Breaking Backward: Everything I know

I don’t watch TV. I don’t say this to try and assert any kind of moral or intellectual superiority over anybody. I waste plenty of time in a given day doing nothing productive. I just don’t have the patience for serialized television that requires me to see each episode.

A friend challenged me, however, to watch Breaking Bad in its entirety, in sequence, just backwards. I’ll be taking notes and chronicling my reactions.

This idea was relayed to me via text messages that came out of nowhere in the middle of the night, and I suspect he may have been drunk when he came up with it, but those are the conditions under which all great ideas are generated so I have to at least make an effort to follow through.

I was nominated to do this specifically because my friend knows I’ve never watched the show. I’ll be going in blind, aware of little besides the basic premise of the show. Naturally the show was an enormous force in popular culture so I have some trifling awareness of some of the famous bits and images. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll go over everything I know about the program:

-The basic premise, as I understand it, is that a science teacher is diagnosed with terminal cancer and decides to start cooking and selling meth in order to make money to provide for his family after he is gone

-He dies in the final episode (which for me will be the first)

-I once read an article written by the actress who plays his wife, expressing concern that there is a reasonably large community on the internet who hates her character. Like there was at least one specific Facebook fan page with a title like “[Her character] is a bitch!” or something that has thousands of followers. She expressed disappointment because she perceived that a lot of these people felt this way because her character often challenged the main character, who in case the audience forgot, is a guy making and selling an extremely dangerous and destructive drug.

-I just happen to be aware of a lot of famous images and bits from the show due to seeing them around the internet, ex. The main guy is in a green shirt and a pair of underpants with a gun tucked in the waistband, the main guy and his friend are in yellow chemical suits and gas masks, he gets frustrated and throws a pizza on his garage for some reason, the line “I am the one who knocks!” is from the show and is very powerful for some reason

-There is a parody ending in which Brian Cranston wakes up next to the actress who played the mom on Malcolm in the Middle, and in the characters of Hal and Lois they talk about how he had an awful dream that he was a meth dealer

Before writing this I checked Google to see if anybody did anything similar to this already (or at least if anybody more articulate and clever than me had) and the only results I saw were jokes in the format of “If you watch the movie Jaws backwards, it’s about a shark that keeps throwing up people until they have to open a beach.” It may have been my friend’s intent that I just write a very long form version of “This series is about a drug dealer who turns his life around and becomes a science teacher” but because I already know that much, that won’t be the angle I work towards. Hell, I don’t have any kind of angle right now, and time will only tell if I find one.

I don’t have any kind of update schedule in mind, but if it turns out I’m able to watch TV with the same persistence of other people my age, I can’t imagine why these shouldn’t come out in reasonably short order. In an effort to keep myself blind I won’t be doing any kind of research on the program’s plot or characters, but I may be curious as to the specific mechanisms by which methamphetamine is produced and distributed and what sort of regulations exist against it. That knowledge might cause me to get pedantic and poke holes in whatever dramatic conventions the show might have used for the sake of a compelling narrative so I’ll try not think too hard about any of that.

Point is I’m going to try not to complicate this.


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