Breaking Bad: Everyone Is Doing It
Take a Sunday night stroll down any American main strip this summer or fall and you are sure to see at least one sign outside an alcohol-serving establishment proclaiming, “Tonight: Watch Breaking Bad Here.” Come Halloween 2013 you will no doubt be confronted at your doorstep with dozens of Walter Whites or Jesse Pinkmans demanding candy. Open a newspaper and flip to the entertainment section. There it is again. Open an academic journal to behold an in-depth exploration of the meanings behind the show. Walk by a newsstand and be confronted with faces from the cast, even minor characters, glaring at you from the glossies. It is Breaking Bad’s world at the moment. We just live in it.
Refreshingly, this AMC series currently in its dying season bears little of the aspects generally required to break through to the American mass consciousness. It features no out-of-control celebrities. It is not a reality show. It takes place in Albuquerque, of all places. It is dark without being apologetic. It seeks no redemption. Breaking Bad is that rarest of birds: A deserving underdog who has conquered.
Why You Watch Breaking Bad
Of course you watch it, you and the six million others who tuned in to the premier of the second half of Season 5 earlier this year. And even if you don’t, those Netflix back seasons are only a click away. Everyone has their own reasons for viewing, but there are several key factors the show’s writers utilize to keep you coming back for more.
Two Unlikely Heroes
Has there ever been a duo of arguably loveable anti-heroes thrown together as entertainingly as in the saga of Walter and Jesse?
- Walter White: A high school teacher diagnosed with terminal lung cancer turned methamphetamine manufacturing kingpin in order to support his family after his death.
- Jesse Pinkman: High school dropout, heartthrob, meth addict. Under Walter’s guidance he finds his focus, not to mention two duffel bags stuffed with 5 million dollars.
The sign of a skillfully written and executed show is characters who grow and change as the episodes and seasons tick past. Breaking Bad has this in spades, leading favorites such as DEA Agent brother-in-law Hank Shrader, the increasingly criminal-minded Skyler White, and lovably sleazy rogue lawyer Saul Goodman through the years with a care and attention to detail that keeps the millions who watch Breaking Bad coming back for more.
A Brilliantly Twisted Plot
By now the entire Nation knows of the saga of Walter White. It is a criminal adventure that will go down in television history for its dark genius. In viewing the basic plotline for the show, it is easy to see why we all watch Breaking Bad.
- A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with terminal cancer, Walter teams with former student Jesse to become the methamphetamine kingpins of Albuquerque.
- Hank, tasked with investigating meth manufacturing in the city, toils to bring down a mastermind he fails to realize is his meek, geeky brother-in-law.
- Skyler, while caring for her cerebral palsy suffering son and infant daughter, slowly comes to the realization that her husband is a very, very bad man indeed.
- Rival dealers are killed. Trains are robbed. Meth is cooked in unlikely locations. Money is made in the tens of millions.
Everyone Loves An Outlaw
Bonnie and Clyde. Jesse James. The Barefoot Bandit. Each is an outlaw who stepped into public favor through criminal acts during a time of economic hardship or national uncertainty. We now have the unlikely fictional duo of Walter and Jesse to add to this category. In creating a criminal empire during one of the worst economic recessions of the past two centuries, this wayward high school teacher and his hip hop enthusiast sidekick have captured the attention, if not the hearts, of a nation.
Breaking Bad Mania Continues
Already holding a Guinness Book of World Records title for Highest Rated TV Series, the show continues to cause ripples outside of just its plot twists and cliffhanger episode endings. Look no further than the nationwide furor caused by the theft of a Breaking Bad script from Walter White portrayer Robert Cranston’s Audi earlier this year. And what other drama could go up against an institution like Sunday Night Football with such confidence? Breaking Bad continues to defy the limits imposed on dark psychological dramas, capturing the dedication of millions on quality alone.
It is a bandwagon fully worth climbing aboard.