Repeats of The Millennium Trilogy.
I am late to the party when it comes to the acclaimed US series Breaking Bad.
As most of you will know, it's about a chemistry teacher and family man who, at the age of 50, has something of a midlife crisis, precipitated by some disturbing personal news that he keeps to himself. In need of funds, he hits upon the idea of using his expertise to cook up crystal meths - and it's superior stuff at that. Much of the humour comes from his interaction with his new, young accomplice in crime.
It's kind of Ferris Bueller's Day Off - from the perspective of beleaguered head principal Ed Rooney - mixed with Pulp Fiction in terms of grisly, unexpected deaths and the way random events conspire to set life off on a tangent, helping or hindering.
Not quite a comedy, but the situations are humorous - there isn't a 'funny' or witty character you root for exactly, but you do root for them anyway. Not least because the first episode sets up our lead character as the underdog. How it endures for a few series you'd never guess from the opener. It does spread itself a bit thinly and upon scrutiny it doesn't stand up, but like early Bonds you don't want to scrutinise it, because it's enjoyable. The plot thickens because his bullish brother in law is with the drugs enforcement agency. Again, it's not plausible in terms of how he can keep his new sideline a secret from his family, and other stuff that is thrown in is a bit ho-hum, but the ensemble cast really helps - there isn't a weak note among them.
In some ways it's the familiar trope of Clark Kent/Superman, Jason Bourne fame - everyman underdog who surprisingly to us or him discovers he's got an unusual, handy and very effective skill-set.
Napoleon Plural said:
I've never seen the show either but its on my to-watch list. Bryan Cranston played dentist Tim Watley, a recurring role on Seinfeld. Remember that time Jerry found a Penthouse in his dentist's waiting room and was told there was a new Adults Only policy? or the time the dentist converted to Judaism just so he could tell the jokes, so Jerry retaliated by telling dentist jokes and got called an anti-dentite bastard?
He was also the dad in Malcolm in the Middle, a more conventional sitcom, but proving he's a good comic actor. So I'm curious to see how he is in something so dark as Breaking Bad would seem to be.
Not seen either of those, there are holes in my knowledge. Funny thing is, BB* isn't really that dark... the joke is - so far - that the character is not so dark, nor even the situations, but it could go that way. It's not a heavy watch. First series is only seven episodes so no hardship to get a taster.
*Not Barbara Broccoli, she really is dark. She's sick, man! 😀
BREAKING BAD is an incredible show--it's got elements of Shakespearean tragedy, Dickensian whimsy, and even the Coen Bros. If anything, its prequel, BETTER CALL SAUL, the final season of which will start airing soon, might actually be even better. Love 'em both!
never seen Seinfeld Napoleon?!!? The show is the source of much of the English language as we speak it today, that is a hole in your knowledge!
I think as a connoisseur of MAD magazine you would appreciate it, its only just barely a sitcom.
I saw bits of Seinfeld over the years but It became one of those series that's for the initiated. It didn't help that the BBC messed about with it in the schedules so it wasn't on at a regular time, plus you might get it mixed up with the Larry Sanders Show or whatever it was.
It tended to get overshadowed by Cheers or Frasier, which Channel 4 showed to more acclaim - though their stuff never pulled more than 4 million viewers, small beer back then. Channel 4 seem to have given up on their classy US sitcom imports, they really should have snaffled The Big Bang Theory, it's totally them.
the dvd's are ubiquitous over here, don't know about Britain. You're right, Seinfeld is better if youre "initiated", so start at the beginning and progress chronologically. The jokes are usually funny on the surface to a first time viewer (especially Kramers physical comedy moves), but even within one episode theyre much funnier if youre really paying attention to how the plots been developing, and in later seasons you almost need a flow chart. Jokes reference information established from earlier episodes, and are cumulative, almost symphonic.* Also they dont really follow the conventional setup-punchline-reaction shot rhythm at all, the dialog comes really fast and the jokes come and go without being spoonfed to the audience.
Those other sitcoms you mention are much more conventional, except maybe Larry Sanders which I've never really seen.
*whats that Classical music form where they establish four themes, each form develops, varies, and interacts before resolving at the end? maybe I dont mean symphonic, but whatever that form is, Seinfeld was the sitcom equivalent. Very clever writing.
I remember my younger sister's male friends when she was in her late teens. There was a group of about five boys who'd grown up together and were very smart. One is in the leadership of a major environmental organisation, one is a musician married to a poet and one majored in philosophy and then married my sister. Listening to them talking was like an episode of Seinfeld. The long talks about unimportant stuff with a very dry witt and sometimes strangely absurd. When asked they said they ran out of things to say about important stuff years ago. 😂