Fan Flamed for Making the Case That Bryan Cranston Should Stick to Comedic Roles

Walter White wasn’t intimidating enough for one ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ fan’s taste
Fan Flamed for Making the Case That Bryan Cranston Should Stick to Comedic Roles

When Bryan Cranston said, “I am the one who knocks,” some Malcolm in the Middle fans just wanted to reply, “Who’s there?”

Looking at the history of comedic-actor-turned-dramatic-powerhouse, few, if any, television performers have followed that career path better than Cranston. After catching America’s attention with hilarious sitcom supporting roles like his performance as Tim Whatley on Seinfeld, Cranston knocked his big break out of the park playing the put-upon patriarch Hal Wilkerson on Malcolm in the Middle. Then, less than two years after the incredible Malcolm in the Middle series finale, Breaking Bad and the role of meth-master Walter White catapulted Cranston into the top tier of dramatic TV actors, earning him six Emmys in the process. Most Cranston fans who fell in love with his work on Malcolm in the Middle celebrated his ascendancy to serious star – but not all of them.

A recent Reddit post sparked heated discussion over Cranston’s career when user neon-nitemarez posted their explanation for why “Bryan Cranston Isn't an Upper Echelon Actor.” Their reasoning – Walter White wasn’t an Alpha Male. 

“I want to start by saying I am a big fan of Bryan Cranston. While I experienced his appearances on Seinfeld and enjoyed him on them, I didn't become a true fan of his until he portrayed Hal on Malcolm in the Middle,” neon-nitemarez began, “The energy and commitment Bryan Cranston had to conjure up to play Hal is on a level higher than any other actor has had to strive for on a comedic level. I think Michael Richards portraying Kramer on Seinfeld is multiple levels beneath what Bryan Cranston did for Hal. That being comes the Unpopular Opinion that hurts me to type, but has been something I've wanted to express for awhile.....”

“Bryan Cranston is not a good actor in a villain role.” The Redditor cited Cranston’s celebrated work on Breaking Bad, as well as his appearances on other projects like Sneaky Pete and Argylle as proof that Cranston isn’t a good arch actor. According to neon-nitemarez, the problem with Cranston’s more nefarious performances is simple – “BRYAN CRANSTON CANNOT PORTRAY A BADASS.” They posited, “He can act and talk as mean as he wants, but Bryan Cranston will never have that thing that sparks fear in regular men let alone top of the food chain Males.”

Very quickly, Cranston defenders jumped on the post with interrogations into what exactly “top of the food chain Males” means, with one user wondering of the phrase, “Is this his way of trying not to say ‘alpha males’? He sounds like a teenager.”

Another Redditor pointed out that, despite OP’s insistence that all villainy comes from sheer masculine domination, “Walter White isn't a badass and isn't supposed to be.... He's purposefully pathetic.” Others agreed, explaining how Walter White’s arc was such compelling television specifically because he begins the series as a mild-mannered, unassuming and certainly unintimidating “beta male” who learns to use his intellect to beat out his more imposing adversaries.

Furthermore, some Malcolm in the Middle fans questioned why his comedic performances aren’t Upper-Echelon, with one imploring, “Watch the scene where Lois brings home a large pizza after the boys secretly just finished one and tell me that’s not some of the finest comedic acting you’ve ever seen.”

There’s certainly an argument to be made that Cranston is at his best when he’s performing comedically, and that his projects since Breaking Bad haven’t properly utilized that side of his artistry. Even as Walter White, part of why Cranston’s performance was so beloved was that he had the ability to be a stone cold killer in one scene and an awkward, bumbling stiff in the next one. However, that’s not the point that was discussed by Reddit yesterday – instead, OP got roasted for thinking that Breaking Bad was supposed to be about “top of the food chain Males.”

As one user quipped, “You’re goddamn wrong.


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