Good Riddance To 'Breaking Bad': Why I Didn't Watch The Finale

on September 30 2013 12:26 PM

I didn’t watch the “Breaking Bad” finale. Let’s get that out of the way. I stopped watching after the third season, when I got bored with what seemed to be turning into a meth-fueled version of “Weeds,” which I stopped watching a couple of episodes into the fourth season.

I know, I know. I’m an idiot, I’m a disgrace, what am I doing with my life? I realize the show apparently gets epically better. I’ve been told repeatedly by friends who are annoyed by the mere fact that I can’t discuss this monumental moment in human history that there has to be something wrong with me if I’m not up to date on the show, which one particularly obsessed friend called “Shakespearean.”

Breaking Bad Finale When we last saw Jesse and Walt together, Mr. White ordered his former student's execution.  AMC

I’ve been cut out of email chains discussing every “Breaking Bad” plot twist and invites to watch this season’s episodes at the swank Sons of Essex bar on the Lower East Side, and like everyone my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been filled with commentary and predictions on the ubiquitous series.

It’s not just “Breaking Bad.” I’ve also only seen one episode of “Game of Thrones” or “Lost,” and never watched “Titanic” or consumed any part of the “Harry Potter,” “Twilight” or “Transformers” empires, and I can’t sit through an NFL game. Go ahead, pass your judgments, I’ve heard it all before.

What I want to contribute to the endless stream of commentary on the end of AMC’s crown jewel is this: There’s really not anything wrong with me, or anyone else who didn't get caught up in the whole "Breaking Bad" thing. I love “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” "Friday Night Lights" (seriously) and “Homeland.” I recently finished watching both seasons of “Twin Peaks,” I’m a diehard Knicks fan and a frequent movie theater patron.

However, I also don’t have a TV in my tiny apartment, and certainly not a cable subscription, a situation that makes keeping up on the hottest shows as they air an impossible endeavor. I won’t say I don’t watch shows of my own choosing online, but it takes real effort to keep up with the succession of must-see TV moments from the “Breaking Bad” finale to the Super Bowl.

I plan to watch all the seasons of “Breaking Bad” one day, perhaps in a binge over a couple of sick days or while trapped inside one snowy winter weekend. But I don’t feel the need to join the rest of the world in doing so the moment it airs, or to spend the money necessary to do so.

In my humble opinion, it is these types of carefully choreographed events that keeps cable companies alive, allowing them to force customers into purchasing expansive packages in order to watch just a few shows and remain in the know on whatever the programming of the moment happens to be.

And through coordinated marketing campaigns, channels and networks ensure that a sufficiently buzzworthy event or series comes along often enough to keep the money coming in. I refuse to give in to the peer and market pressure to do so, so I watch NBA games at friends’ houses and bars, and I wait until shows come out on Netflix streaming or elsewhere to catch up on what I missed.

Of course, on some level there’s a sense of jealousy. I would love to have had some beers with friends last night and watched whatever went down between Walter White, Jesse Pinkman and, from what I’ve gathered from the glut of social media commentary on the finale, Nazis (really?).

Maybe one day I’ll give in and get a television, but for now I’m content with watching everything on my computer on own time and avoiding the frenzy over every “must-see” event. I would, however, like to know if Walter ended up living. Dammit, I guess AMC will sink its claws into me in the end. Just not on its timeline.