Our friends are now sorted into two camps: Those who watch “Breaking Bad” and those who don’t.
Before the recent season-opening episode news that we are planning to move to Belize was met by a whole range of reactions – mostly curious, supportive. Some nod wistfully and wish they could be moving there too. Some cautiously ask, “Have you really thought this through?” (We have.) Those who have been to Belize are unreserved in their praise for the little coastal country. Best. Vacation. Ever.
But ever since Saul suggested that meth kingpin/school teacher Walt should send his brother-in-law/DEA agent Hank on a trip to Belize the reaction to our upcoming, well, “trip to Belize” has been kind of interesting.
Those who watch the show understand all too well that Saul was employing a dual-edged linguistic dig into Walt’s ribs. It is a nifty sounding metaphor for offing Hank and maybe burying him in a shallow desert grave. On the other, Hank has apparently been claiming that another inconvenient character had fled to Belize, something apparently nobody believes — and I think Saul is kind of letting him know that.
I say “apparently” and “I think” because I’ve never seen “Breaking Bad.” Nor has Rose, although this week she watched the first half-hour of the very first episode on Netflix, just because so many friends are now associating our move to Belize with the show. She thinks she could get into it.
Me, I’m still not certain I want to invest the time.
But thanks to the recent episode, I’m now aware of how many people do watch “Breaking Bad.” I’d say, scientifically, it is a hell of a lot.
In a weird way I feel like a Level C celebrity, now that “Breaking Bad” has invested Belize with a cache of lethal coolness. I mean, we were talking about Belize long before “Breaking Bad” was, dude.
I think that — cooler than the “Breaking Bad” reference – is the way the Belize Tourism Board has responded to the suddenly – if fleetingly – hip expression. First, they get that it is a TV show. Second, they get that any publicity on television is worth a thousand tourism trade shows and a million newspaper stories.
So the government agency did the only possible thing it could do: It got on board with the show and invited the cast to get in bed with Belize. They turned “Breaking Bad” into “Breaking Good” for Belize.
The tourism folks, who claim to be fans of the show, have invited the cast on an actual trip to Belize once the show ends.
“We figure you will all need a little time to relax after a riveting season and, if you ask us, there’s no better place to relax than Belize,” writes the tourism board in an open letter to “Breaking Bad.”
They also have cleverly provided some vacation suggestions, keyed to the nature of each character: “… we have the Blue Hole for Walt, purple fish for Marie, geology for Hank, great music and friendly people for Jesse, delicious breakfast cuisine for Walt Jr., several nice locations to swim for Skylar, colorful clothing for Saul …”
The invite has gone crazy on media around the world, maybe even crazier than the show itself.
Hey, look at me, I’m writing about it and I’ve never even seen a commercial for “Breaking Bad.” Although if the cast does show up in Belize sometime in the future I’ll be the first to buy them a round of Belikin beers at Crazy Canucks or a Pantiripa at the Rum Cigar & Coffee House.
We should be right at home by then.