How “Breaking Bad” Ruined TV For Me

(YouTube)
(YouTube)

For the past two months on AMC they have been airing episodes of Breaking Bad every Sunday. Like a fool I got sucked into binge-watching it and now currently have 49 episodes marinating on my DVR. When I am through this will be my second run watching the greatest show ever. My initial watching of Breaking Bad started in 2008 with the first season. I didn’t have Netflix and I still don’t, so like a pilgrim I watched each episode of Breaking Bad live at 9 o’clock every Sunday during its original run.

If you’re reading this and haven’t finished the show, then stop right now. When the final episode rolled around it was a bittersweet feeling; the roller-coaster ride that was the second half of Season Five almost made you want the show to end just so you could start the process of putting your life back together. From Hank getting killed to Walt telling Jesse he watched Jane die, I couldn’t take anymore. Oh, and those two things happened in a five-minute span….ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? How do you move on from a show like that?

A lot of you reading this probably watched the show on Netflix before the last season started, so you missed out on the torture of waiting a year between seasons. When Hank was on the toilet and realized that Walt is Heisenberg, I had to wait a year for the next episode. Just take a second and sympathize with me…all right, thanks. What amazed me most with this show was the transformation we all witnessed Walt undergo, from being a total dweeb in the earlier seasons to completely losing himself in his Heisenberg identity by the end of the show’s run. It is my belief that we will never see anything like this again on television.

The aftermath of this show for me was like a bad breakup: You cry, you look for answers, you eat too much pizza, you don’t want to talk to anyone about it, and you gain 15 pounds…probably from the pizza. Eventually you try to move on, but that doesn’t work when we are talking about the best show ever. I can’t just turn on the TV and put on Big Bang Theory and be satisfied, partly because that show is terrible, partly because Breaking Bad was too good. That’s right—it was too good. I feel sorry for people who are in the process of watching it right now, because nothing will ever live up to it again. It would be like dating [insert your celebrity crush] for five years and then having to suddenly go and date a normal person—gross.

Breaking Bad also has a sentimental value for me. I watched every episode of it with my dad. I can’t say that for many shows. I haven’t watched a show with him since Breaking Bad ended, partially because he is usually snoring by the time anything worth watching happens to be on, and partially because there is nothing worth watching anymore. And it isn’t as if I haven’t tried to move on, I currently watch Homeland, Mad Men, Tyrant, Ray Donovan, and Halt and Catch Fire. All of them are good—Homeland and Mad Men are great—but none of them leaves me with the same feelings that Breaking Bad did.

So here I am, a shell of a man, watching Breaking Bad all over again, trying to relive the days when I knew full well that what I was watching was as good as it gets. I tried to get my mom to watch all the episodes with me since she missed out on the first run; she didn’t want to. It is probably for the best; I wouldn’t want to ruin the rest of her TV-viewing years. You can only set the benchmark so high before you can’t reach it again. So to Vince Gilligan and all the other writers on Breaking Bad, I would like to say thanks for ruining my enjoyment of TV. TC mark

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