Broke Through

Since I am a native New Mexican, it seemed mandatory that I watch the television series “Breaking Bad,” which is set mostly in Albuquerque.

I missed it during its first run on AMC but found all five seasons are available on Netflix.

The Good Man watched some of the pilot episode with me and found it just didn’t work for him. Okay, fair enough. This meant I was on my own to get through it.

If you are part of a couple that shares a Netflix account, you know how hard it is when one of you wants to watch something and the other doesn’t. You have to carve out time to watch when the other isn’t in the mood to be watching TV.

I had to look for times when either The Good Man was off doing something else or I had to set up my iPad and watch it while sitting in the same room with The Good Man. Which, let’s face it, seems kind of silly.

Breaking Bad is not the kind of show one can really binge watch. I found that after getting through a single episode I had to step away from the television and go out into the world and remind myself that nice things still exist.

So it ended up taking me a really long time to watch all 62 episodes, but finally a few weeks ago I did it. I summited the mountain. I reached the peak. I got through the final episode of Breaking Bad.

I have to admit, the last five or so episodes are pretty hard to watch. The whole story and its characters are unraveling and there is a lot of violence and ugly things happening. I found it hard to finish, but I prevailed.

And now that I am on the other side, I broke through, so to speak, what is my final analysis?

As a writer, this is genuinely some of the best writing I have ever experienced. The character development, the original ideas, the pacing, the language. All of it. Genuinely amazing and enviable. Easy to understand why the show won so many awards. And easy to see why it’s been hard for Brian Cranston to find other projects to work on. He’s said he wants projects where the writing is as good as Breaking Bad, which has to be a real challenge.

As a New Mexican, it was at times really hard to watch. I’m not blind, I know there is a lot of bad happening in my homestate. That said, a lot of dramatic license was taken for the sake of a good story. It’s possible to live a nice life in Albuquerque without encountering meth. It really is.

I cringe when I see posts on social media where people say they moved to Albuquerque just because of the show. To each their own, I guess.

I did often have a chuckle when I saw familiar places in the show. The carwash that Walt and Skylar own? I lived about two blocks away from it. The dark restaurant with candles on the tables where Walt and Jesse would often meet? It’s over on Gibson (closed now) and my boss and I used to go have lunch there when I worked for Sandia Labs. Saul’s office? Used to frequent the liquor store in the same strip mall.

The list goes on.

However, seeing all of those locations in the show didn’t really make me homesick. They seemed so out of place in the context of what was happening.

Anyhow, I guess in summary, I can say I have mixed feelings. The writing and acting are profoundly good. And I am glad I watched the show so that I at least understand all of the cultural references. I do kind of wish New Mexico could have gotten a better shake. It’s a beautiful state with a lot to offer including a unique culture and way of life.

Nevermind. I take it back. It’s awful. If you aren’t already a resident, you don’t want to live there. Seriously. (Much love to the 505!)

I am glad that New Mexico got its moment in the spotlight, and I think the story, writing and acting changed the game for television. Hard to believe something so culturally groundbreaking came from a deceptively simple story about a cancer stricken chemistry teacher and his ne’er do well former student cooking meth. It’s a fine though challenging show.

And now the big question……

Do I start watching “Better Call Saul?”



In other news, apparently the actor who played the DEA Agent known as Gomie is running for Bernalillo County Commissioner. Weird. He’s a legit New Mexican though, so okay.

Image found here.

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  • Mama Billie

    Good article, Karen. Husband and I got started on BrBa after it was on a couple of seasons and enjoyed watching the entire series and were sad to see it end. We watched Better Call Saul’s first season and liked it. On a sad note, Octopus is no longer Octopus, it is a Mister. Come see me when you’re in town, I’ll make you enchiladas and we’ll drink cervezas and talk about old times.

  • Simmessa

    Hello Karen,

    nice post, by the way, I saw the pingback on my post about Breaking Bad photography (actually, that’s where you found that pic) and discovered your blog.

    Well thanks for the insight and I hope to hear from you again!


    • Karen Fayeth

      Hi!! Thanks so much for leaving a comment. Yes, I did come across your site in looking for a good photo. Really do love your site, it’s quite good! I like photography and am learning a lot. Your post (that I linked to) about the Breaking Bad images and how they created the shot was really fascinating. See? I didn’t just borrow a photo, I read the post and learned some things!

      And thanks for the borrow of the photo. I had a hard time finding the right image to capture my thoughts. That one comes the closest.

      Take care and come see me again!

  • Keldyn West

    Hi Karen,
    Yes, it is possible to binge watch it! We got hooked from the first scene and whipped through 4 1/2 seasons in just a few weeks, just in time to catch the final episodes live. Was fun to participate in the online speculations about what would happen. I agree, it was hard to watch at times (though the gorgeous scenery helped make it palatable). But so compelling. The dark underbelly of the human soul. I liked Walt’s final admission to his wife of why he did it. Better Call Saul–very different, also hard to watch, for different reasons, but also worth it.

    • Karen Fayeth

      Wow, getting lots of FB comments saying the same, that binge watching was easy. Hmm. Just me then. There were some episodes I could maybe have watched one after the other but some were so intense I was left dumbfounded and had to walk away.

      Awesome that you and Marty were both into it. That helps! Getting out of synch on the Netflix is hard. The struggle is real. LOL!!

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