Monday, March 9, 2009

Is Walter White More Bad Than Dexter Morgan?

I hope it's OK to have just a few more comments about "Breaking Bad" which had its second season premier on AMC last night at 10pm. I just had a chance to watch a recorded version today and was struck by the similarities between this dark new series and the20+ year old David Lynch masterpiece Twin Peaks. Both involve murders in mundane places. There is always something especially sinister when evil pokes its head up through the lawn chairs and split level houses of suburbia. It's very creepy to see an eyeball floating in a backyard swimming pool (Breaking Bad) or a homecoming queen's corpse wrapped in plastic (Twin Peaks). The latter was quirkier and had more of Lynch's homespun humor. Breaking Bad is bad to the bone, and breathtakingly ambivalent when it comes to any kind of moral stance.

The new season finds our hero Walter White trying to calculate just how many harrowing drug deals he'll have to conduct in order to leave his family (he's dying of lung cancer) with enough money to keep the house and send two kids to college. His pin headed sidekick, the young Jesse Pinkman, has bigger worries; how to keep the deranged neighborhood gangster from killing them both since they watched him beat one of his henchmen to death. The relationship between Walter and Jesse is fascinating. Teacher and student, genius and numb skull, old and in crime. They are the most unlikely duo to ever pair up on TV.

Here's an interesting little exercise involving three all time Flaming Nose favorites. Try to decide who is more evil; is it Tony Soprano (HBO) who killed for power, but put his family on a pedestal? Is it Dexter Morgan the serial killer (SHOW), who only kills the scum of the earth? Or is it dear Walter White, who makes the best Methamphetamine in the Southwest to provide for his family, and only kills when some creepy drug dealer gets in the way. We have a whole season of Breaking Bad ahead of us to ponder this question. What do you think?

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Soprano gets my evil vote. Being bad was a business for him, a sacred cause for Dexter, and a righting of society's injustice to him for Walt White.

Walt White certainly has all the sympathy stacked in his favor, but even so, his is the more poignant fall from good because he tried to do the right thing and the rules changed before his eyes.

And doesn't Bryan Cranston delineate him beautifully!