Breaking Hal: The 2 Best In-Car Freakouts in TV History?By: Lea Leonard - August 13, 2013
Freak outs are fun to watch. Anyone who’s been by a television can tell you that. Reality shows, television series and even commercials are all simply “peppered” with them. By why do we like to watch? Why is it so awesome to watch another human being completely lose their mind?
Actor, Bryan Cranston, is a perfect example of why, in fact, we like to watch. He’s an actor with incredible versatility. He’s funny and scary and even sometimes a little of both; this is especially evident when we get to watch him freak out.
As “Hal Wilkerson,” in the television comedy “Malcolm in the Middle,” Cranston plays a perpetually poverty-stricken, quirky, father of four very troublesome teenage boys. He’s a white-collar worker married to an utterly exhausted, drug store clerk named “Lois,” played by actress Jane Kaczmarek. In one episode, Hal receives news from Lois that he is about to become a father for the fifth time. The amiable husband assures his wife that he is ecstatic about the new arrival. He retreats to his car for some entertainment “gold.”
Breaking Bad’s “Walter White,” also played by Cranston, of course, is seemingly a stark contrast to Hal Wilkerson. His in-car freak out could be best characterized as a kind of similar cathartic “emission.” A former chemistry teacher, White’s character becomes a ruthless meth dealing drug kingpin named “Heisenberg” whose anger reaches a boiling point. He has no other outlet but to release his frustrations alone in his car. Again, the outburst is mesmerizing and audiences watch because they simply cannot turn away.
Anyone of us could be funny, scary, and maybe a little of both just like Cranston’s characters. In a post-modernist world that places us is such close proximity to each other, perhaps, in a similar fashion, we all could use a little in-car freak out too.