Giancarlo Esposito – Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad is the best thing on television today…best show since The Wire and Bryan Cranston earned every one of the three consecutive Best Actor Emmys he won for playing Walter White.
Aaron Paul, Jonathan Banks: Two more examples of the fine casting and awesome acting that make me itch for every fresh episode. Good guys that ain’t so good and bad guys that ain’t so bad, great writing and taut plot lines. Even when the pace slows down, there’s a pay-off looming and the show never fails to deliver.
But for all of the foregoing, Giancarlo Esposito as the quiet, unflappable criminal mastermind Gus Fring just blows me away.
New episode tomorrow. Now to resume pacing, drinking and smoking an endless chain of cigarettes.

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2 Responses

  1. In addition to acting, Giancarlo Esposito was the most underrated member of one of hockey’s premiere families. While playing for the WHA’s Minnesota Fighting Saints in the 72-73 season, he scored 7 goals fewer than his brother Phil. His switch to goalie for the 73-74 season netted him 1 shutout more than his brother Tony had. Unfortunately, an altercation with legendary San Diego’ Mariner tough guy, Bill “Goldie” Goldthorpe, prematurely ended his career in 1975 and left him with permanent scars.

  2. I love the folding. The attention to detail. Nothing gets past this guy. He takes a really risky business full of ignorant, high-impact, thugs and attempts to bring a professional “civility” to it. (which indirectly asks some important questions about business itself)

    Actually, Gus is a little like the show itself. Even though it does some really risky shit, it does it in a deliberate, methodical and pragmatic way that produces great results.

    Consider this short list of risky TV behaviour:

    – It’s on a network that is brand new to making TV shows.

    – Its protagonist is a guy who takes pride in (and is obscenely rewarded for) making the most potent variety of perhaps the nastiest drug plaguing America. He is an ego-driven, competitive, jerk always out to show how much better and smarter he is than everybody he meets. Not only that, instead of becoming more likeable over the show’s run like most anti-heroes, he is actually doing the opposite.

    – Instead of the usual paper thin stereotypes, given enough time, all the characters become complex human beings that evoke some level of sympathy. The best non-HBO/Showtime show at doing this I’ve seen. Hell, I even have sympathy for Gus more often than I should admit to.

    – In an era of cut & paste TV where half the shows on the air are remakes & outright clones, it takes the most mind numbingly overdone format, crime, and neither engages in hero worship of the cops, nor romanticizes the criminals.

    – In an era of noise, mandatory fast cuts and pore counting closeups, it has long periods of undisturbed silence. Guys fold clothes, stare at plants and serve as mere dots on desert horizons. Entire scenes take place with without dialogue. Routine events like making coffee are recorded and other events take place without explanation. Some characters (ie Mike) barely ever speak, even while engaged in conversations. (Hell Mike barely said anything after getting shot.)

    – In America, violence is something you are expected to expect and cheer it when it comes. While there is violence, most of the characters generally try to avoid it. When it does come, it’s generally in a matter-of-fact way that does not evoke cheering. If anything, it evokes fear, not joy. You often wish you weren’t seeing it. (ie Gus methodically slitting his helper’s throat.) No macho thrill ride here, just business.

    – It sprinkles some humour around, even where it doesn’t really belong. It even relies on the audience’s intelligence to get a joke (ie Walt’s choice of Heisenberg is not only a running joke, it serves as an underlying theme of the show.)

    These are all things networks go out of their way to avoid, but Breaking Bad not only does it consistently, it stops to fold its jacket first. That kind of courage helps makes it one of the best shows on TV.

    By the way, does AMC have horseshoes up its ass or what? Not one single show they’ve made (not even their fucking zombie show!) has failed to get my “thumbs up” and an upcoming show, Hell on Wheels looks like it could be a winner too.

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