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A ‘Breaking Bad’ Writer Offers An Explanation For An Infamously Sleazy Saul Goodman Line In His First Episode

The Saul Goodman we meet in Breaking Bad is a far cry from the Saul Goodman we know (and because he’s played by Bob Odenkirk, love) on Better Call Saul. Saul-era Saul Goodman finds a strip mall office out of necessity; Breaking Bad-era Saul Goodman embodies the strip mall, ambulance chasing lawyer, with his slick hair and complete lack of human decency. He also sexually harasses his secretary Francesca and says things like, “God, you are killing me with that booty.” (It’s worth noting that “booty” should be pronounced as “boo-tay.” Creeps and sleazes love to say “boo-tay.”)

That line, which Saul remarks in his first episode of Breaking Bad, season two’s “Better Call Saul,” is an interesting moment for the character, considering what we know after six seasons of Better Call Saul. He’s not talking to anyone but himself — so why is he still in character as Saul Goodman, and not letting his guard down as Jimmy McGill?

It’s a question that was recently answered by Breaking Bad and Saul writer Thomas Schnauz. “He’s alone in the scene. Even Francesca has already left and can’t hear it, he’s just saying the line to himself on his own. What’s the point of keeping up the show when nobody’s watching?” Twitter user @luukki wondered. Schnauz replied, “It’s 4 years later of being ‘Saul Goodman,’ and as we like to say, ‘The mask becomes the man.’”

The Better Call Saul season six midseason finale, “Plan and Execution,” takes place in 2004; the “Better Call Saul” episode of Breaking Bad is set in 2008. A lot happens in those four years. I fear that Saul refuses to allow himself to be Jimmy, even in private, because he’s masking a Kim-related trauma. She would not have let him say “boo-tay.”

Better Call Saul returns on July 11.