"Breaking Bad" Love Story
Attending a press tour Q&A session for a series critics have come to worship with a fervor which threatens to unseat their reason -- such as it is -- leaves you with the uncomfortable feeling you are eavesdropping on a sacred tryst between lovers and should apologize, leave the room as quickly as possible and give them their privacy.
Nowhere was this feeling so pronounced as during AMC's Q&A session for the upcoming second season of "Breaking Bad," in which Bryan Cranston plays a chemistry teacher who turns drug dealer when he is diagnosed with cancer and given two years to live.
The Q&A began with a critic asking Cranston:
"First of all, looking at the clips, I'm just struck. I was wondering: How many pounds have you lost since you started filming the show?"
He said he'd lost 16 pounds.
"And it looks so effective! It's so much more! Are you going to continue this?" wondered the critic, whose love for the show seemed to have gone all over him like rash.
No, because they've finished filming the second season, Cranston explained, adding " but... I had to go back down to 170 again when we started up the second season."
"Oh boy!" the critic said, then moved on to grill show creator Vince Gilligan:
"You've shown so much expertise on such skills as how to mask certain drugs and how to chop up and destroy a body. I'm very impressed by that. Can you give us one or two examples where you didn't know these things and you have to actually research and find out some of these things that [Cranston's character] figures out how to do?"
Gilligan joked that so far it's just "write what you know."
Another critic wondered whether, when Gilligan conceived the series he thought it would end with Cranston's character dying at the end of season -- which, of course, was just silly because the character was given two years to live and they had only done a seven episode first season.
"Did you always plan for it to be multi-seasoned if it could be?" the critic wondered, while we stomped down the urge to scream.
"Good questions," Gilligan fibbed. "No, I never thought of him dying in the first season."
Another critic marveled that Cranston could direct an episode while starring in it this season:
"Just being so heavy in the show in terms of the acting, is it tough to separate parts of your brain and look at the big picture when you're -- "
"It is," Cranston said.
Yet another critic asked Cranston to "take us back to Emmy night and what was going on." (Cranston, who previously was nominated for his acting gig on "Malcolm in the Middle," finally won the Emmy at the last ceremony for his "Breaking Bad" role.)
"Tell us what was going on in your mind when they said your name and what it meant to you," the critic gushed.
Cranston told an amusing anecdote about Emmy night.
"Can you talk about -- and maybe Vince can comment too -- on what that means for the show, especially as you look into the second season, that you've got that Emmy-winning title in front of the credits?"
And the critics continued to pollute the air with this horseradish for many more minutes. Most notably:
"Vince, your hair's grown back really nice, by the way."
Gilligan, you see, shaved his head in solidarity with Cranston when he had to shave his head for the role because, of course, his character has terminal cancer, which explains why he's gone from chem teacher to meth dealer in order to make money to leave his family.
Lisa de Moraes
January 9, 2009; 7:35 AM ET
Categories: Winter TV Press Tour 2009
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