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Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston Called Out Bob Odenkirk For Not Watching The Show Before He Was Cast

Everyone has their own lists of favorite TV shows, but bring enough people together with their lists, and two particular AMC sibling shows are bound to appear in quite a few of them. Vince Gilligan's Albuquerque-centric drug kingpin downfall drama "Breaking Bad" and its spin-off-prequel "Better Call Saul" are arguably two of the most critically acclaimed shows of all time. The former has an overall rating of 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, while the latter currently stands at an even more impressive 98 percent

"Breaking Bad" centers around Walter White (Bryan Cranston), and his gradual change from a mild-mannered chemistry teacher with ailing health to a ruthless drug lord with an even more ailing moral compass. Amoral lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) is introduced late into the show's Season 2, and despite the unfortunate nature of their first meeting, he eventually becomes Walt's lawyer — as well as a central piece of the show's supporting cast.

In a show that's full of potential breakout characters, Saul managed to become the breakout character. In fact, he was so popular that after "Breaking Bad" was over, he got his own spin-off series, "Better Call Saul." The six-season spinoff operates on multiple time levels, and explores both Odenkirk's character and the magnificent supporting cast around him. "Better Call Saul" is fully comparable to its parent show in quality, and since Odenkirk plays an instrumental role in both, he's far and away the longest-serving character in Gilligan's drug-addled Albuquerque universe. As such, it's easy to imagine that the actor is also pretty familiar with this world, and considering the impact Saul made from the very beginning, you'd assume that Odenkirk had researched "Breaking Bad" through and through. Surprisingly enough, however, this wasn't exactly the case. In fact, when Odenkirk first joined "Breaking Bad," Cranston soon started suspecting that the Saul actor had not watched a single minute of the crime drama — and was quick to let his co-star know about it. 

Cranston realized something was off when Odenkirk started mispronouncing characters' names

During a 2013 interview in "Conan" (via YouTube) with most of the main cast members from "Breaking Bad" present, Conan O'Brien homed in on Odenkirk, and asked if it was indeed true that he had never actually watched the show at the point when he was cast as Saul Goodman. 

As it turns out, the story is very much true. One person who found Odenkirk's inexperience painfully obvious was none other than Bryan Cranston, who soon picked up on his co-star's habit of getting the characters' names wrong. Indeed, the second O'Brien asked the question, Cranston — who was seated behind Odenkirk — faux-angrily bored a hole in Odenkirk's neck with his eyes, and Odenkirk turned to address him.

"This guy was wise to it," Odenkirk pointed at Cranston, who stood smiling sagely. "I would say the name wrong or with the wrong emphasis, and then [Cranston] would go, 'You don't watch the show, do you?'" Odenkirk said. 

However, Odenkirk did insist that he wasn't entirely unfamiliar with the project when he joined it, despite some pronunciation difficulties. "I knew what the tone was," he said. "I just played Saul Goodman. I was just Saul Goodman. That's all I knew. I wanted what he wanted, and that was it."

In all fairness, Odenkirk's main reason for not watching the series originally was that he had young children, which obviously cut into his time of watching such an adult-oriented series. However, he says that once they grew older, he was able to finally enjoy the series in its entirety. And while it's funny that someone who would become a central part of "Breaking Bad" and even move on to his own spin-off would not even watch the series he was inevitably cast in, it certainly didn't harm his portrayal of his character at all.