This morning, I awoke and realized life, going forward, would be different.
I sat on the end of the bed and stared at the floor for a few minutes. In the distance, I could hear the garbage truck clanking around in the streets. In another room, my son’s many alarm clocks were buzzing.
Yes, this was a tough Monday morning.
Breaking Bad was over.
It’s like I lost Walter White as a dad. No more tuning in to see how Walter, the teacher-turned-drug lord, was going to get out of another jam. No more clever lies. No more deception.
I’ve had scores of favorite TV shows before. But not like this. I have this compulsive disorder to watch every Seinfeld, every Gilligan’s Island, every M*A*S*H, every Mad Men, every Batman — if I watch one.
Because I grew up in the country with nothing else to do but watch an old black-and-white Zenith, I have a special kinship with TV. It was my window to the world.
I’m ancient enough to have watched live coverage of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. As a puzzled 5-year-old, I watched Huntley and Brinkley describe the Vietnam conflict as a “gorilla war.” I watched Jack Paar, Joey Bishop, Johnny Carson, Joe Pine, through the wee hours of the night.
Over the years, my tastes evolved. I watched a lot of network shows. A lot of counter-culture TV.
Some years, I gave up on TV. Some years, I crawled back.
It must have been when I crawled back that I discovered “Breaking Bad.” The pilot showed promise. I kept watching. It grew darker. My wife watched with me.
Pretty soon, it was obvious that this program was paying attention to the details, to the quality. The story arcs made sense. I told other friends about the show, but they dismissed it as a silly sitcom or a show typical of network TV.
But it was much more.
Was Breaking Bad always plausible? Of course not. Some liberties with entertainment were taken.
But the storytelling kept getting better each season. We began seeing alternative narratives. Episodes were getting symetric. Literary works inspired scripts. There were unforgettable characters such as Saul Goodman, Gus Fring and Hector Salamanca.
Characters spawned followers who staunchly picked sides, to the point of one actress, Anna Gunn, turning to The New York Times to defend her character Skyler.
We watched every second of every show. To experience the anxieties with others, my wife and I tweeted along with the show live. We read the blogs the next morning.
And now, it’s over.
It’s going to be tough to find another one like this.