Even nearly a decade after the iconic show ended, it shows no signs of ceasing to garner new admirers. ‘Breaking Bad’, hailed by most of the connoisseurs of classic contents as the greatest show ever aired on television or the web, is surely going to be an inspiration for the generations to come on how to create a show without compromising the emotional quotient, thrill value or the degree of performances. The show had such an impact on the psyche of the viewers that Anna Gunn, the wife of the protagonist had to suffer from depression after a phenomenon stylized as ‘Styler Backlash’, strongly negative reactions of the ardent followers of the show towards Styler White for her nonchalant or kind of antagonistic actions towards Walter White. Just imagine! Such was the magnitude of the impact! Anna have expressed her fear over going to public places once in an interview citing insecurity being the reason. None could accept her as Anna Gunn, the person as the audience could not have imagined her as nothing other than Styler, who in many ways was responsible for the fall of Mr.White. The reason I often consider Bryan Cranston as one of the most underrated actors of today is that he could deliver yet another outstanding performance in and as ‘Trumbo’, the biopic of the maverick screenplay writer Dalton Trumbo just within a couple of years from the last season of BB. Many of the other actors are still struggling to come out of the shadows of the characters they played in the legendary show. I mean there is nothing wrong with their acting prowess. It’s just that people cannot accept them donning other roles. Even an actor as talented as Aaron Paul accepted that he could not become a movie star because of the size of the shoes Jesse Pinkman had. Even a compelling performance in Westworld did nothing much to erase the memories of Jesse.
One of the key factors for BB was that it never allowed emotions to win over shocking realities. When Walter converses with Junior for the one last time over phone and the kid takes a pause, you wait for some melodramas, things we see around us in every show. Then Junior starts hurling abuses at his father. You are brought back to reality. When Styler tries to hurt Walter with a knife, you are in utter dismay. All hell started breaking loose by then. The subtleties of the emotions underneath the drama manifest in scenes when you least expect those. The scene where Walter begs for the life of Hank or where he makes a necklace with his wedding ring are few of those. Emotional undercurrents reach their peak at the scene where he meets his little daughter for the final time. It surely moistens your eyes, makes you sad about the choices he had made in the last one year of his life. The scene where Jesse takes care of the infant of two meth heads at their dungeon is a classical example of Breaking Bad’s signature shocking values. It blended heart with the things that shock the heart the most. It is pathbreaking for a number of reasons. Playing with your emotions in the cleverest way possible is definitely one of the highest points.
(To be continued…)