Breaking In (2011-2012)
What It Is: You’d be easily forgiven for never having even been aware of the existence of this short-lived sitcom, as it was one of oh so many shows that suffered under the poor decision-making of its network, FOX. The first season was only seven short episodes but more than enough to make an impression, on me at least, if nobody else. It was granted one more season before FOX gave it the axe, but not without a shady shell game of shuffling cast members, fundamentally changing the show’s character dynamics. I may one day give Season Two another chance, but regardless, that brief Season One will always hold a special place in my heart.
Breaking In was a workplace sitcom of epic proportions, following the wild antics of the employees at Contra Security, a firm that assessed the effectiveness of various security systems by, you guessed it, breaking into them. So naturally, a great number of the firm’s employees possessed… colorful backgrounds: Cameron Price, hacker; Cash Sparks, robotics expert; and Melainie Garcia, safe-cracker; all reined in by former con-man and current boss, Christian Slater’s Oz.
Why It’s Great: As if Christian Slater (Heathers, Mr. Robot) playing a quirky ex-con isn’t enough of a delight, he’s not the only reason why this show was great. Though admittedly, his highly humorous portrayal of the eccentric business owner is indubitably one of the highlights. He brings a nonchalant and charismatic charm to his otherwise socially deficient team, and one can’t help but feel like everything Oz says and does is just Christian Slater being Christian Slater. The man is infectiously snarky and intensely quotable.
But on the whole, a sizable portion of the show’s appeal comes from the various character dynamics between the litany of weirdos therein. Everyone who works at Contra Security is inherently strange. It’s practically a job requirement that none of them quite fit in with normal people. Whether it’s Cameron’s disinterest, Cash’s nerdiness, or Melanie’s complete lack of normal life experience, something besides their more criminal inclinations has made misfits of them. Meaning that to many, Contra is the closest thing they have to home, or to family. And who can’t get behind a team of lovable misfits?
The only civilian out of the main cast is Dutch, Melanie’s meat-head boyfriend, played by Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville, Impastor, Justice League: Unlimited). Because after seven years of required baldness as Lex Luthor, the man just really needed to jump straight into a fauxhawk. It’d be easy to push Dutch into a box (and that box would be labelled Jackass) but his layered and frankly hilarious characterization is one of the more entertaining parts of the show, fauxhawk notwithstanding. He’s big, he’s dumb, and he drives a ridiculous jeep with flames on the side but he is also… the greatest boyfriend of all time. His jackassery is only surpassed by his love for Melanie, a fact that he proves on multiple occasions, and with little to no prompting. Dutch was essentially Breaking In’s answer to toxic masculinity, proving to the most ridiculous extent possible, just how much a man didn’t have to be feminine to be wholesome.
Plus there’s an episode where Mike Tyson plays himself so…
Where You Can Find It: This one may be a bit more difficult to find than your average show. You can pay to watch it on Amazon Prime or you could pirate it from a vast number of disreputable websites (not that we would ever condone that 😉 ).