A little over a month ago, the ending to a very personal and powerful five-year relationship unlike any other I have ever experienced came to an abrupt end. It was full of emotional devastation, existentialistic mourning, uncertainty in regard to where my life would go from there, and plenty of denial, bargaining, and unorthodox coping methods.
No, I’m not talking about my long-term boyfriend breaking up with me – THAT happened a week later.
I’m talking about the ending of Breaking Bad. But, as I sat here at work this morning, listening to the Breaking Bad Insider Podcast episode 408 in a pathetic attempt to keep the small memories of something magnificent alive, I realized these two major events in my life hold a discerning amount of parallels.
Breaking Bad first aired in 2008. I started dating my ex in 2008. I had watched television shows before, but I had never seen a show quite like Breaking Bad. I don’t know if it was the cinematography, the plot, the actors, the pacing, or a culmination of all these things that drew me in, but despite my futile attempts to resist falling in love, I knew once I watched the pilot that this was something special.
I spent the next season in a period of awe and bliss. There were so many things to learn about Breaking Bad. I found myself thinking about it all the time, and talking about it to everyone. I truly believed it was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I may have admitted I loved the show a little early, but it didn’t matter…because we had something. And I knew it. I really felt alive.
Season two kept bringing me new and exciting things. I was so absorbed in the adventures it was taking me on that I stopped trying to read books, or go for walks, or eat food. I just wanted to spend all my time with Breaking Bad. And it was giving me all I could have ever asked for. I had never been this happy before. I was a little nervous – this was longer than I had ever stuck with a TV show and still felt this strongly. What if the storyline started getting stale? What if they tried to replace a secondary character with a different actor and never address it? What if the writers wrote themselves into a corner with no hope of satisfying execution or escape? But I was not disappointed. I came to trust Breaking Bad and become entirely comfortable with it. Sure there were parts that hurt me, but they were necessary, and only made the overall experience that much more meaningful.
I was content in seasons three and four. I wasn’t always sure why Breaking Bad was making the choices it did, but I had learned to trust it and the payoff was extraordinary. I only loved it more.
Halfway through season 5 we fell on some tough times, and took a small break. I really didn’t want to do it. I really wanted to just watch it all. I didn’t want to lose it, but afterward it only reminded me why Breaking Bad mattered so much. And when it came back, I was ecstatic. And things were good for awhile. Really good. It was a little more distant, I had to wait a week in between episodes, but it was always worth it, and I was entirely sure it was going to be okay.
But then…the finale aired. I went into the episode knowing it would be over, and although it had taken me on so many twists and turns over the five years I had been a dedicated viewer, I didn’t want it to end. It had brought me so much more than I had ever expected. It was the BEST TV show I had ever seen. I tried denying it, but it had its own schedule. So unfortunately after an hour, it walked out of my life. It tried to make things easier by promising hopes of a Better Call Saul spin-off, but I knew if that ever happened, it just wouldn’t be the same. It couldn’t be the same. Breaking Bad, after everything we had shared, had broken my heart.
Then like a week later, my (now ex) boyfriend pretty much did the exact same thing.
And even though I keep trying to pretend it didn’t happen, I’m served by constant reminders everywhere that I no longer have a show to keep me going. I keep watching old episodes, trying to relive some of the magic and wondering what I could have done to have prevented this pain. I thought it’d always be there for me. But in my heart I knew Breaking Bad just had a mind of its own. It knew what it had to do, just as it had all along.
People keep telling me to watch a new show and move on. I hear The Walking Dead is good. But I don’t know. Maybe one day I’ll be ready. But as for now, I’ll just put Baby Blue back on repeat and let Breaking Bad hold onto that part of my heart.
In terms of emotions, Breaking Bad may have told me to tread lightly, but also taught me that it’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.