Watch Mike from ‘Better Call Saul’ in a bizarre 1980s motivational video

Season 4 of Better Call Saul, which wrapped up a few weeks ago, is on the shortlist of my favorite seasons of television ever. The Emmy people have not shown Better Call Saul undue respect—it has never won a single Emmy for anything—but in my view the Vince Gilligan/Peter Gould creation is running rings around every other show in a bunch of different ways. It’s got the best acting, the best writing, and the best direction, for starters. Particularly in the writing arena, it’s a little preposterous that any other drama would beat Better Call Saul, at least that’s my opinion.

One of the amusing aspects of Better Call Saul is that it showcases so many different depictions of excellence in its narrative. Jimmy McGill (later to become Saul Goodman) is a world-class con artist, his brother Chuck is a genius-level attorney, Mike Ehrmantraut is an unusually gifted all-purpose security dude, Gustavo Fring is a regional/international drug kingpin of distinction, and Jimmy’s girlfriend Kim is a pretty gifted negotiator of plea deals and the like as a sideline to her regular gig of representing multinational corporations (with Jimmy, she also grifts unwitting saps for fun). The show has a deep abiding interest in professionalism and excellence in all of its forms.

As portrayed by Jonathan Banks, the utterly unflappable Mike Ehrmantraut has become the object of no small fascination. I know several people who’d swap places with him in an instant, given the option. Until he landed the role of Mike in Breaking Bad, Banks was a respected if by no means famous character actor whose notable credits had included the TV series Wiseguy and the movies Freejack and Gremlins.

One of Banks’ early credits was a bizarre self-help videotape from 1985 called You Can Win! Negotiating for Power, Love and Money. The videotape was intended to showcase the penetrating insights of a lady named Dr. Tessa Albert Warschaw. I’m guessing that You Can Win! was tolerably successful in its day—before most everyone had the ability to call up life advice on the Internet—for as recently as 2015 she was appearing at a TEDxPasadenaWomen event discussing the importance of resiliency.

In You Can Win! Banks is given the task of portraying the idealized “type” of “the Dictator,” the unpleasant, exacting prig who has precise expectations in every interaction. The video alternates between explanations from Dr. Warschaw and demonstrations of the insights by a team of NYC actors who are really not bad at all, the whole thing is really fairly good but just horribly dated. Skip through it for the bits involving Banks (who knows, you might have a use for a clip of Banks saying the words “Massage! ... ha ha ha ha ha ha, don’t be perverse”). But mainly it’s best to think of it as a highly bizarre conceptual play.

via r/ObscureMedia

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Twin Peaks,’ ‘Better Call Saul,’ ‘Mad Max,’ & more as ‘70s-style Topps trading card wrappers
The hilarious ‘Squat Cobbler’ scene from ‘Better Call Saul’ will become legendary

Posted by Martin Schneider
08:26 am
The hilarious ‘Squat Cobbler’ scene from ‘Better Call Saul’ will become legendary
10:10 am

If you’re not watching Better Call Saul, then you’ve probably found the number of people posting “#squatcobbler” on their Facebook walls and Twitter feeds for the past couple of days to be a bit confusing.

I’m not giving away anything by posting this bust-a-gut funny clip from the second episode of the 2016 season of the Breaking Bad prequel. This is not a spoiler and involves a minor character who we’re unlikely to see again. It’s also one of the funniest fucking things I have seen in… ages.

The set-up is simple. Even if you’re not watching the show—and you should be—it’s easy to explain:

Jimmy McGill AKA “Saul Goodman” (Bob Odenkirk)  gets a call from “private investigator” Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) asking if he’s still “morally flexible”? Obviously he still is because we then cut to the inside of a police station where Jimmy/Saul is representing Mike’s idiot former client (Mark Proksch), an amateur drug dealer in way over his head in a messy situation who stupidly called the police to report a robbery and then acted all nervous and shifty, arousing their suspicions and potentially compromising Mike. The cops have also found an obvious stash hole in his house and so have called the man in for further questioning.

Mark Proksch will probably be remembered for the rest of his career as the “Squat Cobbler.” There are far worse things to be known for, obviously.

When we join the scene, Jimmy has asked his client to give him a moment alone with the detectives. That’s all you really need to know.

If this doesn’t become one of the most famous comedy scenes since something from This is Spinal Tap, I don’t know what ever would… It’s an instant classic.

The scene following this one has another character—Jimmy’s lawyer girlfriend—telling him that if she’d have had a million years to come up with the whopper he laid on the cops—and which they seemed to believe without much trouble—she couldn’t have done it.

To my mind, this scene is almost like one of those things that you couldn’t make up (as Jimmy himself explains, convincingly, to the detectives). My suspicion is that this is based on something that actually happened, a real-life anecdote. It’s got what you might call “the ring of truth” to it—almost too funny to make up, if you take my point.

Watch these three minutes of absolute comic perfection. When the officers turned around to look at the “Cobbler” I lost it. No liquids before hitting “play” or your laptop or keyboard will be a goner.

“Squat cobbler. You know what Squat cobbler is…”


Posted by Richard Metzger
10:10 am