There is a ferocious battle going on behind the scenes of Sunday night television. Two of our nation’s most popular crime series are fighting it out for the hearts of viewers and the minds of critics. Not only do these shows represent vastly different approaches to popular culture, they also betray the contradictory strains of creativity at the heart of the American ethos.
On the one side, there is a sharply drawn drama that speaks of suffering and redemption, brilliantly written with inspired moments of true comedy. On the other, there is an overwrought, crude and disingenuous program that raises serious questions about the culpability of Hollywood when it promotes criminal activity in our communities.
The following analysis is not meant to indict the inherent plot flaws of Breaking Bad. Instead, our aim is to reveal how liberal extremists are using the media to undermine the basic foundations of our society. With drug crime, public schools and socialism foremost in people’s minds this election season, it’s vital that Americans voice their outrage everywhere that evil rears its ugly head. And when it comes to Breaking Bad, that ugly bald head is particularly heinous.
1. Crime really doesn’t pay
The Mentalist, as most will know, is resolved each week with the criminals paying a just price for their wrongdoing. Sadly, this is not the case for Breaking Bad, which seems singularly obsessed with selling the idea of methamphetamines to our children. In lead character Walter White’s eerie worldview, dealing narcotics is an exciting, fast-paced lifestyle for the unemployed losers of America, enticing them with sexual kicks, sports cars and endless opportunities to mock our men in law enforcement. Is this really a valid lesson as we struggle through a recession and crippling levels of unemployment due to the liberal apathy that often stems from drug abuse?
2. Viewers cherish authenticity over glitz and special effects
Simply put, Breaking Bad suffers from its schmaltzy, vaudevillian style of acting. This is particularly true of its female characters, who are either screaming or weeping in every scene (Skyler and Marie!). Add to this all the money shots and car chases and it’s no wonder that juvenile minds are drawn to such over-the-top television fare. If there were no explosions on the show, viewers might notice the lazy writing and canned dialogue that utterly sabotages this wimp-wristed drama. In contrast, the star of The Mentalist, all-American Patrick Jane, is both wholesome and pensive. His search for redemption after the murder of his wife can bring one to tears and who amongst us hasn’t had a touch of fiery compassion for the brawny, chiseled Jane?
3. Walter White unintentionally reveals the inherent fallacy of radical liberalism
What happens when a man decides to live outside the rule of law? What happens when he rejects every last vestige of family values? Bad attempts to answer these questions and the result is a glaring depiction of extremist liberalism in action. The writers surely intended Mr. White to be a charming, sophisticated debaucherous and heroic anti-hero, much like the Marquis de Sade, but mainstream viewers will be disgusted to see the leftist “anything goes” ideology represented without the slightest hint of shame.
4. The Mentalist is far more accessible for the casual watcher
The premise here is straightforward and particularly effective for American audiences who work fulltime providing for their families. On the other hand, the serial nature of Breaking Bad demands a huge investment of time and focus, much like a daytime soap opera. You can’t simply drop in on an episode in the middle of a season, for the individual plotlines are so flimsy they cannot stand on their own without 12 hours of backup viewing. It’s hard to imagine such a program lasting in syndication.
5. Breaking Bad dangerously misrepresents the drug crisis ravaging heartland America
The crystal methadone epidemic destroying our communities is not a pretty sight. Addicts are sickly and harrowed. They take incredible risks with their health and often ruin the lives of everyone around them. They don’t last very long, either. From crack to meth to marijuana, death is the natural consequence of addiction. Yet we see very little of this on this otherwise graphic drug show. They rarely turn the lens on the true face of meth and that’s almost criminally negligent.
6. Socialist critique of small business undermined by blatant racism
Gus Fring is a small businessman building a company through personal grit despite his ethnicity. For many, this would be an all-American story of hardship and triumph. It could also serve as a teachable moment about taxes and rising employee health care costs. Yet in Breaking Bad‘s pro-Obama, anti-capitalist cynicism, this hero is a violent drug kingpin who abuses his workers and hoards all the profits. By casting Gus as a Mexican or a black, the creators can’t hide the stinging racism so common among liberals and this racism ultimately makes their case for socialism seem rather absurd.
7. Unlike Patrick Jane, Walter White doesn’t seem so smart in the end
How could Walter White be so stupid? Doesn’t he grasp the amount of drug addiction and death he’s causing with his high potency super drug? Has the man absolutely no sense of morality or the judgment of the afterlife? Maybe such evil isn’t surprising coming from a public school science teacher who spends far too much time unsupervised around actors half his age…
8. Breaking Bad’s roots in cheap comedy will never compare to the profound work of Arthur Conan Doyle
The Mentalist is a wonderful homage to Sherlock Holmes and the greatest traditions of literature. By heeding the heritage of storytelling, viewers are delightfully comforted and ultimately this says so much about America’s foundation of Constitutionality and Faith. Conversely, Bad is full of actors manically pandering for snickers and guffaws. Hank, Skyler and Gus rarely amuse and one wonders when they’ll add “laugh track” special effects to prop up their tediously unfunny scenes. Even worse is the character of Walt Jr., who plays a mentally retarded child on the show. How anyone could find humor in a critical disability is confounding.
9. Jesse Pinkman violates the code of the co-star
The main supporting actor in a television program is there to make the star look good. He’s also important for comic relief. Yet Pinkman does neither. He hogs the screen with his “method acting” hysterics. He’s constantly whining and crying, shouting and pouting. He’s a pathetic human being and one wonders why he wasn’t killed off in the first season. Most adults will find this needy idiotic punk endlessly annoying, but maybe today’s unemployed hipster college grads enjoy seeing their lives reflected so realistically on television screens.
10. Breaking Bad’s subtext of homosexuality is out of synch with mainstream America
Any creative effort that depends so heavily on the intimacy shared between two men will hear complaints of homosexuality. In the case of this show, evidence suggests a controversial undercurrent of lust andmisplaced sexuality. Indeed, the relationship between Jesse and Walter adheres closely to the premise outlined in the 1950s educational film “Boys Beware,” which warned of men just like Walter who groom wayward boys for a life of crime and forbidden desire.
11. C’mon Hank, can’t you see what’s going on right under your nose?
Viewers find DEA agent Hank incredibly frustrating. His own brother is a mega-meth millionaire kingpin and he’s completely clueless? This doesn’t make any sense! And it’s incredibly annoying! In the few episodes I’ve seen, I’ve prayed for someone to drop a dime on Walter White and put this miserable series out of its misery. Come on now, it’s not that hard!
12. How would Patrick Jane match wits with Walter White?
Setting aside the obvious problems of casting talented artists alongside untalented ones, it’s easy to daydream about a Mentalist/Breaking Bad showdown. How would Jane best White with brainpower and bravery? Would Walter cower at Patrick’s all-American smile? What fantastically witty line would he use to sum up the imploded implausibility of Breaking Bad‘s faulty premise?
The day “Heisenberg” is locked away for good in the Cablevision vaults is the day that order has been restored to the television universe. Such a finale would be a fitting end for the epic battle of drug-addled liberalism versus rule of law righteousness being played out on our Sunday night television screens. Maybe there’s a future there for Patrick Jane in taking such a show on the road, tying up all the horribly written loose ends on other primetime dramas (Dexter, I’m looking at you!).
Vince Gilligan, if you’re having trouble wrapping up your show, you can have that last idea for free.