Why Saul Goodman Is the Ultimate Costume for Geeks

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Trouble getting motivated for this year’s costume parties? Let’s say it together: “Better Call Saul!” Image: Rick Tate

Step into my office, take a seat, and let me humbly try to guess your dilemma.

Halloween is coming up, and you’re trying to remain upbeat and motivated for the fam. However, you’re in the process of trying to get your weight back down to a healthy number (no, I’m not saying you need to, but still), and you’re just stuck in a job situation you wish you could fix. The home needs repairs. Extended family issues are piling up, and you are battling the old “I can do a better job than ANY of those bozos running for president, so what chad am I going to dangle this November” syndrome?

Long story short: what in the name of the Great Pumpkin are you gonna wear this year? Am I right, so far?

Okay, I’ll come clean. I’m not talking about you. It’s me, and I needed a costume and cosplay idea that would not only match my state of mind this year but hopefully improve it.

The solution: “Better Call Saul!”

This year, with killer clowns on the loose, not to mention the ones who aren’t running for office, here’s three reasons —plus two more—why all of us need to embrace our inner Saul Goodman, who is, in fact, the quintessential closet geek:

Saul Goodman is a cosplayer. More specifically, there is no Saul Goodman. He’s the indestructible, anti-hero invention of the very relatable Jimmy McGill. Breaking Bad fans might love Saul for some quotable comic relief, but really he came across a bit one-dimensional in the series. Those of us who are finding ourselves caught up in Better Call Saul are seeing a backstory, and pieces of a heart-breaking future in Cinnabon purgatory, that shows a sympathetic, lovable character who is not only the victim of his own bad decisions but who just can’t seem to catch a break. He’s smart but clumsy, sarcastic but sweet, and most of all, his dreams are bigger than his physical and financial limitations. Everyone who has ever hit the floor in cosplay at a comic convention, or who has taken home that trophy at the Halloween costume parade, knows how good it feels to be someone else. Jimmy McGill might be unfairly considered a “loser” by some of his peers, but no one—no one—is going to push around his alter ego.

Okay, maybe Walter White, but we won’t talk about him.

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I was able to find a pin-striped jacket, skirt, tie, shirt, nice shoes, and a beat up attache case for around 30 bucks at a thrift store. Everything else, like the nails, cufflinks, and ring, I made or scrounged up at home. Images: Lisa Kay Tate

Saul is a master of Do-It-Yourself. Jimmy McGill gets it done. He knows how to put together a “costume” for the right situation, he doodles ideas on his legal pad, he makes due with space limitations, and he can concoct everything from useful props to complicated plots in a pinch.

I’m hoping I’m not the only crafty type out there who appreciates his printed out stickers on gelatin containers and knack for using everything Photoshop to cellophane tape. He likely has the tinny MacGyver theme going through his head when he’s feeling especially clever.

Putting together my Saul costume brought this out in me. Hitting the thrift stores for pin-striped suit pieces, eye-scorchingly bright shirts, and ties that look like acid flashbacks was only part of the fun.

I found an old plastic ring (by “found” I mean I stole it from my daughter’s party favor bucket) and turned it into a pinky ring with a felt tip marker. I also used some small blue gemstone rocks to make some Breaking Bad-themed cufflinks, and put together small pieces of blue and red ribbons to remind people of the victims of “Wayfarer 515.” Of course, I made sure I had in a Bluetooth.

The only thing I had to special order was a “scales of justice” I found on a site called PinMart for $4 plus shipping. It was a splurge, but I felt that little detail was essential.

Since I gender-bent Saul, let’s call her “Sal,” I figured someone who spent so much time around nail salons would rock some serious acrylics. Of course, they had to be red, white, and blue because a good lawyer is nothing if not patriotic. You know what I mean?

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No one’s ever accused Saul of not being creative. Image: Lisa Kay Tate

Saul is a natural performer. “It’s showtime, folks!” What is a lawyer, anyway, except a brilliant deliverer of monologues and a perfectionist at improvisation?

Okay, there’s a little more to them, but many of them do have a flair for performance. Saul’s entire life is one big stage. Even before he took up his “respectable” life in law, he was a small-time hustler. This, from what I hear, requires some convincing theatrics.

Saul is the perfect lesson in self-confidence. I’ve talked about my insecurity towards my appearance in my own origin story, and being Saul has actually been a great way to deal with this. He just doesn’t care. If he feels he looks successful, he is. By the way, don’t mistake him for his “real-world” counterpart, actor Bob Odenkirk, who looks like he walked off the set of Mad Men not Breaking Bad. That guy dresses well… and I would wager expensively, but I’m not judging. It works.

Both Saul Goodman and Jimmy McGill, however, are set on starting their own fashion trends. Who wants subdued coordinates anyways?

Where’s the room for creativity?

This brings me to the most important reason of all to be Saul:

He’s fun! We started getting into Better Call Saul after our impromptu Breaking Bad adventure this summer, and that’s when I really noticed his tendency towards quoting movies and saying or doing things simply for the sake of making others laugh. Odenkirk’s fantastic portrayal is also to thank for this, but we don’t have to completely mimic him to make Saul our own. Just go with it.

Saul expressed this confidence in Breaking Bad:

“If you’re committed enough, you can make any story work,” he said. “I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner, and it worked because I believed it.”

You don’t have to be Costner. He’s boring. You just have to be Saul.

When I finally donned that costume and trekked out in the desert to pay homage to that King of Snark and Suavity, the Monster of Movie Quotes, and Chancellor of Charm, I actually found my self-confidence improving. Saul’s the geek I needed to be this year, and it works.

I’m not perfect, but hand to God, I’m working on it. I’m not giving up, either. The only one holding myself back from being the person I need to be is me, and I know that sometimes it takes a little self-injection of confidence to do that.

Yeah, things may not always be looking absolutely rosy on the horizon, but if you have the right attitude, you can always see the sunny days to come.

Because, you know, “s’all good, man!”

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Looking good’s a state of mind…even if it’s only in your mind. That’s the beauty of being Saul. Images: ©AMC and Rick Tate.