Binging and purging Breaking Bad
You know the feeling. Facebook is the devil. Twitter is a plague to be avoided at all costs. Even your favorite sports talk radio show is interviewing the creator, and you have to switch over to FM at the risk of hearing that damned Miley Cyrus song again. This is what happens when you like a great television show, but you’re not caught up.
I’m halfway through season two of one of the greatest shows of television’s second Golden Age – Breaking Bad. And avoiding spoilers (the “purging”) about Walt and Jesse is about as difficult and unrealistic as hopping onto the 405 and expecting clear sailing to your destination. The story of the cancer-riddled meth kingpin culminates this Sunday on AMC, and if I want to preserve my innocence in completing the series, I have two options. I can either employ Netflix and various other options for catching up, trying to burn through two and a half more seasons by Sunday night … or I can elect to take my time and go dark on social media for the next week (at least).
I’ve tried the second option before, with Lost. Covering my ears and muttering “la la la” when entertainment pundits or my annoyingly well-informed circle of friends began to discuss the series’ end worked for a while. But honestly, that was before the rise of Twitter and Netflix, two internet titans that television executives were actually leery of at their inception. As it turns out, both have contributed in ways that no one could have foreseen – Netflix enables slackers like me to binge on a show like Breaking Bad, robotically clicking on “Next Episode” at three in the morning so that I don’t have to suffer the shame of removing myself from the room the next time someone brings up the Better Call Saul spinoff. Twitter, though, is the real game changer. It has elevated the best shows on television into the zeitgeist, creating more organic hype than the best corporate ad campaign could ever hope to.
What Twitter did, quite by accident, was make it impossible for people to “catch it on DVD”. There is no middle ground now when it comes to Game of Thrones, The Newsroom, and even How I Met Your Mother. The shows that create suspense and craft sophisticated, interesting characters are being rewarded with rabid viewership because of the internet, not in spite of it. Either you saw last night’s episode, or you’re not part of the conversation. I want to be part of what will certainly be an incendiary dialogue after Breaking Bad’s finale. So, I’ll be spending Saturday alone, so that, hopefully, I can finally participate on Monday morning.
(Be sure to stop by for our liveblog/chat — we call ‘em LiveClacks — this coming Sunday night at 8:45 PM EST for some live commentary of the Breaking Bad series finale. Participate with us!)