By: Dan Tomasik
It’s barely been a year, but the legacy of AMC’s Breaking Bad is ongoing and omnipresent. The story of a high school chemical teacher who starts cooking crystal meth to support his family after he becomes diagnosed with cancer has been showered with awards and praise from fans and critics alike. It’s leads have gone on to win dozens of awards and acclamations while the show itself has become cemented into popular culture. Shirts, mugs, controversial action figures, Breaking Bad is everywhere. Anyone who doesn’t believe Breaking Bad is the greatest show on television has either never seen it or has no taste. So why the hell can’t you get your girlfriend to watch it?
Consider what the show is, what it’s about, and why your girlfriend (or any girl, for that matter) may not find it enjoyable. Right off the back, are there any relatable female characters for them? No, none whatsoever. Breaking Bad is a sausage-fest. Every drug dealer, every criminal, every rival, every threat, every ally, almost every character with significance is male. Every female character inevitably falls into one of two categories; annoying or bitch. The female characters on the show are given almost nothing to make them likable. Skylar White has one purpose, to break Walt’s balls about everything he does. Marie has two purposes, be more or less annoying. Jane started off promising, but then became a manipulative bitch who dragged Jesse down into drug addiction and almost ruins everything he and Walt had worked for. Lydia has two speeds, paranoid and useless. Wendy the prostitute…. need I say?
Next, how well does the show grab new viewers in those crucial first episodes? Very, very poorly. The beginning episodes are extremely slow and dull, lacking any indication of the greatness the show would later find. 45 minutes can feel like forever if there’s nothing to engage you. Believe it or not, Breaking Bad has flaws. Big, gaping flaws. The problem is that the misfires of this series are often swept under the rug of its successes. Fans who try to get others into the show run into the roadblock that is the show itself. Breaking Bad is one of those rare instances of a show that improves with every season, but it took a long time to get there.
You want a great show you and your girlfriend can get into? Try Sons of Anarchy on FX. Like Breaking Bad, it’s available on Netflix Instant for binge-watching. Also like Breaking Bad, it’s dark and grabbing. Unlike Breaking Bad, it starts off fast and furious with one of the best first seasons for a show I’ve ever seen. But one thing it has better than Breaking Bad (or almost any show on television) is strong female characters. Every lady on SOA can carry their own weight and stand up for themselves. This isn’t just the old ladies, nurses and ATF agents, this includes the junkies and porn stars. These ladies do not take crap from anyone. Frankly speaking, Gemma Teller (Katey Sagal) is the scariest member of SAMCRO, and she doesn’t even need a gun.
So the next time you want to kick back with your girlfriend and watch something together, think real hard about what you put on. A show you can both love is a lot better than a show you worship and she despises.