Ask Alison: Breaking Bad Is Not to Be Watched Alone

Good advice from someone who is terrible at dating

(High Bridge Productions/AMC)

My girlfriend and I watch Breaking Bad with separate groups of people. It’s never really been an issue until this last season. The last few weeks she keeps mentioning that I should watch the last episode with her and her friends so that we can share it together. Here’s the thing, though: I don’t like the group that she watches the show with. I mean, they’re all nice, likable people, but they talk through the entire show. I know for a fact that one of them is still doing a Jesse impression. Do I have suck it up and watch the show with them? Is this the dumbest question you've ever gotten?

Couples and their television rituals are a fascinating phenomenon, to me. It’s so weird because ideally, you’re sitting quietly, engrossed in a screen. Somehow that has become an ideal activity with your partner? I don’t know, man. I don’t get it. I've heard of couples getting into arguments about skipping ahead on Netflix shows or trying to agree on a show to watch together but this is kind of a new one.

The answer to both of your questions is no. No, this is not the dumbest question I've ever gotten because Breaking Bad is my favorite show, and I will take any and every opportunity to talk about it. I’ll try to avoid spoilers but really if you’re reading this and you’re not caught up, I don’t understand your life. Man that last episode, huh? That was crazy, the whole episode, just crazy. I want to see the process for how they got that baby to cry. That was great baby crying.

Breaking Bad has turned into one of those shows that you can’t watch alone. Or, at least I can’t. Finding a person or a group that fits your style is so important. If you like to talk a lot during the show (please know that you’re a monster, first of all), you’re going to need a group that is okay with that. In my opinion, you should save your bits and conversation for before or after the most intense hour of television. Take that behavior to Boardwalk Empire, you know?

From the way you phrased your question, it sounds like you’re not into chatter. I’m in your camp. If you’re not into talking and everyone at your girlfriend’s group talks, don’t go! You’ll be so mad and no one should watch the series finale of Breaking Bad angry. Honestly, if I had it my way we would watch the show in complete silence and then have an intense two-hour conversation afterwards. There would be no chip eating or bag rustling, either. Each person would be allowed one gasp and one laugh per show, to be used at their discretion. Apparently that’s “aggressively unrealistic,” “militant,” and “not fun” by my friends and I’m willing to accept the ruling of the group, even though they are wrong. I've turned into a shusher in the last few weeks, which is a tough identity to come to terms with but I guess I’m now the kind of person who will shush her friends if they talk during an intense television drama. I’m still dealing with the fact that I go to TV viewing parties, actually.

I know that for me, if I’m shushing people for asking, “Wait, what did he say?” or “Oh no, Hank!” there’s no way I’d be able to handle some dork saying “Pass me the salsa … bitch.” I might have to kill that guy. I’m not saying that’s reasonable, I’m just telling you what might happen. How can you control what happens when you blackout from rage?

If you’re looking for a way to get out of this without hurting your lady’s feelings, bring up something about loyalty to the group that you currently watch the show with. It’s probably true, right? I watch the show with a group of five or six people and I know that I would be hurt if one of them left to watch the show somewhere else. As I said earlier, I’m starting to become deeply lame. Maybe suggest re-watching the show with her, or watching it with her first? Above all else, steer clear of saying anything about her friends being annoying, even the one that does the Jesse impression (although she’s got to know that that guy is the worst).

If you were wondering, the dumbest question I've ever gotten was “I have a friend who is getting married and there’s no way that it’ll work, do I still have to get a gift?” The answer is don’t go. Don’t be a hater at someone’s wedding where they are trying to celebrate the decision to try and make a life—and presumably watch a lot of TV—together.

If you have questions about relationship etiquette, please send them to Ask Alison [at] The Atlantic [.com].