The Austin Chronicle

I Broke Bad for 'Breaking Bad'

By Monica Riese, September 2, 2012, 6:01am, Picture in Picture

Some background: I don't watch much horror. I don't watch much gratuitous violence. In fact, there's just not really a lot of drama in my media. Sure, I watched The Wire, but mostly I got through college on a steady diet of Law & Order, embarrassing Bravo marathons, and rom-coms. But I watch the hell out of Breaking Bad.

You need to understand one more thing about me: I have so few vices that when I gave up Dr Pepper for a month, some friends of mine legitimately worried that I was taking it too far and would be leading a joyless existence for 30 days. And then I basically gave up TV.

See, when I moved into a new place in May, I decided to forego a cable subscription. Between Netflix and DVDs, I can keep myself more than occupied, I figured. At the moment, in fact, right now I'm juggling three series: How I Met Your Mother, Gilmore Girls, and Breaking Bad.

One of these things is not like the others.

In short, Vince Gilligan has created a monster.

Yes, the hero-turned-protagonist-turned-antihero of his hit AMC series would qualify under that description: Walter White, long since out of the classroom and growing ever more evil each episode, is hardly recognizable in this latest (fifth) season. So too has his wife turned into a white-wine-drinking shell of her former self.

It would even be fair to classify Breaking Bad's fan base as a monster. From the AV Club summaries and Buzzfeed's meme aggregation (link contains some season 4 spoilers, but seriously, catch up) to the Sunday night onslaught of tweets and Facebook updates, it's easy to see that the show has picked up steam in the last year or so. On a local level, even in the past seven episodes, the Alamo Drafthouse went from two TV at the Alamo showings to four, with sellout crowds even on midseason weeks.

I am a proud part of that sold-out crowd. (I've vascillated wildly in the last few weeks about breaking down and shelling out for that cable package after all, if only for this show.) I line up diligently each Sunday, like a junkie twitching for her next fix, and I and my fellow addicts bask in 44 minutes of simply amazing television.

No one's quite sure what tonight's episode will bring – or even sure of what to call it: midseason finale? – but I fully expect that when I get to the Drafthouse on South Lamar tonight, I'll hear plenty of theories. And I'm positive that the next year's wait for the final eight episodes will bring with it some terrible DTs. But at least I know that there's a solid group going through the same thing with me.

Should we have meetings? I'm not sure what to do about this addiction, but I hear admitting it is the first step. What do you say about Sundays, say 9ish? I'm pretty sure nothing's going to be able to fill this void for a long time.

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