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Breaking Bad Watch: I Do Not Have Time For a Breaking Bad Watch Edition

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Sorry. Just caught up with the episode and must needs prepare for NBC day. So just one nonspoilery thought on another excellent episode in a thus-far great season of Breaking Bad.

One idea that’s come up in the Great Saving Chuck debate recently is the idea that Chuck is worth saving because it is, unlike many critics’ favorites, a pleasure to watch. As Linda Holmes put it on an NPR blog:

Here, critics find themselves passionately advocating for something that’s extraordinarily enjoyable to watch. It’s like being a dentist who’s in the position of telling people entirely truthfully, “You know what’s really, really, REALLY good for your teeth? Gummi bears!”

It’s a great line. But I don’t buy it. I think there’s a kind of self-loathing streak in critics that makes us refer to shows that we love as “homework.” But I just don’t think that’s true. I don’t watch a show like Friday Night Lights, or The Wire, or Mad Men, because I think I have a moral duty to. I don’t do it to improve myself. I don’t believe it will unclog my arteries or forestall Alzheimer’s. I watch the shows I watch—even the cult, critic-fave ones—because they give me pleasure. Why the hell else would I? Life is too short.

And I’d cite Breaking Bad as a case in point. Yes, the show has a dismal premise. Yes, it can be ugly and disturbing. But it’s also very, very funny, as the entire extended story between the stranded Walt and Jesse showed. And when you look at the musical montage of the two guys cooking meth in the trailer—the thick smoke, the blue crystal, the sunsets—what a gorgeous, gorgeous piece of video. About two guys making drugs in the desert. Call me a bad person, but it just makes me happy (even when it makes me sad).

Of course that’s me. I also prefer Twix bars to gummi bears.