August 23, 2012
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TV Show: Breaking Bad

Walter White a slick liar
By Bill Harris, QMI Agency


Walter White, as played by Emmy winner Bryan Cranston, is seen in a publicity still shot from the fourth season of "Breaking Bad." (Handout)

When did Walter White become the Grinch?

Not that Walter, the lead character in Breaking Bad as portrayed by Bryan Cranston, is intent on ruining the most famous holiday on the Christian calendar.

But as the current season of Breaking Bad unfolds, Sundays on AMC, I keep thinking about a particular scene in the classic Christmas cartoon How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

The Grinch is proceeding with his Grinchly tasks when confronted by little Cindy Lou Who, who was no more than two. Narrator Boris Karloff says:

"But you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick, he thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick."

That's what Walter White has been doing lately on Breaking Bad.

Walter is the Grinch-like master of manipulation (spoiler alert: Up-to-date plot points are discussed in the coming paragraphs).

Whether dealing with his wife Skyler (played by Anna Gunn), or his son Junior (R.J. Mitte), or his business partners Jesse (Aaron Paul) and Mike (Jonathan Banks), or his DEA brother-in-law Hank (Dean Norris) and his loopy wife Marie (Betsy Brandt), Walter thinks up lies, and he thinks them up quick.

This is not the Walter we first saw on Breaking Bad back in 2008, as the setup of the series was that Walter was a non-confrontational, bland high school chemistry teacher who got diagnosed with cancer.

He became determined to provide for his family's financial future before he died, and to that end, Walter started cooking crystal meth.

Walter's cancer eventually went into remission, but not his newfound and unexpected love of excitement and danger and power.

Things now have become so bad and so tense and so dangerous that an in-despair Skyler told Walt in a recent episode that all she's doing now is waiting for his cancer to come back.

That's chilling stuff, as was Skyler's assertion that she no longer is Walt's wife, she's his hostage. Nonetheless, as a viewer, the family side of the equation often has been frustrating on Breaking Bad this season.

The business developments in Walt's life have been compelling and intriguing. But there has been a lot of uncomfortable silence on the home front, where the story has stagnated a bit. I understand that uncomfortable silence might be a very realistic response in this situation, but a little of that goes a long way when you're watching a TV show.

As it stands now, there are 10 total episodes remaining for Breaking Bad; two more this year, and eight more next year to wrap up the series.

The slick and quick Walter undoubtedly will be telling a lot more Grinch-inspired fibs between now and then.

You're a mean one, Mr. White.




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