Back on Wednesday AMC began running every episode of Breaking Bad, with a intermission here and there to keep people from jumping out windows because they were depressed, I suppose. Because there are so many things going on with me over the last few years I haven’t been able to watch the show, but I’ve known of it, and I’ve been fortunate enough to catch the last eight weeks of the series, which comes to an end this coming Sunday, 29 September.
Because of this show we now have ever high school chemistry teacher in the country being asked if they know how to cook meth, which is probably not a good thing, but it’s better than no questions at all, I suppose. And it would appear that Albuquerque is one of the major drug capitals of the country, and a good place to buy up some bankrupt fried chicken shacks.
The one thing it has done is bring drama, and that’s because the writing is just so damn good.
Getting home from work I was able to catch the last four episodes of Season Two: Over, Mandala, Phoenix, and ABQ. Two of these episodes made up a grouping of four that foreshadowed an event that closed out Season Two, and the last scene in ABQ foreshadows an event that will close out Season Four. It’s all there: life, death, getting hope, loosing it all . . . and watching people turn into monsters before your very eyes. (And those four episodes were Seven-Thirty-Seven, Down, Over, ABQ. Now you know how the season ends.)
I love great writing. One of the reasons I don’t watch a lot of television is I’m not much for the product dealt. Think of it along the lines of the Sky Blue that’s cooked on Breaking Bad: you get the normal crap that’s all over the place, and then there’s the crank that’s ninety-five percent pure. Finding that Sky Blue drama is rare, but when you do, you sit on that stuff and love the ride until it takes you down.
One of the reasons I decided to take a creative writing course in the late 1980’s was due to hating what passed for good story telling on TV and at the movies. My ego was just enough then that I thought, “I can write better than most of these hacks,” and I still have that personal belief that if you work at your craft long and hard enough, and you’re willing to learn from the crap you first churn out, then you’ll end up producing something good, maybe even some great stuff. Work at it long enough, and you’ll produce a few lines of Sky Blue quality stories.
If you’re luckier, you’ll do that for a while and end up feeling guilty about what you’re going to do with all the money you make.
None of us start out being true artists of our craft; it takes time to get there, it takes work. It’s rare that any of us are gonna drive the RV out into the desert and produce some totally pure produce the first time out, and do it wearing only our underwear. But if we work at it long enough, we may just become artists of our craft.
Or we can get wasted on our own product. That’s always an option.