The Monkees fans were in for a surprise during the most recent episode of Better Call Saul titled “Breaking Bad.” During a critical scene in the season 6 episode that paralleled the man Jimmy McGill had become and the man Gene Takovic is rapidly slipping back into becoming, viewers heard a Mike Nesmith tune. The song was featured in a key montage scene, thrilling fans of The Monkees and Nesmith.
Why was a Monkees song featured on ‘Better Call Saul’?
Better Call Saul writer and director Thomas Schnauz is a huge Monkees fan. Therefore using a song from the band seemed only natural.
In a Dec. 2021 tweet, upon learning of Mike Nesmith’s death, Schnauz admitted that the band’s music affected him throughout his life.
“I can’t stress enough how much this band meant to me growing up and continues to mean to me today. Nez & Micky Dolenz were beautiful at their show at the Greek last month, and my heart goes out to his family, Micky & all Monkees fans,” Schnauz wrote.
Thomas Schnauz discusses the merging of Mike Nesmith’s ‘Tapioca Tundra’ and ‘Better Call Saul’
Schnauz merged his work and favorite music for a Monkees surprise for Better Call Saul viewers.
He told TV Guide, “I storyboard everything that I do, and I was doing a lot of pictures, and I wrote a lot of different visuals and shots. I had some ideas about how some transitions would happen, but not everything. Nothing changed in the shooting of it; everything was scripted. It got smaller because we couldn’t do everything, but we shot more than what was used in the final montage to match the song’s length. That’s the original Mike Nesmith demo of the song [Tapioca Tundra].”
Schnauz continued, “Yeah, it’s from the 1960s. He recorded it, and it eventually became the Monkees song that was much more psychedelic than the version on the record. But I’m a huge Monkees fan, I saw Mike Nesmith do that song on an acoustic guitar in concert, and it always stuck with me.
“I told our music supervisor, Thomas Golubić, you know, it’s on YouTube, him on stage, can we get it? But he found the original demo. It was on a Monkees compilation. And I was like, ‘Great, I want to use this.’ My first directing for the universe was Breaking Bad [Season 5, Episode 7], and I used a Monkees song, ‘Goin’ Down.’ This is my last directing for the universe, and I get to use another Monkees song,” Schnauz explained.
The Monkees fans flipped out over ‘Better Call Saul’ homage
Schnauz said “Tapioca Tundra” fit well with the show’s existing storyline.
“It had a different meaning when [Nesmith] wrote about it. It’s about the band’s connection with the audience. But that line, ‘It cannot be a part of me, for now, it’s a part of you,’ fits so well with Jimmy-Gene-Saul trying to put who he is. You know, ‘I’m not that person anymore. It’s part of this person.’ It just feels like it works so well with the emotion he’s going through,” he concluded.
Fans flipped out upon hearing the tune included in the critical scene.
“Holy s*** ‘Tapioca Tundra’ by The Monkees?” tweeted one viewer.
In the same thread, another fan wrote, “It’s the original Mike Nesmith demo too.”
“‘Goin’ Down’ by The Monkees was featured in a Breaking Bad scene a few years back,” The Monkees: Mike Nesmith Claimed This Was the Most Powerful Moment in the Movie ‘Head’: ‘That’s the Real Thing’