Nov. 18, 2013 at 9:24 AM ET
What if "Breaking Bad" was a figment of Bryan Cranston's "Malcolm in the Middle" character's mind? A hilarious new alternate ending clip that USA Today reports was cribbed from the "Breaking Bad: The Complete Series" DVD box set suggests it could have been.
For those who didn't care for the actual dark and bloody "Bad" finale, picture this: Cranston (as "Malcolm's" dad Hal) wakes up in bed next to his wife Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) from "the scariest dream." Huddling under his covers, he whimpers to her that he'd dreamed he was a meth dealer whose companions included a man who looked "like the guy from 'The Shield'" (Dean Norris' Hank Schrader) and "a man child" (Aaron Paul's Jesse) "who always looked like he was wearing his older brother's clothes" and used "the b-word a lot."
The faux ending sequence is a nod to "Newhart's" 1990 series finale, in which Bob Newhart woke up in bed next to his "The Bob Newhart Show" wife (Suzanne Pleshette) and declared he'd had a dream that essentially rendered "Newhart" as a long, confusing nightmare.
"I knew this was going to happen, you grow a beard and suddenly you think you're Osama bin Laden," she says.
As she turns to go back to sleep, Hal, channeling his Heisenberg/Walter White character from "Bad," gets amorous and drops a reference to one of Walt's most famous lines: "I'm the one who's knocking."
Except the line has no effect — good or bad — on this wife.
They go back to sleep as the camera pans to a nearby chair, revealing Heisenberg's black pork pie hat.
Sony Pictures Television has not yet responded to a request for comment.
The clip realized a meme that had sprung up in the weeks before "Bad" ended. In it, a photo of a startled Keanu Reeves is covered with the words, "What if at the end of 'Breaking Bad' they drop Walt into the witness protection program and that's the start of 'Malcolm In the Middle'"?
And if anything, the alternate ending is more proof of Cranston's top-notch acting. The Emmy winner slipped back into the character of Hal with ease, a role he left behind after seven seasons when the Fox sitcom wrapped in 2006.
The "Breaking Bad" box release date is Nov. 26.