If you have read any of the completely off-topic posts that I’ve done here on Zoulogy or follow me on Twitter, chances are good that you know I have a huge addiction to ‘Breaking Bad,’ AMC’s brilliant crime drama about a bumbling chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, leading him to start cooking the finest meth in Albuquerque in order to make a little nest egg for his pregnant wife and disabled son before he passes on. The show has slowly gotten bigger and better with each passing season, and the third season of ‘Breaking Bad’ provided arguably one of the finest years ever for a television drama. Vince Gilligan’s concoction of family drama, high-octane action, ruthless villains, and character transformations have made for one of the best shows on TV today.
One of the biggest triumphs for the show are its characters. While the first season mostly focused on Walter White and his drug-addled associate, Jesse Pinkman, the show slowly began to develop and focus on the talented cast surrounding Bryan Cranston, just another factor into what has made ‘Breaking Bad’ get better as it has moved from season to season.
So, in order to properly mix what this site is about (your Missouri Tigers) and what I really want to discuss while there are no Missouri Tiger sports currently being played (Breaking Bad), I present to you an obligatory series of posts comparing characters from ‘Breaking Bad’ to a player on the Missouri Tiger basketball team. Although this may fit with the common knowledge that I usually like to discuss basketball more than football, also keep in mind that basketball is usually great for fun posts like this since the roster is better suited for comparing to a TV show with a tight cast (around 9 main characters) as opposed to the Missouri football roster that has a much bigger roster and thus has more people to compare to the cast itself. In the end, it all makes sense, even though the subject matter is really silly.
For our first installment, I compare Missouri senior guard and ruthlessly efficient shooter Marcus Denmon to an equally ruthless assassin that makes a name for himself in Season 3 of ‘Breaking Bad.’
It’s all after the jump, and there may be minor spoilers, so don’t read if you really want to get into ‘Breaking Bad,’ which I suggest you should do.
Marcus Denmon – Mike the Cleaner
“No more half measures.” – Mike
Mike the Cleaner (usually just referred to as Mike) is a straight man that does a nice little mix of espionage, dirty work, and (of course) cleaning for Walter’s dirty lawyer, Saul Goodman. He appears at the end of Season 2 to clean up a bit of a mess that Jesse Pinkman has gotten himself into. Mike is a no-nonsense type of cleaner, and he gives his brief but invaluable advice to Jesse in a matter-of-fact manner before leaving just as inconspicuously has he had arrived.
Mike’s mysterious persona, and his role in Saul’s business as well as that of drug lord Gus Fring, become clearer as he makes more appearances in Season 3, doing such things as wire tapping Walt’s home, observing a pair of Mexican drug cartel assassins from a safe distance, and later becoming involved in some cleaning that involves eliminating people with a silenced weapon rather than what you might find on an everyday janitor.
Mike is good at what he does, and he always does it with that same placid look on his face, whether he’s covering up a drug overdose scene or infiltrating a rival drug-supply headquarters. He’s ruthlessly efficient, undeniably effective, and does a great job at making his personal life and professional life completely separate; in the final episode of Season 3, we see him as the sweet grandpa accepting balloons from his granddaughter in one scene, and in the next he’s using those balloons to kill the power on security cameras before infiltrating a building.
Marcus Denmon is essentially a silent assassin “cleaner” on the basketball court. He’s an enigma personally, usually maintaining a look of calm determination when dribbling that orange ball up the court. Although he is considered one of the leaders on the team, he never seems to overtly demand the ball; instead, he lets the ball come to him, and he usually takes carefully selected shots that are safer and easier to make than something like a contested, fadeaway three-pointer. As a result, his percentages are outstanding, although the number of shots taken leaves something to be desired. Denmon always seems to end a game with more points than one would expect, a quiet 17-to-25 points, sometimes even more than that. All the while he does the dirty work; he seems more like a behind-the-scenes guy than one would expect of a team’s leading scorer. Marcus Denmon is the quintessential cleaner, and few people actually realize it, and that’s exactly what a cleaner is supposed to do.
In a similar manner to Mike from ‘Breaking Bad,’ Denmon has had his share of experiences with the wrong side of the law, although Denmon himself isn’t a criminal (as far as we can possibly know). Growing up in the harsher part of Kansas City, Marcus has had to deal with things like abandonment and loss, including the loss of a cousin and dear friend last year. The experiences have left a protective shell that sometimes masks all emotions from Denmon’s face, makes him look like someone who has seen too much and doesn’t wish for those things to turn him into something bad.
Just like Mike’s experiences with a constantly repeating call to the same house and the same incident of a bad man beating his wife while he was in the police force, Denmon has had to deal with experiences that no man should ever have to deal with. That said, Denmon’s experiences, and the influential people in his life such as his grandmother, who raised him the right way when he was a child, have managed to shape him into a good person, one who manages to balance school with basketball, one who managed to stay away from the harsh street life of Kansas City when it has taken so many others into its dark passages. Although Marcus Denmon has had to go through some bad times that nobody should ever have to go through, he has managed to come out the other end as a better person, and that’s definitely something to cheer about.
Mike the Cleaner and Marcus Denmon simply good at what they do, and they are deservedly the biggest badasses on their respective show and basketball team. Viva la Marcus, and Viva la Mike!
I now shall treat you to Mike the Cleaner’s best moment (outside of a speech in the episode “Half Measures” that is too spoiler-y for even myself to post) so far on ‘Breaking Bad.’ It’s that infiltration sequence, and it’s really awesome. Minor spoilers for those who want don’t want to be spoiled anything as they go through the show, but otherwise enjoy!