The Depressing Part of 'Better Call Saul' You Didn't Notice
Better Call Saul made TV history last Sunday by becoming the highest rated cable series debut ever, presumably because of the hundreds of millions of Mr. Show fans who set the entertainment industry's agenda every day. And it wasn't just humans that were excited for Saul, but corporations as well.
Less sticky too.
In the interest of bottling lightning, spiced goop purveyors Cinnabon got in on the fun and offered free Better Call Saul sticky buns to celebrate their franchise's cameo as the frosted rock bottom.
Heisenberg's mustache survived the shoot-out.
You see, in the opening scene of the pilot episode of Better Call Saul -- which is played like a Paxil-CR ad -- once-cheerful protagonist Saul Goodman is working the bun counter by day and drinking himself into oblivion by night. These are two activities the show presents as tonally equal in gut-punching bleakness. From there, Saul sits in one of those damp, alcoholic recliners and sadly recounts the glory days of yonder before life turned into a purgatorial muscle memory of serving dough to obese mall-goers.
In other words, this is a heartbreaking vision of personal failure that Cinnabon apparently saw as an opportunity for synergy. And hey, we're talking about them this very moment, so their marketing's working -- all at the expense of treating all the actual human beings who work at Cinnabon as the punchline of a joke.
"Cinnibon and Pump & Pantry!?! Best best-case scenario!"
That photo's from 2013, when Breaking Bad first used Cinnabon to express Saul's unfortunate life choices, and an actual manager from Omaha created a banner celebrating it. Because it's pretty darn hard to hate Breaking Bad, even when it's directly insulting you -- just like how it's hard for a city like Albuquerque to do anything but embrace its role in the show as a violent methscape walled off by desert burial sites.
"I am the one that frosts, haha! No, seriously, please save our city from economic ruin."
As a city suffering an economic slump, Breaking Bad was the best thing to happen to Albuquerque -- so long as the residents didn't get too pissed off with having their entire tourism strategy based around methamphetamines, violence, and a fake gravestone for Walter White (which caused tourists to trample an actual graveyard).
And spoiling it for the ghosts, that weren't caught up, like total dicks.
But all property damage and moral ambiguity didn't compare to when the city was forced to wean off their giant economic brouhaha after the series ended -- local businesses sucking the marrow of Walter White's memory like a starving chupacabra begging for a second meal. And they got one.
Better Call Saul has once more revived the city's tourism industry for at least another five or six years (possibly more if AMC decides to be dicks again) -- and local lawyers have already started embracing Saul's scumbucket persona for the sake of recognition
It was better than his last Hollywood tie-in attempt: "I'm Ron Bell. Go fuck yourself, Albuquerque."
Because no matter how much these shows debase businesses like Cinnabon or cities like Albuquerque and Omaha, the money is just too good to pass up. And so they sell out their own integrity and safety like a cash-hungry juvenile spiralling into crime for an easy buck -- making AMC and Breaking Bad powerful enablers to the desperation of businesses both big and small. It's an interesting dynamic between two entities that seems pretty comparable to the kind of toxic relationship you'd see in movies or a TV show, but we'll be damned if we can think of any examples ...
David's on Twitter and loves every second of it.
While you're here, also check out 5 Things Breaking Bad Left Out About Having A Drug Lord Dad and 5 Breaking Bad Actors Whose Early Roles Now Look Hilarious.