As a “Breaking Bad” junkie, I was pissed.
After endless days and restless nights of compulsively watching, then impatiently awaiting the next therapeutic episode on AMC — with a level of addiction akin to a tweaker’s dependency on Blue Sky crystal — I was ready for Bryan Cranston to collect another Emmy and reestablish himself as the most outstanding (read: badass) actor ever.
But in one of the biggest upsets at Sunday’s 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, newcomer Damian Lewis of “Homeland” robbed Cranston of what could (and should) have been his fourth consecutive Emmy for best drama actor.
Cranston, who currently ties with Bill Cosby for most consecutive wins in that category, undoubtedly demonstrated his thespian talents in the show’s fourth season with his brilliant portrayal of a high school chemistry teacher turned meth manufacturer.
Interestingly, both Cranston and Cosby, widely known for their tenures on family sitcoms “Malcolm in the Middle” and “The Cosby Show,” respectively, have avoided being typecast as the amusing dad and have successfully ventured into more dramatic roles. (On an unrelated note, who knew the spokesperson from those godawful 1980s Jell-O commercials could win even a single Emmy?) Alas, the acclaim Cranston has garnered during his stint on “Breaking Bad” wasn’t enough to set an Emmy record, with Lewis, the puny freshman, unseating upperclassman Cranston from his throne and shattering his three-year winning streak.
As much as I’d like to pin the blame on the Television Academy for giving the award to the wrong guy, they’re not entirely culpable. In a move to ostensibly ensnare extra viewers, AMC postponed the “Breaking Bad” season four premiere from March, when it typically begins, to July — a decision that ultimately cost the show its eligibility in last year’s Emmys and deferred it by default to this year.
The folks at AMC didn’t have the foresight to see the ramifications of their actions, but I’ll spell it out for them. A lot of TV can happen in a year. As evidenced by Sunday’s results, Lewis stole the limelight in recent months, while viewers soon forgot Cranston and his magical touch. (But oh, how he touched us!)
At least “Breaking Bad’s” Aaron Paul was recognized with a shiny trophy for best supporting drama actor. “Thanks for not killing me off the show [bitch],” he joked in his acceptance speech. Sure, while it has decided to spare Paul (for now), AMC has systematically raped the aspirations of “Breaking Bad” fandom for a five-year Heisenberg dynasty.
What’s scarier is that this year’s Emmys appear to be only the first phase in AMC’s grand plan to screw us fans over. “Breaking Bad’s” current fifth season is another case in point. Split into two parts with the first half having premiered this summer and the second debuting in July 2013, the season was negotiated among network suits — not the show’s creators — and will likely suffer the same dismal fate at the 2013 Emmys as its predecessor. What a load of crap.
Of course, it could be worse. AMC could have followed through with its original plan to shoehorn the entire fifth season into six measly episodes and Cranston could have given up acting for a stab at culinary school or whatever.
In the meantime, I might as well check out “Homeland” until “Breaking Bad” airs next July. It’s going to be a long 10 months.
Gould is a member of the class of 2014.