Review: ‘Better Call Saul’ Teaches Us Not to Call Grandmas ‘Bizznatch’

“You work for people who had sex with a chopped-off head?”

Finally, a show focused on the role model that I not only want, but need in my life.

James M. McGill is the lawyer you never wanted, but have always imagined. He doesn’t care if you’ve committed a crime or not, or even if he’s going to win or lose the case. He’s in it for the money.

But that’s because he has none.

Bob Odenkirk stars as James McGill, a struggling defense attorney, in AMC’s record-breaking new Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul. For most Breaking Bad fans who know Odenkirk’s character as Saul Goodman, this show covers his metamorphosis from Jimmy McGill, the lawyer riding on his brother’s coattails, into Saul Goodman, Heisenberg’s genius lawyer.

Let’s start with the prominent question on everyone’s mind: Is it as good as Breaking Bad?


Was it worth skipping the Grammy’s to watch the opening premiere?


Along with his funny, and possibly trying, transfiguration, we also catch black-and-white snapshots of Saul’s life after Breaking Bad. In fact, the show opened with a glimpse into the future: a slightly paranoid Saul Goodman living, cleaning, and closing a shopping mall Cinnabon, only to go home to watch VHS recordings of his lawyer commercials during his heyday.

Morose, right? The show is funny, though, with the first court case producing enough of the ridiculous to produce some audible laughs out of me.

“You can have all the danishes you want, Jimmy.”

But there’s another story going on in here: Jimmy’s older brother played by Michael McKean, is one of the partners of an enormous law firm.

And he’s sick.

It’s not clear yet what is going on with him, aside from the fact that he has a mental illness, but he’s been forced to take leave. He’s living with Jimmy in a house with no electricity, giving Jimmy “moral” advice and encouraging him to work as a public defender.

Jimmy, meanwhile, is working to get his brother’s rightful assets within the company against his brother’s wishes.

Chuck is sure he’s going back to work, while Saul is not so sure Chuck should work.

“They called him slippin’ Jimmy and everyone wanted to be his friend.”

To reiterate, if you’re a Breaking Bad fan, don’t go in with your expectations at Breaking Bad level. Watch it because you need something reminiscent of the first couple of episodes of Breaking Bad, or because you miss Mike Ehrmantraut (I know I did) and Tuco (I know I didn’t).

Watch it because you love Saul Goodman, even at his slippery and slimiest.

headshotSavannah Tanbusch is a senior journalism major and can be reached at

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