Breaking Bad II - Always say "thank you" to Walt. - Page 38 - U2 Feedback

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Old 09-17-2013, 03:01 AM   #556
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Mad Men is getting soapy these days. At its best, multiple threads are woven together brilliantly based on overarching themes that give the episode coherence and resonance. The writers' refusal to dispose of characters has placed too much space between them and Sterling Cooper, and their plots are often tenuously related at best. Grab bag episodes are always weaker, especially the 90 minute season openers the writers have fallen in love with for whatever reason. It doesn't help that, outside of Peggy (whose character progression has been amazing), nearly every character is exactly the same as they were in season one, only more depressed and erratic. And every new chick Don hooks up with is more faceless and uninteresting than the last.

I don't like Breaking Bad as much as I did when I first watched season one. It has grown more cartoonish/violent/unrealistic and I can understand why so many complain about the plot contrivances. The magnets ep was a shark jump that was highly entertaining but showed that the show's scale had perhaps grown too large. Watch that back to back with terminator Gus and you'll wonder where the hell the days of choking a dude with a bike lock to keep from being stabbed with a broken plate went. I love the pure terror and bewilderment of those early episodes and I think Walt has grown to be nearly superhuman (in that sense I agree with IWB), which is partially why I hope the series doesn't end with him alive. Nonetheless, I think many characters have improved since then and it's tough to argue that the show has grown less entertaining over the years.
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:23 AM   #557
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I hope the series doesn't end with him alive.
It won't.
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:28 AM   #558
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It's heading towards a Goodfellas type ending with this last episode, but with the flash forwards we know better. They suggested that he had hit the reset button, and that definitely seems to be the case now, but he's definitely getting locked and loaded to take out the Nazis that killed Hank and stole $70 million from him. Shit gon be cray.
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:38 AM   #559
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The magnets ep was a shark jump that was highly entertaining but showed that the show's scale had perhaps grown too large. Watch that back to back with terminator Gus and you'll wonder where the hell the days of choking a dude with a bike lock to keep from being stabbed with a broken plate went. I love the pure terror and bewilderment of those early episodes and I think Walt has grown to be nearly superhuman (in that sense I agree with IWB), which is partially why I hope the series doesn't end with him alive.
Well-observed.

Though I think we'll have to disagree on Mad Men. Yes, there are some episodes that are "soapy", but The Crash was a live-wire act that showed the MM crew still has the ability to try something different.

And personally, I'll take the last scene of this year's finale over any nail-biting moment from Breaking Bad.
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:42 AM   #560
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I'm endlessly fascinated by people's reactions to this show's growing scope. To me, the biggest issues of "believability" or "realism" stem more from viewer expectations and ideas of narrative fulfillment vs. what is actually being presented. Tone is a tricky element to measure, though I've always been a proponent of fiction that operates on its own volition in a narrative or genre-context as long as the thematic stays consistent. The magnet moment is full-blown supervillain science fiction shit amidst a series that roots itself as either a spaghetti western or an outlaw drama. At this point, the genre in which the drama is being delivered is only a vessel for the consistently evolving elements of the series.

Breaking Bad is pure pulp noir, and like Kieran pointed out earlier, focuses within a disappearing middle class. The nihilism and fatalism present at the heart of noir ties into a realistic, current American struggle.

Assured storytelling goes a long way. I found this season of Mad Men to be a little murky, mostly because S5 is so bold in its leaps in time and character growth. S6 settles into this groove and maybe spins the wheels a bit at the beginning, but it's still my favorite show on television besides this and Louie. Then again, I've spent more time in those universes than I have in ABQ.
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:50 AM   #561
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Well-observed.

Though I think we'll have to disagree on Mad Men. Yes, there are some episodes that are "soapy", but The Crash was a live-wire act that showed the MM crew still has the ability to try something different.

And personally, I'll take the last scene of this year's finale over any nail-biting moment from Breaking Bad.
I absolutely loved The Crash, for what it's worth. To me, it's just damning of the Mad Men formula (such as it is) that a particularly unusual episode was also the finest of the season.

The last scene of season 6 gave me a lot of hope for next season because it exhibited openness from Don that signals some personal growth on his part. I want to see him slow down on the drinking, get closer to his children and stop being such an asshole. His facade had a great run, but it's time to see if there's anything going on behind the sociopathy. If there isn't, well, I assumed as much years ago.
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:56 AM   #562
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BTW, Breaking Bad vs. Mad Men has become the new Joy Division vs. New Order of Zoo Station.
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:03 AM   #563
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I suspect the mooted 'Better Call Saul' (the Frasier of the meth underworld) might fit that analogy best.
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:11 AM   #564
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I'm endlessly fascinated by people's reactions to this show's growing scope. To me, the biggest issues of "believability" or "realism" stem more from viewer expectations and ideas of narrative fulfillment vs. what is actually being presented. Tone is a tricky element to measure, though I've always been a proponent of fiction that operates on its own volition in a narrative or genre-context as long as the thematic stays consistent. The magnet moment is full-blown supervillain science fiction shit amidst a series that roots itself as either a spaghetti western or an outlaw drama. At this point, the genre in which the drama is being delivered is only a vessel for the consistently evolving elements of the series.
Well, I also don't find the show very funny, and think it's at its weakest when it tries to be.

And while it may be a show that could only take place in the bleak economic "now", that context is something the viewer has to bring along, because there's none within the show itself. As I said, what's actually on-screen is in a vacuum.

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BTW, Breaking Bad vs. Mad Men has become the new Joy Division vs. New Order of Zoo Station.
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:17 AM   #565
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For the bleak economic now, what about the start of the whole series? Walt teaches chemistry at a high school, is a pretty senior member of staff by the look of it, but apparently has to do part-time duty at a carwash for shit's sakes, to maintain the life to which he is accustomed.
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Old 09-17-2013, 09:05 AM   #566
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God. So fucking bleak.

"Everyone dies in this movie..."

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Tonight just broke my heart.
This was my overwhelming reaction.

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That time compression and fast reveal of all of these threads (in what, two weeks max?) are what's making for a thrilling endgame. How are folks digesting the whole series at one time gonna feel about this?
Interesting point, given how slow it is initially. So much happened in that latest episode.

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The more I think about the last episode (Ozymandias), the more I think Walt has finally realized what he has done. I think after that last confrontation with his family, he saw himself through their eyes, as the thing that he's become, a monster.
Definitely.

I don't think I've ever had less of an idea of where a show is going to go than I do right now. 90 minutes remaining.

 
I do find the Walt-enters-witness-protection-becomes-Hal-Malcolm-in-the-Middle-begins theory funny though.
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:26 AM   #567
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This week's Hollywood Prospectus podcast has a killer discussion on this episode, touches on a couple points that we've brought up here in a more expansive manner. Well worth the listen.

Laz, what other current shows do you keep up with besides Mad Men & Breaking Bad?
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:47 PM   #568
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I like Vince Gilligan way more than Matthew Weiner, who kind of seems like a dick.
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:55 PM   #569
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Laz, what other current shows do you keep up with besides Mad Men & Breaking Bad?
Not many. Louie, Doctor Who (since 1984!), Game Of Thrones, and to a less-enthusiastic extent, Orphan Black. If you want to count "miniseries-style" shows I also eagerly await the paltry 3 episodes of Black Mirror and Sherlock from the UK.

I watched House Of Cards last season but won't be continuing after the shark jump of the conclusion. Gave up on Boardwalk Empire after 4-5 episodes. Gave a big middle finger to The Killing after season 1.

I do plan on going through Treme soon (I liked the couple episodes I saw, as well as Deadwood (ditto) and one day, The Sopranos.
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:05 PM   #570
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I like Vince Gilligan way more than Matthew Weiner, who kind of seems like a dick.
Who cares?

If the trade-off is being a better writer, which Weiner most certainly is, then whatever.

It should also be noted that Weiner writes a considerably larger amount of his show's material.
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