Walter White

Breaking Bad Walter White

Over at Badass Digest, the astute Meredith Borders is raising an important question about unlikable lead characters and the impact they have on audiences liking the movie they’re in. After all, negating the use of unlikable characters is creatively limiting, but some movie fans simply don’t care for those movies which glorify the dastardly and dickish. In her well-intentioned pursuit, Borders brings up the crew from It’s Always Sunny, Walter White from Breaking Bad and the various man-children and woman-children that have hit theaters in the past few years. The problem is, in trying to defend unlikable characters, all the characters she mentions are perfectly likable. They’re just assholes. The difference is an important distinction – one that plays toward how an audience responds to storytelling at a raw level.

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*The following contains Breaking Bad spoilers in general and a major spoiler for the season four finale in particular. The Breaking Bad bandwagon is one that I avoided  getting on for a long time. After watching seasons one through three in a summer marathon, I found a lot to enjoy in the show, but there certainly wasn’t any drinking of the Kool-Aid being done. And while there still isn’t, I’ll be damned if the ending of season four didn’t at least tempt me to take a sip or two. This season started off rather lackluster compared to the high of the previous season. Sure, Gus slitting Victor’s throat and the cartel shoot-out were among some of the greatest moments of the show’s history, but they were scattered in a field with the likes of Hank’s self-loathing and distractingly annoying advertisements for Denny’s. But the final two episodes of this season made up for the majority of all that lackluster crap. What made the Breaking Bad season four finale special is that the immediate storyline involved is played out over two episodes instead of one. “End Times” is mostly set up for what we saw in “Face Off,” and that’s why “Face Off” is so fucking good. Imagine if the spinning gun scene in “End Times” had instead aired in the same episode as the final shot of the season. It wouldn’t have worked, simply because the final shot was one what required a moment of processing by the audience. Had everything been in […]

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