Other than Patriots football, I don't really watch all that much TV. I'll catch the occasional Seinfeld rerun before bed sometimes, and when I was kid I couldn't get enough Nickelodeon (I can name every single episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark, and I'm damn proud of it), but nowadays I just don't invest much of my time into TV shows. I love movies, and I love being lazy, but I feel like watching TV in this day and age is a pretty big commitment and gone are the days when you were allowed to miss a few episodes of a show here and there.
So when it came to the attention of my friends that I had never seen Breaking Bad, I was immediately reprimanded and told to start Netflixing (is that a verb yet? If we did it with Google, we can do it with Netflix!) the show immediately. I absolutely LOVED The Wire - the last series I watched in its entirety - and the comparisons between the two shows were abundant. I figured I may as well see what all the fuss is about, and every single person on the planet can't be wrong, so I decided to hunker down and get with the times.
I watched the first few episodes, and I was incredibly underwhelmed. I said as much to my friends, to which they replied, "Give it a few seasons. "It gets soooo good after the first two seasons!" I opted not to make a remark about how I don't think I should have to invest two full seasons in a television show before I start getting any kind of tangible return (shouldn't the greatest show of all time be good right from the getgo?) and forged ahead. I watched all of season one. Then season two. Then three, four, and five.
And then, just like that, it was over.
The final episode finished, I turned off my TV, I got up from the couch, and I got back to my life. And up until now, I haven't really thought about Breaking Bad since.
I didn't dislike the show at all; there were some tense moments, and some funny ones, and I have definitely sat through significantly worse programs than this one. But I didn't love it. It didn't suck me in at all. I thought it was a little slow. I didn't care about any of the characters. I never got invested in the plot. I didn't marathon the show back-to-back-to-back. It didn't change my life, alter my reality, or anything like that. It was a television show that I watched, mildly enjoyed, and that's pretty much all there is to it.
When I finally finished (the whole series took about four months to get through, another major sticking point for a lot of people) and people asked me what I thought, I was reluctant to tell the truth. What would the response be when all I said was, "it was OK"? But I have never been one to conform to societal expectations, and I wasn't about to suddenly start. So I stood up straight, shrugged my shoulders, and said, "It was pretty good. I didn't love it, but it was alright, I guess."
The reactions were, for the most part, exactly what I expected. Shock. Horror. Disbelief. Adamant refusals to acknowledge that I didn't absolutely love the show. Strong questioning of my intelligence, my grip on reality, my personal taste, my ability to "appreciate pure art," my value as a human being, and pretty much anything else that would serve as the reasoning why I wasn't completely obsessed with the singular greatest event this planet has ever seen. Some people got legitimately angry with me and brusquely changed the subject. Sentences like "Just shut up," "you have no idea what you're talking about," and "I had no idea that you were such an idiot" became part of my day-to-day life. When I attempted the response, "it's just a TV show," I felt like Harry trying to tell Lloyd that you can't triple stamp a double stamp. It just wasn't possible that somebody exists who didn't really care for the show, and that was that. Nobody has brought it up in my presence since, and to this day I have never met anybody who has seen Breaking Bad in its entirety and shares my sentiments. I have now apparently lost any and all credibility to recommend anything to anyone else for the rest of history and must stand alone as the only person who watched all five seasons of Breaking Bad and thought it was kind of dull.
Why do I bring this up now? Why am I outing myself as Breaking Bad-indifferent to the whole world, putting myself at risk for yet another absolute onslaught of abuse and countless variations of "you're completely nuts" comments? Is it some desperate ploy to find somebody, anybody, who feels the same I way I do?
But more than anything, it's because I feel like I may once again be in the vast, vast minority in my opinion that I'm not too keen on the idea of a Super Bowl being played at Gillette Stadium.
With this past Super Bowl taking place outdoors in New York, there has been a fair amount of talk regarding other cold weather cities putting in a bid in the not-too-distant future. Among them, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston have stood out as top candidates to be the next cold weather host city.
After initially hearing the news, and after reading this article on Boston.com, I have been both a participant in and observer of a large number of conversations regarding the idea of another cold weather Super Bowl, and so far everyone I have talked to is over the moon about it. The potential storylines that could potentially surround a Foxboro Super Bowl are as plentiful as they are intriguing. The possibility of the Patriots as the home team playing in the game. The symbolism behind what was one of the most inept franchises in NFL history now playing host to the league's biggest game. Another Super Bowl in which both teams are at the mercy of Mother Nature. The opportunity for another quarterback to come into Tom Brady's house as he marches towards greatness. I could go on all day about all the reasons why Foxboro hosting a Super Bowl would, to many be a dream come true.
However, I simply don't share everyone's enthusiasm. Obviously, there is a part of me that would love to see the NFL's biggest game at The Razor, and the prospect of Tommy B (assuming it happens within the next few years) running out of the tunnel in the north endzone as he plays in at least his sixth Super Bowl gets me all tingly. However, if I take a step back and examine the game from the standpoint of football fan first, Pats fan second, I just can't fully get behind it.
For one thing, anyone who has ever been to a Pats game will tell you that getting to and from the stadium is an absolute nightmare. Route 1 in Foxboro is the 21st century equivalent of two dirt ruts in an overgrown field, and no matter which direction you're coming from, you're going to have to navigate several miles of bumper to bumper traffic, sporadic traffic lights, degenerates walking to the game on foot, and traffic cops. Some of the satellite lots are over a mile away, and I'd wager that the hefty parking fees you usually see for Pats home games will be absolutely through the roof for the Super Bowl. To be honest, the idea of trying to drive both to and from a Super Bowl played at Gillette Stadium sounds like the opening scene of a nightmare in which I have tickets to a game that the Patriots win but I never get there because of traffic, only to suddenly realize I'm in my underwear and if I had made it to the game I would have had a seat next to Mila Kunis. If this past Super Bowl was played at Gillette, there would still be cars in the parking lot trying to get home.
To be fair, Gillette does offer party trains that leave from Boston South Station and TF Green Airport, making multiple stops along the way. However, even on regular game days, these trains are packed to the brim with fans who start hydrating the second they get on board, putting a tremendous amount of strain on the patience of the conductors, the various parents foolish enough to bring their children on the train, and the very limited on-board restrooms. Furthermore, based on what happened after this most recent Super Bowl, taking the train to and from the game may not be the best option. It's easy to say that the MBTA could run multiple trains, but as of now they just don't have the infrastructure to make it happen.
Secondly, there is very little going on the immediate Foxboro area in terms of accommodations. There is a Ranaissance Hotel located directly next to the stadium (which charges upwards of $500 per night on home game weekends; I don't even want to know what renting a room for the Super Bowl would cost), a fleabag motel called The Endzone Motor Inn, and that's pretty much it. If you're looking to stay somewhere where there is a little more going on, you're limited to either Providence or Boston. Sure, you could bed down at one of the Super 8 Motels peppered along I-95, but doing so limits what you can do during the days leading up to the game immensely; unless the town of North Attleboro suddenly decides to take my advice and start up the Aaron Hernandez Murder Tour, there isn't all that much to do within the 50 miles between cities.
And along those lines, neither Boston nor Providence have the best reputations as party cities. Both shut down at 2 AM. Cabs are increasingly hard to get. There are no public transportation systems that run all night. And as someone who went to college in the Providence area and spent way more time in Boston than I'm willing to admit, trust me when I say that both cities already have PLENTY of loud, obnoxious, overbearing drunkards without needing to import them from elsewhere. Going to the Super Bowl isn't just about overpaying for a ticket and watching a football game; it's a whole experience. Parties at different bars and clubs, multiple league-sponsored events ... there is more to the Super Bowl than the game itself. I spoke to several non-football fans over the past few weeks who didn't even know that New York was hosting this year, and I feel like everyone living in a host city should know - for better or worse - that there is a big game in town.
On the plus side, getting a Super Bowl bid just might be the kick in the pants the state of Massachussetts needs to make Gillette Stadium a little bit more fan friendly. There would obviously be several years of advance notice, which is plenty of time to expand roads, lay a few more train tracks, and change those damn Mass Blue Laws. However, as things stand right now, from an objective and logistics standpoint, I think there are better cold weather outdoor venues that would make more sense for hosting the game.
And much like the people who immediately lost all respect for me when they found out I wasn't gaga over Breaking Bad virtually screamed in my ear, "if you don't like it, then don't watch it!", I'm sure there are plenty who will now make the case that I don't have to attend the Super Bowl or go anywhere near it, so maybe I should just shut the hell up already. And to those people, I say fair point. But the way I see it, unless some big changes come down the pike significantly faster than the average rate of traffic heading to a Patriots game, people everywhere are going to leave that game with yet another reason to hate this franchise.
Is this article a little random? Perhaps. But hey...it's the offseason. We're still a few weeks out from the combine, it's too early to start mock drafting, and we're still close enough to the fallout from this most recent Super Bowl so that the subject is still relevant. So why not, I say. It was this little rant or get some actual work done, and you know that wasn't happening.