Nothing on television even came close to having such an impact on me, that is, until I started watching Breaking Bad.
If you’ve never seen an episode of Breaking Bad, the premise sounds like one of the dumbest shows of all time. Walter White played by Bryan Cranston (the dad from Malcolm in the Middle) is a 50-year-old depressed high school science teacher who is diagnosed with cancer. Naturally he teams up with a former student who is addicted to crystal meth and the two begin manufacturing the debilitating drug. Walter’s life gets turned upside down and he becomes a completely different person by the end of the series, which just wrapped up last Sunday.
As I watched the series finale of Breaking Bad, the small #BreakingBad logo on the screen reminded me that I was just a click away from connecting with a community of people who were all living the same experience as me. Even if I couldn’t sit in a room surrounded by friends and family, I could still be part of something bigger.
I love watching as complex stories unfold and deep secrets are revealed, but even more important is being able to connect with people who share my experience. Even when I am watching a recorded episode at 1 a.m., I can still find someone who is ready to share that experience.
Although Walter White’s story is over, his impact will live on. Between the memes on Facebook, the fake Twitter accounts for Breaking Bad characters, and the thousands of fans who will never forget his story, White’s legacy will not be forgotten.
The Wire and Breaking Bad are just two shows out of thousands that have been popularized over the course of my life, but every person has a show or topic that interests them the way The Wire and Breaking Bad kept me captivated. The great thing is that with how popular Twitter and Facebook hashtags have gotten, you are only one message away from discussing any show you want with thousands of interested viewers who share your passion.
Social media has changed how we watch television - whether it’s on your DVR, Netflix, Hulu or some other medium – TV has become a truly community experience. This isn’t a fad or an experience that’s likely to change in the near future, but will only get better. Sit back and enjoy the show.