In my universe, Walter White is still a nice guy. But this nice guy is a high school science teacher who has just realized he must choose between being at the hospital for the birth of his daughter or set up the biggest drug score in his life.
Yes, I am THAT far behind in watching "Breaking Bad."
This outstanding program concludes its five-season run tonight, with characters' lives in the balance and Jesse debating the merits of his horrifying existence. (As one of my colleagues puts it, "With all Jesse has seen, and all the deaths, why would he want to live?") By this time Monday, there will be thousands of tweets, hundreds of blog posts, recaps on top of recaps, all peppering the Internet.
Stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have been on numerous magazine covers, including a bloody mess of a photo shoot for Entertainment Weekly a few weeks back.
In terms of actual viewership, "Breaking Bad" has never been what you'd call a hit. It averaged between 1.23 and 1.52 million viewers per episode during the first few seasons and 2.59 million this year -- but up to 6.6 million for last week's penultimate episode -- as the series hurtles to what I am certain will be a stunning finale.
There is SO much to discuss, and it will be discussed, and I'll be running around with my fingers stuck into my ears, like some child whooping nah nah nah nah nah.
This is my own fault. As I am a devotee of quirky shows, "Breaking Bad" should have been a natural for me when it first aired. But there are only so many TV hours in a week -- I DO have some semblance of a real life -- and just never got around to it.
Even when iTunes offered the first season early on for $9.99 and my colleague Rob Owen insisted it was a great show, I passed.
Even when, about two years ago, I did watch the entire first season on a train trip from New York City and loved, loved it, I figured I had a year or so to get up to speed with a few binge-watching weekends.
It never happened, despite the fact I still love, love it.
My little neck of the woods at the office is going to be talking about the finale Monday morning the way you might share tidbits from some great party. It's not so much I'm afraid of spoilers (although I am not a fan of them), because at this point, I have already gleaned all that "I'm the one who knocks" stuff.
I just hate being out of the loop. I want to go to the dance. One of the great things about current television is, if you stick with quality shows, you get to host a "Lost" finale party or argue with friends about why "Mad Men's" Don Draper is turning into such a loser dinosaur.
Yes, it's silly, but it's fun. It's also an appreciation for the show's creator, Vince Gilligan, spiritual godfather to Walter White. As Mr. Cranston has pointed out, Walt is the rare creature who begins as one thing and winds up an entirely different kind of cat by the time he's done.
Will Walt be done? Or just done in?
It's entirely possible spoilers cannot be avoided, that the end game will be revealed. What, I'm going to stay off the Internet for a few months?
Nonetheless, there is a silver lining. While my colleagues have enjoyed a feast over the years, I still have three whole seasons in the digital fridge.
Maria Sciullo: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG. First Published September 29, 2013 4:00 AM