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Entries in breaking bad (16)


In Which Why Does It Feel Like My Feet Can't Leave The Ground

Onwards and Upwards


Breaking Bad
creator Vince Gilligan

It was about halfway into the series finale of Breaking Bad when I started thinking about a conversation I once had with Gordon Libby. He was like, "I'm really tired of everyone on television being a criminal I can't empathize with." I just looked at him and sipped a mai tai. These fucking people.

You know the type of individual who goes around saying, "I don't know why everyone is so into Breaking Bad, why are they always saying I should watch it; I am content with Vuillard's The Stevedores and the complex moral cinema of Eric Rohmer..." I forgive this sort of person everything, because it is the American way to use your own ingenuity to make yourself look better, feel better, seem better.

is this the AARP? You...wield too much political power, sir.Throughout this last episode, all of the people Walt met told him, "You look like hell." The irony was that he never looked better; as a criminal mastermind the stress lines looked like they were about to split his face. Standing in front of his wife as God intended, he looked super beautiful and charismatic.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think they knew Walt very well, at least not how I knew him.

There's only one day left in Subway's $5 dollar footlong promotion, Skyler. I must be going.
The most emotional scene from last night's Breaking Bad finale was Walt's conversation with his wife, because he lied to her. He said he cooked meth because it made him feel alive. This was complete and utter bullshit, a master class in telling her what she wanted to hear. In the final analysis, Walt was able to forgive these people who did nothing but profit from his own acumen.

I don't know what Walt did that was supposed to be so bad. I guess people think cooking a drug for others to enjoy is wrong. I don't where they learned this. Everyone he killed, he had a damn good reason to do so, especially Mike. That fuck Mike.

no one knew how to hibernate quite like this woman

Simple things you could learn in any basic chemistry course. We don't have any of that ingenuity, it's all fabricated in factories across an ocean. That's where things are made, at great cost but with great benefits for those who risk it. Every day Flynn went to school, Lewis drove him. I never found out why it's dangerous to drive a car with only one foot, there wasn't some shit-for-a-head AMC half shaven twitter handle to explain it to me then after the show was over.

as unhappy as every other unpaid intern

For years Walt and Jesse never had sex, or had sex so infrequently they never mentioned to it anyone. Watching Walt stroll around Gretchen and Elliott's palatial estate, it reminds you what a monk he really is. As the poet said, "I have sacrificed everything, including sex and woman, or lost them, to this attempt to acquire complete concentration."

Watching the scarred Jesse Pinkman sail into the sunset, I couldn't help but think of all that was given him. He had no purpose in life; now he feels happier than any man who ever lived.

shocked there wasn't a last visit to marie, at least send a gift basket, maybe some prunes and a reminder she's a shoplifter
Entitlement festers and grows. Gretchen and Elliott only lock a part of their house. Fear is divided routinely by windowpanes, support beams. Cutting something up reduces its power, of course. The simple shattered presence of a man they know is enough to frighten them. Can you imagine these people storming the beaches of Normandy? (As a side note, I found the character of Elliott to be bracingly anti-Semitic and I have written a letter to Vince Gilligan strongly expressing my disapproval of this meme.)

gretchen, you lie to charlie rose and this is what happens, ask his interns
And it's easy to survive a gunshot wound, especially if you're pretty sure one might be coming. A spin-off would just ruin this.

We could have forgiven almost any choice that Walter White made, because we knew it was up to him and not ourselves. This is a teaching moment, because children are not taught a theory of forgiveness, they are taught a theory of punishment. Forgiveness faded from the whorl roughly the same time that AOL merged with Time Warner. It re-emerged for me the first time I killed a dictator I could only see on a video screen. Monsters deserve death, but only some crimes make a person one, not all. (Like Walt, the last person I forgave was myself.)

dividing lines GET IT
I have to admit I did instruct people to watch Breaking Bad, and when I did so, I managed a certain unctuous tone in my voice. The tone of voice I used to tell them to view this experience was identical to Todd's admonition to his progenitor - "You shouldn't have come back here, Mr. White" - in every way but one: my admonition was sincere.

I do not expect people to always do what I ask, but they do need to know that I ask it for a good reason. It is because I love them and I want them to be happy.

This tone of voice was also meant to convey that by following through with my request, they would attain something divine for themselves, provided they fast forwarded past all the office scenes where Skyler flirted with Ted. (Those were gross.) When I watched Breaking Bad, I thought of those individuals I told, and whether they were thinking what I was as I watched, or thinking of me at all. Sometimes, but only sometimes, I miss her.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location and the former vice president of the United States of America. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here. He last wrote in these pages about the fourth season of Downton Abbey

"UFO" - One Eskimo (mp3)

"Alvar" - Goldfrapp (mp3)


In Which We Prepare For What Lies Beyond

Gloomy Mary


Downton Abbey
creator Julian Fellowes

The phrase "the land of the living" is uttered so often during the fourth season premiere of Downton Abbey that it is shocking not to find scenes of Matthew Crawley in hell, telling everyone in the pits of Mordor that he still does not require the services of a butler. It takes Lady Mary all of one episode to get over the tragic, sudden passing of her husband, the (probable) father of her son George Crawley.

She immediately starts seeing other guys, most of whom are unemployed and crashing on a couch or in an alley in Redondo Beach. She brings with her little pamphlets on abstinence and a myna bird named Madrigal. "Glycerine" by Bush tingles in the background.

I... peed in the servant's corridor. I don't know why.
But no, things remain rather gloomy in Mary's castle. The show was wisely stripped of its bravura opening, and it's obvious that Downton Abbey costs a great deal less than it did in the past. Most everyone else has already gotten over Matthew's passing, and we sense that he was not very well liked among his in-laws, Downton staff or the crew on the set of the show.

rescuing a hobo gives me half an erection, nothing more

His frustrated butler is reduced to wandering from manse to manse. Other butlers hate him. "I'm not a mother anymore," Matthew's mother announces. When someone reassures her that she is, in fact, a grandmother, she bristles. That's nothing.

no one except a german shepherd ever looked at lady edith in this fashion before
Usually you can keep a large cast of characters fresh by setting up new feuds, but that's already happened so many times here that a new rivalry between Lord Grantham and his mother feels like two hens pecking at each other.

the show's new villain eats pancakes every day without fail

Despite promises that they would live out the rest of their days raising a family, Anna and the wife murderer lurk around the premises like ghosts themselves, reporting gossip to whoever they see fit. They are a worrisome tandem of angels, and they don't seem very concerned about Lady Mary at all.

replacement sybil, you have won my heart forever. I barely think about the old Sybil

Replacement Sybil is staying with the family. She is more attractive than the original Sybil, and a lot less attracted to her servants overall, but otherwise exactly the same. Although there are two babies in the house now, no one gives much of a shit.

purple looks utterly fantastic on replacement sybil
Stories from the past are supposed to reflect on the present. Observing a golden era reminds us how far we have fallen, and how quickly. Observing the onset of the depression and the rise of Nazi Germany is more along the lines of "geez, things could be a lot worse." While this is a more accurate representation of the past, it's also a lot less fun to watch.

guess they didn't have that frock in teal

Among the gloom Mary lurks like a specter, her long, horsey, Carly-Simon-esque excuse for a visage drooping almost horizontal. Her father tells her to stay in bed until she gets well. She comes down from dinner to inform everyone that Matthew should have lived for an additional fifty years. All of the servants are poor at math and accept this at face value. "What's the fucking regular lifespan for this period?" a boom operator screams off set.

she married an axe murderer smh

There is a tendency to destroy something you create if it lingers too long. That's why they have to keep Frank Gehry far, far away from his buildings lest a Howard Roark type situation result, and it is also the reason why Demi Moore gynecologically prevented herself from ever having a son.

I have the finest replacement for Matthew Crawley right here. He is a great man and everyone knows this to be true.

Also, Bates is still guilty and nothing will change that.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location and the former vice president of the United States of America. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here. He last wrote in these pages about Twin Peaks.

"Everything Will Change" - Near Paris (mp3)

"Believe Me" - Near Paris (mp3)



In Which We Entertain The Rebels In Our Honeymoon Suite

The Central Question


Breaking Bad
creator Vince Gilligan

The campaign is a long and difficult one. All day I marched for Syrian independence, afterwards I entertained some rebels in my suite. I asked them whether they had seen Breaking Bad and they were like, yes we saw it. "Jesse," they moaned, and shook their heads.

guess those threats of backup were kinda just threats hey there hank

Militants do not understand Jesse's sensitive personality, although they did like it when he bought his parents' house at a discount. I feel kind of bad for Jesse sometimes, but then I don't because I know he's a horrible friend. He has been sent to a hell of his imagining, and he will awaken in his own tomb.

Hank was also getting kind of annoying, maybe it was all that fatalistic talk. "He already made up his mind ten minutes ago" wah wah go cry about it in your garage with one of your homemade beers. I really thought those twin assassins were going to get him, so everything after that was kind of like a gift. (Gomez was known as a worthless emoji and I think we're all happy to see him go.)

wow Sky the cops will never catch on with that kind of subterfuge go back to the car wash please

The highlight of this classic episode was Walt's in-character conversation with his wife. I'm surprised she didn't burst out laughing; I'm even more surprised she didn't ask him for the twentieth time where Hank is. If I ever told you how many babies I'd left at fire stations.

I'm not sure Hank was the best DEA agent; his brother-in-law was like a crime overlord and he only figured this out a few weeks ago. He should have killed himself in shame the second he found out. Two gifts.

why don't you go and start a fundraising website Walt Jr, it's the only thing you're good for

It was hard to watch Walt get dominated again, humbled by an exterior cancer to his life instead of the tumor to which he had become so accustomed. Figure he wants some revenge and maybe his $69 million back.

It's too bad he killed Mike by accident, they would be perfect as a travelling duo of killers. But yeah Mike was kind of annoying also... and perhaps Walt's son has gotten a bit too much on his high horse, so we'll monitor that. It's easy to look down on people when you can prop yourself up on crutches.

your therapist was kind of cute, is he single?

Now the nazis can come for Marie, I guess this is still more punishment for her shoplifting. It was nice to see Marie's smugness go unrewarded. If you shoplift, a lot of bad things can end up happening to you, ask Winona Ryder.

I've never heard of so many people doing so many bad things as on television, except when Bob Newhart called in a bomb threat to the Mall of America on that very special Newhart. Ninety percent of men on television are murderers.

That's what you get for stereotyping a handsome bald man waiting for his daughter in a park when you were the real bad guy, guy

I believe in my heart that most people want to do good things, and don't operate by harming others. When he begged for Hank's life, Walt did not say that he would cook for his swastika-laden pals. He did not mind offering his money for his brother-in-law's life, but he would not bargain his time. Smart.

Breaking Bad has always had the best makeup in the business, and Jesse's shattered face is no exception. The moment of revenge Walt took with Jesse was a little mean-spirited. Yes, Jesse's girlfriend at the time was a tremendous pain in the ass who subsequently went on to sink two other shows, Gravity and Don't Trust the B in Apt 23. She was also a terribly underskilled heroin addict. Still, I would have liked to see what Gus Fring would have done to her. Sometimes WW is just too merciful for my tastes.

letting a baby get to you Walt, come on now

Now to the central question who does Walt plan to poison with the ricin? I guess he's going to try to save Jesse now as a last redemptive act. My advice to him is gleaned from around two hours of watching Boardwalk Empire never get in a hotel room or car with anyone, especially if the anyone in question is satiating your wife, especially if he is named Sweeth Tooth. If that doesn't work, next week Boardwalk Empire plans to debut a cannibalism storyline involving Gretchen Mol's ankle.

My prediction for Breaking Bad's ending is that Walt has to re-ally himself with Lydia, and become her secret cook in the Swiss Alps. Hopefully Skyler will allow some basic visitation via ski-lift.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location and the former vice president of the United States of America. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here. He last wrote in these pages about Twin Peaks.

can't look at his face without imagining him setting an asian radio station on fire

"Cream of Gold" - Pavement (mp3)

"Ann Don't Cry" - Pavement (mp3)

a scene from John Carter if I'm not mistaken