December 9, 2013

"Anna Gunn, my wife on 'Breaking Bad,' gave me a beautiful hardcover of 'The Dangerous Book for Boys.'"

"A perfect book to flip through to get back in touch with the little boy within. It inspired me to create a concept for a TV show. . . . Stay tuned," says Bryan Cranston, answering questions about books in the NYT Sunday Book Review.

As Meade and I approach the last few episodes of the series — which we've been catching up on at a rate of about 1 episode a day — I'm glad to see Bryan Cranston has a new show in the works. Here's the whole series on Blu-Ray and here's "The Dangerous Book for Boys." I wonder how the "Dangerous Book for Boys" idea became a new TV show. Is it a show for boys (and girls) or is it for adults finding their inner little boy?

I take it Anna Gunn must have thought that Cranston's "Breaking Bad" character was getting back in touch with the little boy within, that it was an actor giving another actor a resource for understanding the character. How does a woman feel when she finds her husband getting back in touch with the little boy within? It may have been Gunn's way of saying: This is how my character sees you, in pursuit of a boyish need for danger. Perhaps Cranston's new-show idea has something to do with the way this need can be repurposed in a positive and productive way in adult manhood. The Walter White character hurls himself out into a quest for manhood that is horrifically destructive. As Cranston puts it in the interview at the top link: "The depth of this tragic story made it feel like the character reached Shakespearean level."

What if it were not a tragedy but a comedy? That's my guess at what the new TV idea is. By the way, I just discovered yesterday, that Cranston was Tim Whatley, the dentist character on "Seinfeld."

28 comments:

Broomhandle said...

I doubt she put that much thought into it. Anna Gunn is the most beautiful woman on television by a country mile.

EMD said...

TDBFB is awesome. I bought it for my son when he was 8.

Will said...

Don't forget that Cranston was the dad on "Malcolm in the Middle", and he was awesome in that role.

EDH said...

It may have been Gunn's way of saying: This is how my character sees you, in pursuit of a boyish need for danger... The Walter White character hurls himself out into a quest for manhood that is horrifically destructive. As Cranston puts it in the interview at the top link: "The depth of this tragic story made it feel like the character reached Shakespearean level."

What if it were not a tragedy but a comedy?


So, Althouse finds our self-destructive quest to get "back in touch with the little boy within" amusing?

You antidentite bastard!

Amexpat said...

By the way, I just discovered yesterday, that Cranston was Tim Whatley, the dentist character on "Seinfeld."

What a difference a full head of hair makes.

Ann Althouse said...

"Anna Gunn is the most beautiful woman on television by a country mile."

Wow. I'm 50 episodes into the series and it never once crossed my mind to think of her as beautiful.

I guess a question is: Who else is on TV?

Ann Althouse said...

"Don't forget that Cranston was the dad on "Malcolm in the Middle", and he was awesome in that role."

Yeah, I saw that at IMDB, but I'd never seen that show. Seinfeld, I watched.

Kit Carson said...

Bryan Cranston was also in Babylon 5.

It was a 5 year long show with a continuous plot. Cranston was only on screen for about 10 minutes or so.

But those 10 minutes,focused on him, included some of the most memorable scenes of the entire series,sort of "impossible to forget." This was when he was a nobody, years before Malcolm in the Middle.

chrisnavin.com said...

I hope that book comes with a helmet, non-gender specific illustrations and an empathy workbook.

F**k. I've been in Seattle too long.

Jimmy said...

So what is thisDangerous Book for Boys a guide to relationships with females?

mrs. e said...

Maybe she saw Cranston as kind of a brother - my husband gave this to his brother with a young son. They're still having a lot of fun with it.

Mike said...

Nice work, EDH! Loved that Seinfeld ep. Great riffs on antisemitism wrapped in a funny little show about nothing.

Mike said...

I think Gail Simmons on Top Chef is the most beautiful woman on TV. She's a judge and is so naturally gorgeous she isn't even upstaged by hostess/supermodel Padma Lakshi.

So there.

Carl Pham said...

Good heavens, my boys don't need a book to get in touch with their nature. A stick that can be used to whack a weed, poke a yellowjacket's nest, or fence with your brother will do that very well. Or a faceplant into the mud while attempting a leap across a brook slightly beyond your strength, on an expedition the details of which we will not fully share with mom when we get home.

I don't think boys need books on being boys. They're amazingly inventive about that all on their own. They may need to spend more time with dad, and dad may need to be less afraid of what mom (or momma's boys among his adult colleagues) will say about that God-damned mess, or the collection of bruises on young shins, and maybe mom needs to suck it up a bit from time to time, and realize if she wanted a really safe partner and progeny she should've gone to Japan and bought one of those boyfriend pillows and a nice Asimo robot to fetch the mail and make her tea.

Larry J said...

There's already a TV series that's similar to the ideas in "The Dangerous Book for Boys." It's called "Mythbusters" and it's a great show. Perhaps he's thinking of creating a similar show based on things in the book.

Mike said...

Cranston was OUTSTANDING as Hal on Malcolm in the Middle. The learning to rollerblade episode is a classic. (Cranston is multi-talented!) He has a gift for physical comedy as well as the serious shit he rolled out on BB.

Ctmom4 said...

I liked Cranston in Malcolm In The Middle. I was late to the Breaking Bad parade, and started out as a sceptic, but he really blew me away. What an amazing talent! The whole cast was remarkable, really. And, I never thought of Anna Gunn as beautiful, either. Maybe because I couldn't stand her character? I thought she was appropriately matronly.

Ann Althouse said...

Anna Gunn is distinctively big boned. She represents the largeness of women. The theme of the whole series was Walter White finding his manhood, so it was important to have a woman of maternal imposingness to challenge him.

Tibore said...

"Carl Pham said...
Good heavens, my boys don't need a book to get in touch with their nature...

... I don't think boys need books on being boys. They're amazingly inventive about that all on their own."


Isn't that the point, though? A book disguised as being for kids when it's best audience is the grown up who's lost touch of that side?

Freeman Hunt said...

The British edition of The Dangerous Book includes the rules for conkers and cricket.

eddie willers said...

If most beautiful woman on TV is a mixture of beauty and brains.....Megyn Kelly by a mile.

ALP said...

Congrats on getting through Breaking Bad - although how you manage only one episode per day is truly amazing. I don't have the patience and need to know what happens next asap. But then...I don't have the responsibilities of a professor.

IMHO actors like Bryan Cranston are at the top of the entertainment heap - those that can do comedy and tragedy equally well. Truly gifted artists.

The Drill SGT said...

Ann Althouse said...
Anna Gunn is distinctively big boned. She represents the largeness of women


There are some Viking genes in her background. She's 70 inches tall and I can see her in Brunhilda braids :)

Broomhandle said...

The theme of the series is the corrosiveness of evil and moral equivocation. Walt doesn't grow into manhood, rather his humanity is slowly eaten away.
Big-boned, schmig-boned. She is a stone, mellow, knock-out. Love the scene where Saul says what I was thinking since the beginning of the show.

Deb said...

Anna Gunn's character's appearance seemed to change as the show progressed, I thought. In the later episodes I thought Skylar was being played by a different actress. She seemed more in the later episodes.

P.S. There's also a Dangerous Book for Girls

Ron said...

Christina Hendricks has forgotten more about being beautiful than Anna Gunn has ever known.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Cranston is a brilliant comedic actor, which is apparently considered much more difficult than being a dramatic actor. He channeled such pure silliness on Malcolm that it was a genuine shock to see him as Walter on BB.

Malcolm was a real sleeper, a witty adult comedy disguised as a dumb adolescent comedy.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Anna Gunn is pretty (at least with professional makeup - I maintain Madison streets are full of women, sans makeup, just as or more beautiful than Hollywood offers), but I'm more of a fan of Hank's wife.