But in the early days (all two of them. That's how long it took me to watch the five episodes), what really fired up the pleasure center in my brain was watching the hero - or, anti-hero, I guess- meek, dull, kicked-around-by-life, middle-aged high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Walter White? A name that sounds like and was perhaps meant as a metaphore for the blandness of Water and White Bread?) , to see him bust on out and metamophose into a hard-core, meth-making Bad Boy as well as someone who could now settle the hash of bullies and even man up to his domineering wife.
But to me this show's defining moment came when Walter White's former slacker student and future drug partner, upon hearing of Walter's wish to get into the meth business, asks how he's supposed to believe that "...some straight like you...all of a sudden he's just gonna break bad?"
This was the moment of epiphany, the "ah-ha" moment that not only explained the meaning of the show's name and served as its thesis statement, but gave us a new phrase to add to the lexicography:
break bad (brak bad) v.i. To suddenly inexplicably engage in naughty behavior when one has spent one's whole life being nice.
Just giving us the word to define that phenomenon, to verbalize it, gives "Breaking Bad" social worth beyond any entertainment value the show might have offered in its time. We knew that nice people sometimes broke bad, but at the same time we didn't know because we didn't have the vocabulary to express what it was they were doing. Or maybe what we ourselves were doing.
Like the time I was in the doctor's office reading a really engrossing article in one of the magazines in the waiting room but didn't have time to finish it so I just swiped the magazine. Upon learning what I'd done my hubby Tom was pretty shocked. He asked why I didn't just ask the receptionist permission to take the magazine. To which I replied that you don't ask permission for something you're not supposed to do. If you're gonna do it, you just do it!
Which is what I did. I broke bad.
Now, none of us (I mean, I hope none of us) would want to see anyone seriously or permanently err, but isn't it kind of, well, fun to see a thoroughly proper, straight-laced-type say or do something naughtily out of character once in a while? And when we see something like that happen isn't it also kind of a relief to know that we're not the only imperfect ones on the planet?
And, now, thanks to "Breaking Bad", we can talk about it.
PS: I'm thinking that from now on I'll be blogging Monday through Friday and taking off Saturday and Sunday. So I'll be back Monday, when the subject will be Breaking Good. Everyone have a wonderful weekend. 8)