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Saul I Ever Wanted

A Thought Experiment, 2012

Breaking Bad and Homeland are perhaps the two most celebrated shows on television at the moment. Why, you ask? Is it the high-stakes drama? The studied demonstration of the twisted plot line? The award-winning acting? Critics will tell you it’s combination of all these things and more. But if you ask me, the shining light in each of these dramas is a dedicated, goal-orientated guy named Sauls Berenson and Goodman.

Like many other single, 24-year-old women, a majority of my time is spent picking out the traits in every film/television character I come across to add to my list of requirements for a potential boyfriend, listing my favorite film/television characters in order of who I would be most apt to date, then formulating elaborate fantasies about what it would be like to date them. So of course I’ve already weighed the pros and cons of dating both Sauls. But which Saul, Rebecca? Who do you pick? Thank you for asking (though, it is a little disconcerting how interested you are). Let’s chat.

Looks: Saul Goodman is a fox: those silky, auburn locks, expertly combed into a deep side part; that sexy, sexy bluetooth permanently affixed to his ear; those steely, beading eyes; the suits (of the business and track variety)! But let us not forget Berenson, with his warm, empathetic half-smile; the caring glint in his deep-set, bespectacled eyes; the sophisticated headwear (that boy rocks a pageboy cap with the boyhood charm of a Newsie mixed with the dignified air of a college professor). Plus, Saul B’s got just enough extra padding to give what I imagine is one hell of a bear hug. That said, while the beard certainly gives him a distinguished edge, it is far too unruly to hold a candle to Goodman’s manicured coif. Also, you can never un-see Berenson spreading peanut butter with a ruler he found in his office desk drawer. Advantage: Goodman.

Personality: I have no doubt in my mind that Saul Goodman knows how to have fun. His client list reads like a who’s-who of the glitterati of the Albuquerque street scene. He’s got access to great drugs, and you’ve got attorney-client privilege. He’s quick-witted, never without a smart one-liner to keep you on your toes. But, if I’m being perfectly honest, I just don’t think I’d be able to keep up with Sauly G. and his glamorous strip club parties and fancy dinners at Pollos Hermanos. What I need is a Saul Berenson to greet me at the end of the day with a glass of wine and a home-cooked meal (probably something complicated and locally-sourced that he whipped up without a recipe). Anyway, who needs night clubs when you’ve got the rousing melodies of Thelonious Monk thumping softly on the stereo? Plus, as my parents’ last shot at one of their children marrying a Jew, I’d probably have an easier time bringing him home to Mom and Dad. Advantage: Berenson.

Security: Here’s where it gets tricky. I’ve thought about it, and I would trust either Saul with my life. Goodman’s got connections. He’s got a solution to every problem, the number of every Mike, Gus and Kuby to clean up your mess. Got a little “shit creek” action going on? He can buy you a paddle (oh yeah, he’s loaded, too). But he’s flaky, impulsive. And while his pursuits are high reward, they are definitely also high risk. Berenson, on the other hand, is calm. Levelheaded in a tough situation. He’s incredibly smart, and one of the most trustworthy and respected agents in the CIA. He’s tough, but thorough. You’ve got a problem? Yo, he’ll solve it - by performing a meticulous background check, making informed decisions and getting to the root of the issue. He’s passionate and committed. Maybe too committed. If his last relationship offers any insight, I’ve got a feeling that Berenson might not always put me first, neglecting me for something stupid like work or a national security crisis. 

So, it looks like I’m left with a Sophie’s Choice of Sauls. Goodman’s got the looks, Berenson’s got the beliefs, but they both have baggage.