Breaking Bad Review for the Non-TV Viewer

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Let me begin by saying I do not ordinarily watch network television programming. I find regular network shows to generally be unimaginative and insipid. In the last five years, I can count the number of television shows that I have watched more than once on one hand. But I have seen and heard with interest the conversation surrounding Breaking Bad over the last few years. So be aware, as my story goes on here today, if you haven’t seen it, there will be spoilers galore. So if you haven’t seen it, you should probably stop reading now. But before you leave, head to the bottom of the page and give it a “like.”

Breaking-Bad-Censorship [Read more…]

Better Call Saul…Next Year

By John Baggett
PSDC Pop Culture Guru

Those of us who still haven’t gotten over the end of Breaking Bad last year had a reason to celebrate when they announced they were making a prequel spin-off about everyone’s favorite scumbag lawyer Saul Goodman, appropriately titled Better Call Saul. The show was supposed to debut in October but unfortunately that isn’t happening anymore.

Better-Call-Saul

Now before you fly into a rage keep reading. The show is still happening, just not until early 2015, AMC sources have told The Hollywood Reporter. And AMC is making it up to us by going ahead and greenlighting a second season, set for 2016. [Read more…]

VIDEO: Breaking Bad Alternate Ending Leaks

By Chris Stuckey
Editor-in-Chief

An alternate ending to the AMC series Breaking Bad has made its way to interwebs. The video made a brief appearance on YouTube but was quickly pulled due to copyright infringement.

The ending was slated to be debuted on the Breaking Bad: The Complete Series DVD box set but leaked a little early.

In the video, you see Hal from the Fox sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, played by Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, awake from a dream. He then recounts to his wife, Lois, played by Jane Kaczmarek, many details from the show and life of Walter White.

I’m glad this wasn’t the real ending but this was definitely fun to watch. The comedic twist is definitely a 180 from the actual ending. Hal is definitely no Heisenberg.

Watch the alternate ending below.

Follow Stuckey on Twitter: @TheChrisStuckey

Five Things That Will Probably Happen On The Walking Dead This Season

By John Baggett
PSDC Pop Culture Guru

It’s October, which means AMC is bringing us a new season of their mega-hit series, The Walking Dead. For those of you unfamiliar with the show (how?) this is the show on AMC that isn’t about meth or Don Draper. It’s the one with the zombies.

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I have patiently stuck by this show for the last three seasons and while I am happy to see its return and already have the DVR set, I gotta say I’m really not that excited. Last season may have ended on a whimper but it was an improvement from season two which suffered from losing the show runner, splitting the season in half, dragging out the Sophia storyline, and the stupid love triangle (of sorts) in which Lori told Rick that Shane should be dead, then Rick killed Shane, and Lori called Rick a monster for killing Shane. (You’d think for a series featuring a short number of episodes could keep some consistency in the characters but…no.)

One of the hosts on the podcast Masters of None (which can be found at SimplySyndicated.com and MastersOfNone.com) described his feelings about the last few seasons of Dexter that he was no longer excited but he was invested. That’s kind of how I feel about the show now. I want this season to be fantastic. I just know I will end up screaming at my TV in frustration for the next…13 weeks. Assuming they don’t split up the season.

So, I am making some predictions for the show. Here are five things that will probably happen this season. [Read more…]

Breaking Bad Series Finale Recap: ‘Felina’

By Robert Murphy
PSDC Writer

“I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really…I was alive.”

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In one of the final moments of the final episode of the experience that was ‘Breaking Bad,’ Walt finally confirms what we all knew for a very long time. He admits to Skyler, himself, and the rest of us that the two years of misery he has put his family through were to support his own selfish desires. All the death, destruction, and the emotional scars they have created were never done in the name of “family.” They were all in the name of “Walt.”

The jury is still out on whether or not people are “happy” with the manner in which Vince Gilligan chose to make the final stroke of his brush on the masterpiece that was ‘Breaking Bad.’ Some, like me, think it was incredible. Some think they tied a bow on it that was a little too neat. Some, who are the shameless trolls that will never praise a show not named “The Wire,” thought it sucked.

I can see how some might think the show ended with everything working out a little too well for all involved. I must respectfully disagree. Admittedly, a lot gets resolved in the final episode. The Nazis, Todd, and Lydia all die. Jesse lives. Walt, we think, is able to set up financial security for his family, before he ultimately dies. If you think about the future of those still breathing; however, the bow doesn’t seem quite as neat:

– Jesse: Yes, Jesse is alive, but that’s the only thing he’s got going for him. Before getting involved with Mr. White, Jesse was most likely going down a path that would’ve ended in a death very similar to the one given to his friend Combo. If he had the choice between that and the past two years of his life, I think it’s at least a 50/50 chance Jesse would rather have died. He witnessed the deaths of the two people he cared about most, Jane and Andrea. He murdered a helpless man, Gale, as he begged for his life. He spent six months or so as a Nazi slave, living in a dungeon, cooking meth, and begging for death. I wouldn’t go so far as to say things “worked out” for Jesse.

– Skyler: Assuming Elliot and Gretchen follow through, Skyler and her children will have financial security. Yes, Walt was able to kill all of the Nazis, but does anybody think Skyler won’t spend the rest of her life looking over her shoulder after they threatened Holly? She has no idea that all threats to her are gone. She will spend the rest of her life with the guilt of Hank’s death, her broken family, and the knowledge that she potentially could’ve prevented it if she hadn’t gone along with Walt’s plans. We also don’t know for sure that having the location of Hank’s and Gomez’s bodies will completely solve her legal issues. In my opinion, that’s a stretch.

– Walter Jr. (Flynn) & Holly: Walt Jr. idolized two men: his father and his uncle. Both are dead. He never got the chance to say goodbye to his uncle Hank, and never reconciled with his father. Someday, he’ll learn about the final moments of his father’s life, if Skyler chooses to share it with him, but we don’t know. With his disability, Flynn was already dealt a very tough hand. Living with the knowledge that he is the son of an infamous meth dealer responsible for many deaths, including his uncle Hank, is more than Flynn should have to bear. As for Holly, she will never know her father outside of what she hears from her mother and what she reads on the Internet. Anybody who thinks she isn’t destined for a life of drugs and/or stripper poles is insane.

– Marie: Hank is dead, buried in an unmarked grave in the New Mexico desert. Skyler and Marie’s phone conversation regarding Walt being back in town leads us to believe that they are on the path to reconciliation; however, no matter how many years go by, Marie will always know that Skyler knew what Walt was doing, and that what he was doing ultimately led to Hank’s death.

You can certainly make the argument that the right people died in the final episode, but innocent people died along the way to get us there. The deaths of the Nazis, Todd, and Lydia did not end Walt’s destruction. The damage done by his actions will permeate his loved ones’ lives for as long as they live. For me, the finale was perfect. I wanted justice, and we came as close as we’re gonna get. Since when does it take away from a series finale if it ends in the way the majority of its fans wanted? Until he says otherwise, Vince Gilligan ended his show in his way, on his terms. That’s what matters, and he earned that right. It is a testament to ‘Breaking Bad’ that the overwhelming feeling is that to be alive is to win. There were no winners in this show. There were only those still breathing when the last bullet was fired.

Follow Robert on Twitter: @CaptBobMurphy

The Hypocrisy of Television Censorship

By Ryan Haidinger
PSDC Writer

If you’ve watched any TV dramas lately you’ve probably noticed sex, violence and drug use. You may have also noticed an absence of expletives. Because of FCC regulations there are certain things you are not allowed to say on TV (for a funny view of this list seek out George Carlin) but apparently visuals are not part of the FCC’s concern. Take Breaking Bad for example, the show that has captured the attention of seemingly everyone with a television. A few weeks ago Hank Schrader, portrayed by Dean Norris, was executed with a bullet to the head in the middle of the desert. In his final seconds Schrader said “My name is A.S.A.C. Schrader, and you can go fuck yourself…now do what you’re going to do.” Only we in the audience didn’t hear fuck, we saw his lips move, but what we heard was the audio drop out like we were listening to a CD purchased at Wal-Mart without the parental advisory sticker. Apparently, according to the people in charge, we are mature enough to see a D.E.A. agent executed with a bullet to the head, but we can’t hear a word.

This weekend we watched Andrea, a single mother and the only truly innocent person in the Breaking Bad world, executed with a bullet to the back of the head. One of the most cringe-worthy scenes in the show’s history as we realized her eight-year-old son Brock would wake up in the morning, probably late for school, to find his mom in a puddle on the porch. Jessie watched his girlfriend murdered, he screamed, he cried, he squealed, he did not say a bad word, it is TV after all. At this point after 62 episodes we have seen all sorts of violence in Breaking Bad but let us go all the way back to episode 2 of season 1. Walt and Jessie kill their first victim, and Jesse disposes of the body in a bathtub full of acid. The only problem? The acid eats through the floor and fills Jesse’s living room with dripping human remains. It is maybe the most graphic scene in TV history and we were able to watch as the two men mopped up a liquefied body. Only neither one could exclaim what a fucking mess it was because, TV.

Breaking-Bad-Censorship

Breaking Bad is not the only show handcuffed by these ridiculous rules, am I really to believe that a zombie apocalypse has overtaken the country and everyone Rick Grimes loved is now dead, but he can only scream “Gosh Darn it!” as he watches a zombie hoard chase his son? Low Winter Son portrays corrupt cops in downtown Detroit murdering their partner and covering it up. We find a decaying body in the trunk of a car in the pilot episode, but no dirty language, we don’t want to offend anyone after all.

Now I can see some value in censorship, a show like Parks and Rec doesn’t need Ron Swanson to swear at everyone in his office to be funny, and as this show is on network TV during the week there may be a younger audience watching. But Parks and Rec never showed half a man’s face blown off as he exited a nursing home. Even network sitcoms push the lines of decency. If you ever watched “Two and a Half Men” or “Two Broke Girls,” first ask yourself why, then ask yourself if the sexual innuendo and constant dick jokes were somehow less harmful to a young viewer than a word they probably hear on the playground a few times a week.

Television has been exceptional as of late- especially the hour long dramas presented by AMC- but we spend an hour sinking into these realities, sitting on the edge of our seat, only to be reminded that we are watching TV when a word gets bleeped out of an intense scene. It is time to realize that bad words aren’t that harmful to the adult psyche, and if you are the type of person to be offended by the word “fuck,” well you probably stopped watching Breaking Bad right about the time you saw Jane choke to death on her own vomit.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanHaidinger

Mad Men Orders a 7&7 for Last Call

By Josh Mosley
PSDC Writer

Get it? Because they drink a lot on Mad Men?

Seriously, you people won’t appreciate my sense of humor until I’m long gone.

[Read more…]

Breaking Bad: What Will Happen in the Final Three Episodes…or Not

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

From the opening episode of Breaking Bad this season, we’ve been wondering where Walt’s been, why he needs heavy weaponry, and what’s happened to his house. Now that we’ve seen last week’s episode, we’re also wondering who’ll still be alive on his birthday when he comes back to town.

What’s going to happen, and more importantly, how dark is this dark, dark show going to get before it’s all over with?

I’ve got a pretty good idea. I’m leaving spoiler space here of course, for those of you who haven’t seen it, or don’t even want to read speculation on it.

[Read more…]

Podcast Shanks: A Few Bad Men – Breaking Bad Edition

A Few Bad Men are back to discuss the third episode of Season 5B of Breaking Bad on Podcast Shanks. Michael Conway and Matthew Carpenter start out discussing Anna Gunn’s recent editorial in the New York Times that discusses the hate for Skyler that sometimes manifests itself in a hate for her. This leads into a little bit more discussion about the women of Breaking Bad (just like last week) before diving into the meat of the episode. Jesse looms front and center, but discussion also turns to comparing Walter and Hank’s merits as tragic heroes. The two conclude with Walt’s confession and Michael offers a couple predictions. But we all know Vince Gilligan will surprise us. This podcast can’t make homemade guacamole at your table, but it won’t catch fire either.

Download the podcast here or listen below.

Podcast Shanks: Breaking Bad Edition

The latest episode of Podcast Shanks comes from Robert Murphy and Michael Conway, who get together to talk some Breaking Bad. They begin with the mysterious case of the mute Jesse, and then move on to the women of Breaking Bad who dominated Sunday night’s episode–Skyler, Marie and Lydia. They wrap up with some final speculations, and what each thinks the future holds for the Breaking Bad universe (at this moment that is).

Download the podcast here or listen below.

Breaking Bad: Walter White Finally Turns Heel

By Michael Conway
PSDC Writer

Since Walter White’s first described chemistry as the study of change in substances and compounds to his class of wholly disinterested high school chemistry students in Breaking Bad’s pilot, showrunner Vince Gilligan and his fellow writers on AMC’s hit drama that returned last night have continually showed just how much change is possible. Gilligan has repeatedly described Breaking Bad as the story of how “Mr. Chips turned into Scarface,” but it’s also the story of a suburban mom becoming a money launderer, of a young, low-level drug peddler becoming a murderer, and of a family breakfast table gradually becoming empty.

Yet, it’s arguable that Walt has barely changed at all. The onset of cancer and the plunge into the meth business simply unearths the dark tint of his soul that has been present his whole life, buried by professional disappointment, the unsatisfying grind of a lower middle-class life, and general apathy. Especially at the beginning of his foray into the drug trade, many of his sins may have been circumstantial and unavoidable, enabling him to justify them. Although quite traumatized, his murder of Krazy-8 is brushed away with the undeniable logic, “it was him or me.” At this point, Walt is still the stressed, overmatched chemistry teacher trying to fund his chemotherapy and ensure his kids can go to college. Still a sympathetic figure, the rationalization checks out with the audience. [Read more…]

Breaking Bad: What We Learned From “Blood Money” and the Final Season

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

It was a legitimate big-time moment as “Breaking Bad” returned Sunday night to AMC for the final eight episodes of the season.  Read the full Breaking Bad “Blood Money” recap here, but here’s what you need to know about how the final season sets up.

1) The product suffers. It’s only been a month since Walt walked away from his meth empire, and already Lydia is trying to lure him back because the quality has dropped so badly.

2) Jesse knows. Jesse’s high but he’s no dummy, and he knows Walt must have killed Mike, otherwise he never would have been able to pull off the murder of the witnesses. What Jesse does with this information is still up in the air, but he’s well aware of the blood on his hands from being a part of it. He’s also got five million dollars he’s desperately trying to give away, which should make for some funny stories on tomorrow’s morning news in Albuquerque.

3) Hank knows. That was a fantastic final scene between Hank and Walt, with Hank confronting Walt about being Heisenberg, and Walt not really trying very hard to disprove him. Even angry, Hank seemed tired and shaken in that exchange. And why wouldn’t he be? If Walt’s the super-villain, that means he’s been operating under Hank’s nose the entire time. If Hank’s previous boss lost his job for getting free chicken from Gus, what’s going to happen to Hank when they find out Heisenberg paid for his physical therapy?

4) There’s some changes afoot for Walt. The opening flash-forward shows about a year into the future, where Walt is still alive, but alone. His house is fenced off, and “Heisenberg” is spray painted on the inside. His double life is going to come out in the next seven episodes, and he’s going to go on the run. At least he’s going to get his hair back.

Reid Kerr thinks it would be good for AMC if the meth winds up being the thing that starts the zombie apocalypse on “The Walking Dead.”