Monday September 23, 2013

Breaking Bad  won a much deserved Emmy last night on the doorstep of the series finale.  Last night's extended episode delivered to say the least.  Let the week of Breaking Bad  begin. . . . 

The AV Club  had an interesting take: "[w]hen he sees Gretchen and Elliot Schwarz answering Charlie Rose’s probing about their donation to a drug treatment organization (is it an attempt to whitewash Grey Matter’s association with a “meth kingpin,” its co-founder?) by claiming that Walter did nothing to build the company but invent its name, everything changes. He may not be able to help his family or prop up his failing health or even spend the money that’s in that looming, accusatory barrel. But he can defend his name against the charge that a name is all he is. He can demand respect for the science he owns and that he alone (he believes) can wield.

"Maybe that was always his only mission. Maybe he’s only just now woken up from the lie about family that he talked himself into. Alone at last, he finds that it’s not that he’s lost everything. It’s that nothing is holding him back."

TIme magazine suggests we've gotten a look at a few alternate endings for Walter White (e.g., surrendering to Hank, disappearing into anonymity, surrendering to the DEA).  "[T]here is still too much to reckon with for Breaking Bad to end things this way. There is a vast and still-growing catalog of people whose lives Walt has ruined or ended, directly or indirectly. There’s Skyler, ruined, terrorized, and facing jail; Marie mourning; Junior bitter and angry. There’s Jesse captive in his meth dungeon and Andrea now, dead from the hell Walt unleashed by summoning the demons of Todd and Uncle Jack. As the suffering rolls out in this bleak, bleak episode, you can almost see the paper being crumpled up on the “Walt dies alone in hiding” idea and thrown into the wastebasket. Breaking Bad is not an elliptical show, and these things must be confronted.

The Hollywood Reporter  said last night's episode saw "fate said no to some wild, unexpected turn for the better."

Grantland 's Andy Greenwald offers his recap here.

Vulture 's Matt Seitz offers his take along with the tidbit that Robert Forster once actually WAS a vacuum cleaner salesman.

The Wrap  asks whether or not Walter White can be saved at this point and also makes the argument that Todd is the show's biggest villain. "Todd – ah yes, that fresh-faced sociopath who killed a child – has become the person on the show we hate the most. He sealed it with his brutal, cruel, and wholly unnecessary murder of Andrea. When I asked if there was ever a sadder “Breaking Bad” scene than Walt’s $10,000 card game, the answer was no. Andrea’s death was the saddest thing ever to happen on the show. She was killed merely for being a good, pure person who Jesse cares about. Todd also threatened Walter’s wife Sunday. And his daughter."   I truly hope the finale isn't coming down to a Walt vs. Todd showdown.  There's now way.

Here's a list of the night's Emmy winners:

Outstanding Comedy: Modern Family (ABC)

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)

Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Tony Hale, Veep (HBO)

Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie (Showtime)

Outstanding Drama: Breaking Bad (AMC)

Outstanding Actress in a Drama: Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime)

Outstanding Actor in a Drama: Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom (HBO)

Supporting Actress in a Drama: Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad (AMC)

Supporting Actor in a Drama: Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Outstanding Variety Series: The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)

Outstanding Reality Competition Series: The Voice (NBC)

Outstanding Reality Program: Undercover Boss (CBS)

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie: Behind the Candelabra (HBO)

 I caught up on The Bridge  this past weekend and have to tell you that this show really turned itself around after a pretty slow start.  The pace of the show remains a bit too slow, but at least the action picked up and there was a decent level of suspense.  It's worth catching up and jumping back on board if you abandoned this show early in the season.

I also caught the premiere of new NBC sitcom Welcome To The Family .  Not good.  The writing was poor and I don't suspect this one will stick around for all that long.

Jeff Garlin said that he does expect Curb Your Enthusiasm  to return.  "[M]y gut feeling, Larry will come to realize Curb is the most fun he and I will ever have working, and he’ll miss it so much he’ll have to do more."  He's also so spot on with respect to Chicago sports and fantasy football, I couldn't find better words:

"1. I think if you’re not from Chicago—I am—you might not understand the Bears are more popular than the Bulls, Blackhawks, Sox and Cubs combined. It’s insane.

2. I think when you ask me my favorite Bears moment, it’s this: any time Walter Payton ran the ball. Oh my God, I saw him do all these different things—running to his right, changing, running to his left, then pounding the crap out of someone. The idea was, I’m gonna hurt you more than you hurt me. I met him once. I couldn’t believe I was in the same room as him. I said, ‘Hi! Nice to meet you.’ My voice went up. It cracked. He was retired. I was in awe.

3. I think one of my memories of the Super Bowl in ’85 was walking back to my apartment in Chicago after the game and just freezing. Freezing. And naked people running through the streets. More than one person. Zero degrees. Naked people!

4. I think the Bears were better the next year. But the team and Mike Ditka started to believe the hype. When that happens, the fall isn’t very far away.

5. I think the way I watch football now is the Bears game first, and then the Red Zone channel. I have to follow my fantasy team. I know more about offensive players and complete defenses than I ever knew, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. It has kind of taken away the nuance of watching complete games.

6. I think there’s only one key to winning fantasy football or baseball for that matter: luck. Sorry if you thought I actually had a Why didn’t I think of that answer. But it is all luck."

Here's some food show news for you.  

Guy Fieri is hitting the supermarket in the new Food Network competition series Guy's Grocery Games on Sunday, October 20 at 8p. The show features four competitors navigating their way through real-world culinary challenges for a chance to win up to $20,000. 

Season nine Food Network Star winner Damaris Phillips will join the daytime lineup in her new cooking show, premiering Sunday, October 27 at 10:30a. The focus will be modern Southern cuisine.  

Cooking Channel is launching three new series: Best in Chow (Wednesday, October 9 at 10:30p), Come Date with Me (Friday, October 25 at 10p) and Restaurant Redemption (Tuesday, October 29 at 8p). Premises range from finding love via adventures and cooking to making over struggling eateries.