Great American Novel. But there were plenty of signs of life elsewhere, including a number I’m sure we didn’t catch. But here are a few.

Top Twelve Television Series of 2013

12. Parenthood. Because even if it’s faltering, we can’t not include the most consistently…

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Criminal Memory and the Myth of “Getting Away With It”

Criminal Memory and the Myth of “Getting Away With It”

In the suburb where I grew up, I can still picture the house of a younger friend in the cul-de-sac, the split-floor entry, the metal banisters, the dirty carpet. I even especially remember the parent’s bedroom, and the mirror on the door, and I remember it because this is where their kid and I would take turns saying cuss words. We’d stand in the empty house, fourth grade or so, and try out the ones we knew—which, to no surprise, was most of them—watching our faces in the mirror as we said them. It’s funny to think about that now,…

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Another Week Ends: Tribal Morality, Passports to Eden, Reflektor, Spufford in the Times, Social Wiring, Hemingway’s Granddaughter, Anxious Simpsons, and Heisenberg on Ice

Another Week Ends: Tribal Morality, Passports to Eden, Reflektor, Spufford in the Times, Social Wiring, Hemingway’s Granddaughter, Anxious Simpsons, and Heisenberg on Ice

1. Next week, Harvard psychologist Joshua Greene is slated to release a new book on behavioral morality, examining the everyday irrationalities and subconscious biases that Kahneman, Tversky and company have popularized over the last few decades (aside: are all titles/covers copying Malcolm Gladwell?). A common behavioral problem, the “trolley experiment”, asks people to make a hypothetical decision: if a train cannot brake and is about to run over five people, would you pull a lever that would divert it, but cause it to hit one other person? Many people answer ‘yes’. But take the same scenario, and now you have to…

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Another Week Ends: Breaking Bad Wrap-Ups and Walter White’s One-Way Love

Another Week Ends: Breaking Bad Wrap-Ups and Walter White’s One-Way Love

As you may have seen on any of your go-to websites this week, the internet has been inundated with Breaking Bad wrap-ups. And, besides the oft-dour Twittersphere, it is plain to see that its ending had an overwhelmingly positive response. It finished on top, with more viewers (10.8 million) than it’s ever had, or ever expected to have; and regardless of the colossal pressure given to any show with such a closed-loop system of justice, the show seemed to deliver a fitting ending with tight report. But it wasn’t the mechanics of the finale so much as the final characterization…

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Dixie, When I Let You Go: A Few More Thoughts on Breaking Bad’s Finale

Dixie, When I Let You Go: A Few More Thoughts on Breaking Bad’s Finale

Before the world moves on, we thought we’d offer a second take on the Breaking Bad finale. I consider this something of an abbreviated follow-up to my CT piece on the show this past summer. Spoilers abound:

The universe of Breaking Bad has always been a closed or ‘finite’ system (as Vince Gilligan hammered home in his comments on Talking Bad the other night), and the finale bore this out in a remarkably confident manner, with Gilligan giving the last word to Badfinger’s Pete Ham, who sings “Guess I got what I deserved” over Walt’s dead body. Indeed, deserving was the…

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On TV: Breaking Bad, “Felina”

On TV: Breaking Bad, “Felina”

This covers last night’s finale, “Felina.” Spoilers!

“I started from scratch. I made another, then another. And by the end of the semester, by box number five, I had built this thing. You should’ve seen it, it was insane. I mean, I built it out of Peruvian walnut with inlaid zebrawood. It was fitted with pegs, no screws. I sanded it for days until it was smooth as glass. And then I rubbed all the wood with tung oil, so it was rich and dark. It even smelled good. You know, you put your nose in it and breathed in… it…

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Another Week Ends: Grand Theft Auto, Angry Net Users, One Way Love, Self-Helpy Great Books, Anti-Altruistic Kickstarters, and More Breaking Bad

Another Week Ends: Grand Theft Auto, Angry Net Users, One Way Love, Self-Helpy Great Books, Anti-Altruistic Kickstarters, and More Breaking Bad

1. For starters, Grand Theft Auto V is out! (If you need a strong case for dabbling in it, go here). Kill Screen posted a doozie of a review, provocatively titled, “Grand Theft Auto 5 channels the violent, lonely minds of men, especially mine“, ht SZ:

I shudder with recognition… at the bleeding edge of reality in Grand Theft Auto V. I am both delighted and disturbed by how much I see elements of myself, and of everyone I know, in the narratives of the three protagonists: Michael, Franklin Clinton and Trevor Philips.

That statement doesn’t look too good, for my health or for…

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Two More Days…

Choose your own adventures, thanks to Vulture.

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On TV: Breaking Bad, “Granite State”

On TV: Breaking Bad, “Granite State”

Again, if you haven’t watched “Granite State,” Breaking Bad’s most recent episode, wait to read this! Spoilers abound.

If last week’s episode was the spelling out of the end, the unveiling of all lies, this week’s episode did two things to show what will endure in the wake of the truth.

The first, of course, is the utter isolation that surrounds nearly every character in Walt’s world. Skyler is alone to face legal prosecution. Marie is now husbandless, in a car with DEA agents. Saul is headed to Nebraska. Junior answers the phone, alone, in his school’s counseling office. Brock is now…

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Another Week Ends: Merciful Pontifex, Louis CK’s Daughters, Winning Losers, Seinfeld Movies, Dairy Queen Grace, and Whitewashing Walter

Another Week Ends: Merciful Pontifex, Louis CK’s Daughters, Winning Losers, Seinfeld Movies, Dairy Queen Grace, and Whitewashing Walter

1. This guy! No doubt you’ve seen it elsewhere, but a must-read interview with Pope Francis I appeared this week in which the undeniably humble and surprisingly sympathetic Bishop of Rome articulated something like a new poetics of faith. Ironically enough, most pundits have jumped on his decidedly apolitical focus as evidence of some political agenda or other, but to these ears it just sounds like heartfelt Christianity of the most non-churchy variety. His comments aren’t easy to pare down, but if we had to put together a Mockingbird highlight reel, it would probably look like this:

I ask Pope Francis…

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On TV: Breaking Bad, “Ozymandias”

On TV: Breaking Bad, “Ozymandias”

Be warned! The following is on last night’s (bloodcurdling) Breaking Bad episode. Spoilers!

That’s Heisenberg himself, reading Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” the warning knell for any human emperor facing the leveling work of time. Like the cold open of this week’s episode, the flashback to the first cook–which took place where this standoff takes place–we are given Shelley’s Egyptian landscape in the desert of New Mexico. This is Breaking Bad’s now-staple poetic foreshadowing. Here, tonight, dies the Heisenberg Empire, in the same place of the first lie he ever told.

We are watching in this episode, horrifically, the leveling work of the truth and,…

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On TV: Breaking Bad, “To’haliijee”

On TV: Breaking Bad, “To’haliijee”

This covers last night’s episode of the final season of Breaking Bad. Spoilers!

To’haliijee, the Navajo reservation upon which the empire began in the Fleetwood Bounder in Season 1, now lines up the beginning of its end–and the end is coming by way of inversion. In last night’s episode, we watch a painted redux of the old westerns, of the outlaw rounded up in the landscape where he made his fortune, justice served by his embittered sidekick, and the marshall who’s gone to all lengths to get him. But after the capture, it all turns inside-out, and a new cowboy’s…

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Why Does Everyone Hate Skyler White?

Why Does Everyone Hate Skyler White?

I don’t know, but even since the first season Anna Gunn’s character has been the sore taste in the mouth of Breaking Bad fans. Whether it has been the criticism that her acting is inferior, that her character is unbelievable, underdeveloped, or just plain unappealing, the criticisms have never made much sense to me. That is to say, I have understood the distaste for her, I just haven’t been able to pin that distaste on any of those sentiments. All’s I know is, America’s most famous contemporary TV villain has a partner-in-crime, and a pawn, and a nemesis, all in…

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Another Week Ends: Religious Justice, Self-Esteem Pathologies, WWE SummerSlam, and Jealous Partners

Another Week Ends: Religious Justice, Self-Esteem Pathologies, WWE SummerSlam, and Jealous Partners

1)  Well, if you planned on taking your kids to see Planes, thinking it would be the aviary of the Cars legacy, think again. As it has happened before, Pixar has created something seemingly unrepeatable, except unto itself (and unto scripture), and the Atlantic tells us what it is. Luke Epplin says it is the Charlie Brown that is missing in today’s films—and replacing it is the “magic-feather” of self-determination that any chalky character can stir up within to reach his or her dreams. It’s not that the cult of self-esteem is just the name of the game with most…

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Another Week Ends: Geistless Zeit, Tony Soprano vs. Walter White, Coach Taylor as Gentleman, Netflix’s PRISM, Marriage Apps, Hemingway, and Christianity as Marketing Label

Another Week Ends: Geistless Zeit, Tony Soprano vs. Walter White, Coach Taylor as Gentleman, Netflix’s PRISM, Marriage Apps, Hemingway, and Christianity as Marketing Label

1. To start off, Henry Allen over at The Wall Street Journal describes a contemporary cultural inertia he’s felt. An ironically self-described ex-”Ziggy Zeitgeist”, he’s now in limbo, the cultural doldrums, ht VH:

Now I am disquieted. It’s not that I see things changing for better or worse, for richer or poorer, or even not changing at all. It’s something else: The most important thing in our culture-sphere isn’t change but the fact that reality itself is dwindling, fading like sunstruck wallpaper, turning into a silence of the dinner-party sort that leads to a default discussion of movies.

Is some sort of cultural entropy…

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