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One Great TV Ending Deserves Another – And Gets One, A New, Alternate Conclusion to ‘Breaking Bad’
November 17, 2013  | By David Bianculli  | 4 comments

The actual ending to AMC’s Breaking Bad was among the most satisfying in TV history. But now there’s an “official” alternate ending, alluding to the finest TV finale of all…

Available now on YouTube, and part of the upcoming Breaking Bad complete series DVD set, is an alternate ending in which Bryan Cranston, after wreaking havoc as meth manufacturer Walter White, wakes up in bed, realizing it was all a bad dream. He awakens as Hal, the sitcom character he played for six years on Fox’s Malcolm in the Middle – and sleeping next to him is his wife Lois, played, on that same 2000-06 series, by Jane Kaczmarek.

Hal tells Lois about his dream, which, in outline form, sounds ridiculous. A guy who spoke only by ringing a bell. A “man-child” who seemed to wear his older brother’s clothes. And he, himself, was a meth manufacturer and cold-blooded murderer.

“Go to sleep, Scarface,” Lois tells him, wearily.

Here’s the entire, very clever video:

[Editor's note: The Breaking Bad video is being pulled from, and just as quickly, reposted on YouTube. If our copy is again removed, trust me, it's hilarious, with Cranston slipping into his old role quite winningly, and with Kaczmarek shooting him down just as she used to on Malcolm in the Middle.  In that series, she was the one who knocked. - DB]

It is of course, a nod to the ending of CBS’s Newhart, the 1982-90 sitcom in which Bob Newhart played innkeeper Bob Loudon. At the end of the superb series finale, Dick was hit in the head by a golf ball and collapsed, unconscious. When he woke up, he was in bed – but in the familiar bedroom in which, as psychologist Bob Hartley, Newhart had starred on CBS’s The Bob Newhart Show from 1972-78.

And after he woke up, he woke up his wife from that previous series, Suzanne Pleshette’s Emily – whose emergence, from under the covers, caused the Newhart studio audience to scream with delight. In the pre-Internet days, this surprise appearance had been kept totally under wraps, and provided them, and viewers at home, with the most perfect TV series ending ever written. Here it is:

The Breaking Bad team obviously recalled it just as fondly, and managed to film Cranston and Kaczmarek in an obvious homage, with just as much secrecy.

Which means when Breaking Bad concluded, it did more than just give us an excellent ending to one of television’s finest series.

It gave us two.

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As Bob Dylan might put it: teleliterate on teleliterate.
Dec 31, 2013   |  Reply
yo, b! this is freakin' hilarious.

a testament to cranston's abilities between drama and comedy: in this vignette, he easily slipped back into hal just as easily as he embodied walter white/heisenberg. enjoyed cranston as hal and white..................nice reference to underwear as white and hal..........
Nov 19, 2013   |  Reply
This is fantastic! But let's not forget, 'Newhart' was parodying the infamous 'Dallas' dream season before that. Gotta give props to the original dream maker!
Nov 18, 2013   |  Reply
Funny seeing Lisa Kudrow in a bit part, years before Friends.
Nov 17, 2013   |  Reply
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