The older I get the less I seem to be able to not only control my emotions but understand where they come from. I can read psychology books all day but understanding why I get so upset when I watch the last episode of Breaking Bad still eludes me.
AMC ran a Breaking Bad marathon this week and I must have watched at least 20 episodes, including staying up until 4 in the morning to see the finale. Again.
For at least the 10th time.
And for the 10th time feeling myself experience real grief when Baby Blue starts to play. Tears. The whole shebang.
Tears for the fake death of a fictional character who made crystal meth. I will spare you my take on how Walt is a tragic figure, yet another example of how things that start off with all the best intentions end up crashing and burning. If David Foster Wallace wants to pipe up about his thoughts on the topic I heartily encourage you to read it but Lance Manion ..?. I’d have to make the suggestion that you pass.
Although putting a ? in the middle of … is the first time I’ve seen that so there might be hope for me yet.
But reading me clumsily muddle through some lame analysis of motivations and intentions and right and wrong ..?. no thanks.
So about the blubbering at 4 a.m. … (no ? needed). I know Bryon Cranston is fine. Well, I hope he is. I assume as much because he’s rich and famous and knows he did some damn fine work with Breaking Bad. That’s about as good as an actor’s life gets.
But what about the bald children in the St. Jude commercials that peppered the Breaking Bad marathon? What about the babies with flies on their face that were offered up every twenty minutes on the UNICEF ads? What about the beat up ASPCA dogs and cats that interrupted Breaking Bad every episode?
You know what you’ll never read? David Foster Wallace’s thoughts on why there were so many pleas for monthly charitable donations during a marathon of shows that dealt with someone manufacturing illegal drugs. A show that dealt with horrible people doing horrible things. THAT’S when these organizations chose to reach out to viewers and ask for money.
Money. The stuff that seemed to fill pockets, bags and barrels of every criminal that was featured on that show.
I don’t even know where I’m going with this. It’s just fucked up on some cosmic level that you can watch almost every other TV show at any other time and maybe see ONE commercial asking for money to fight cancer, starvation or animal abuse but if you want to sit and enjoy the story of a dying man who tried to make some quick cash for his family making drugs then you’ll get all three each and every episode.
It’s like a subconscious Shakespearian drama taking place behind a real Shakespearian drama. On the screen and on the couch. What ugly sights of death within my eyes! Except ol’ King Richard couldn’t fast forward through the real ugly sights.
But I did. Past the real kids who need my real help. For only a few dollars a month.
Fuck ’em I said to myself. I needed to watch the antics of the guy who made meth so I could ask myself for the hundredth time what I would do if I were him. If I would have done it in the first place. If I would have been willing to do all those terrible things. When and if I would have stopped. What I would have done with all the money.
What I would do with all the money.
I don’t have barrels, or even pockets, full of cash but I do have the money to donate to all three organizations that I fast-forwarded past.
Is that it? Is that where this hurt comes from?
Fuck if I know. Like I said, if you want answers I’d suggest starting with DFW. LM doesn’t appear to know shit. Who can really know what makes us think what we think and feel what we feel when we don’t even know these things about ourselves? Would we even recognize a good person if we met them?
I guess I should at least end with something about Breaking Bad as that was the thin premise for this story before it got sidetracked.
At least Walt let Jesse go. He let someone he cared about walk away. “Just one thing before I go.” As good an ending as you could expect given the circumstances. He was a man, take him for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again.