We really need a name. A name befitting such a diverse gathering of amateur critics, aspiring screenwriters and bathtub chemists – ‘Citizens of Heisenburgh,’ as it were. Now that The Greatest Drama Ever has hurtled boldly into television legend, it occurred to me that there’s no singular, noteworthy nickname to designate die-hard devotees of all things crystal blue. Wayfarers? Walter’s Altar? The Mighty Flynns? Since true fans can no longer get a fresh fix for that familiar twinge that rears its meth-y head come Sundays, we’re left to jabber endlessly about Breaking Bad and the imprint it’s left on pop culture. One that’s not so obvious is the scarcity of sex scenes throughout the show’s run.
Unlike other New Golden Age dramas, Breaking Bad never resorted to gratuitous nudity to generate cheap thrills. On Inside The Actors Studio, James Lipton figured that Don Draper had slept with no fewer than 13 women on Mad Men – and that was before Season Six’s liaison with the smokin’ hot Sylvia Rosen. Tony Soprano’s laundry list of cumares reads like a RICO indictment, and “T” wasn’t above railing a comely secretary inside a waste management office (nor a one-legged caretaker on a tartan plaid couch). The Wire? Jimmy McNulty never met a skirt he didn’t want to “Mirandize,” and Bunk memorably schooled us on the plural of pussy. But ride The Crystal Ship again and you’ll notice it conspicuously avoided an abundance of flesh, and the cook was no less pure.
From the moment we meet Walter White via flash forward, his love for his wife is apparent, but rarely is that love demonstrated in the bedroom. Sure, there are plenty of scenes of Walt and Skyler in bed, but more often than not he’s attempting to play with her head – not her banjo. The few sex scenes between them (after Walt’s first real score, after swindling Bogdan out of the car wash, etc) are designed to underscore the state of their increasingly fragile relationship, and rarely do we even see the act itself.
Once Sky and Walt’s schism reaches critical mass, it’s obvious she’s going to fuck Ted Beneke, but the lone visual of their infidelity is a shot of Skyler riding cowgirl, tastefully reflected in a picture frame. Once Walt moves out of White Castle, his model condominium seems perfectly suited as a bachelor pad, and with his lust for power (and love of Scarface) one would conclude he’d be eager to bring some trim over. But do we see Heisenberg so much as flirt with another woman? Just his Baby Blue.
Jesse Pinkman is eternally the Oscar to Walt’s Felix – truly the emotional fulcrum of the show – and the writers see fit to populate Jesse’s world with wildly divergent women. His erstwhile landlord Jane turns out to be a soul-mate of sorts, and while there are a couple lingering shots of her in boy shorts, there are exactly none of the two of them boning. The same with Andrea: Jesse wastes no time offering her a little extra attention outside of support group, but the revelations unearthed during their pillow talk positively dwarf the implied sex between them. Hell, I even assume he used the prostitute Wendy as a dick mitten in times of utter desperation, but their layover in the Crossroads Motel is nothing more than a fabricated alibi.
Outside of the Whites, Hank and Marie have the most complex romantic relationship – Marie is equal parts schoolmarm and naughty nurse, and Hank is exceedingly patient with her particular brand of crazy. Sex & The Schraders is never green lit though, with the most Hank getting is a handie (mostly off camera) while laid up in the hospital after tussling with The Cousins. But the depth of their union is unquestioned, thanks to the multi-layered reveals of a masterful writing staff.
You can traverse the entire Br Ba universe and find that sex was never the motivating factor for any character–an absolute anomaly in today’s full-frontal Hollywood. Jesse longed for normalcy and a sense of family in his relationships, Walt for validation in his. Mike Ehrmantraut? Loved his granddaughter. Gus Fring? We never even saw his wife and kids. Badger? Two words: STAR TREK. Still and all, my love for Vince Gilligan’s grand experiment will never wane…and when I want to see some tits, I’ll turn on Game of Thrones.