September 17, 2013
‘Breaking Bad’ finale is just the beginning: surviving Sept. 29
On Sept 29, 2013, TV will take a giant shit on everyone.
Sept. 29 will host series and season premieres, one historic series finale and a rousing day of Week 4 Sunday football. This could all get very messy if not approached with skill, grace, and above all, a plan. So I’ve prioritized your priorities for you:
Watch football. Easy. No schedule conflicts except for the Patriots @ Falcons game at 5:30 p.m. (PT), and if that’s your thing, then okay, I guess. Just know you have the power to free yourself from this prison – tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life.
Moving right along.
The Simpsons 25th season starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on FOX and apparently The Simpsons still has premieres? Tune in because watching an ancient, age-defying cartoon museum never hurt anyone. But more importantly, Bob’s Burgers premieres right after. These days 15 minutes late is considered 15 minutes early*, so pack your couch snacks ahead of time and keep you and your remote parked for the season 4 kickoff. Jon Benjamin, best known as the voice of Archer, is the patriarch of a delectable burger business family trying to make ends meat. Riding along through three seasons of sibling warfare and the tribulations of Competition Jimmy Pesto has made for what Todd VanDerWerff, TV editor at The Onion and regular contributor to A.V. Club, calls "routinely the show on television I look forward to the most." Bob’s Burgers was snuffed – snuffed! – at the Emmy’s last year when it garnered only nomination status in the Outstanding Animated Program category, but I’m holding out hope for 2013 as it’s on the ballot for a second time.
The night’s main attraction, ugly though it will be, is the series finale of phenomenally addictive Breaking Bad at 9 p.m. Those of us currently getting twisted through this colossal heart wrench are far from unaffected by AMC’s arguably most important product to date. We are bent if not broken entirely. Just as Skyler (Anna Gunn) venomously proclaims herself Walt’s (Bryan Cranston) hostage, we too are hostages living out the bitter, depraved conclusion of this New Mexican whirlwind. And despite our better judgments, we have to believe in a shred of hope at the end of the road despite Vince Gilligan driving full speed ahead toward a cliff of despair.
The hour-long finale will feel like the end of a civil war. A great, humbling civil war pitting wife against husband, student against mentor, sister against sister, son against father, self against self. There will be no winners, no glory. Just an Aztek-shaped hole burned into our souls.
I will be taking the 10-10:30 p.m. slot to light some candles, devour a pint of Snickers MAXX ice cream, hold my knees and rock back and forth. But those with stronger stomachs and blacker hearts can saunter right into the sexual clutches of Showtime’s new Masters of Sex premiering at 10 p.m. A tantalizing premise from many angles, the show stars Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen as sex researchers in the conservative 1950s. Sheen is pioneering the provocative movement as gyneocologist William Masters, the biography of whom the show is based. Think Kinsey meets Grey’s Anatomy held together by a strawberry-flavored condom wrapper. Though the kitsch is palpable and the staying power questionable, Masters of Sex looks good for rounding at least a few bases.
It may be that neither candle-lit ice cream nor sexy sciences will sound like strong enough antidotes for whatever merciless, final tricks Bad has in store. The escaping power of a laugh can never be overstated, so rest easy knowing you can opt for the comedic relief of Eastbound & Down on HBO, as MLB burnout Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) is back for a fourth and final season. The cult series turned longtime writing partners McBride and director Jody Hill into household names, but both are now ready to trade in the mullets for bigger and badder heists. We hate to see you leave, but we love to watch you go.
Following at 10:30 p.m. is the premiere of another new comedy attempt, HBO’s Hello Ladies starring Stephen Merchant. The awkward British lankster makes his rounds through the L.A. club scene trying his luck with dime-a-dozen beauties, and the show is guaranteed funny for at least 10 minutes. Merchant is best known for his work with Ricky Gervais, opinions of whom can be fairly polarizing, so it will be interesting to watch how Merchant handles, and is handled in, the spotlight switch.
*I need to double-check my sources, but this is the rule under which I’ve always operated and I apply the same rule to others. This may or may not be related to why dinner outings are always suspiciously scheduled for 4 p.m.
There are a handful of other big premiere players slated for Sept. 29. I’ve listed them below as a formality, save for ABC programming. Because, just, no.
The Good Wife — 9 p.m. on CBS
The legal/political drama has earned much praise with the critics and more than a handful of Emmy nods (and even a few wins) to show for it. So that’s nice.
The Mentalist — 10 p.m. on CBS
Do people watch this show?
Homeland — 9 p.m. on Showtime
This season 3 premiere is already making its rounds through the everyday pirate circles, so if you know what torrents are and how to attain them, you can still stick with my provided scheduling.
Family Guy — 9 p.m. on FOX
Do people watch this show?
Happy viewing, I’ll see you on the other side.