Breaking Bad

Recommend, or reminisce about, film and television

Breaking Bad

Postby Gavin » 27 Dec 2013, 20:31

Not sure if anyone has been watching this very popular television series but my wife and I finally got into it recently and we are now up to the final season.



I just wanted to say that show generally comes across as very conservative. It shows the effect of using methanthetamine and that there are consequences (even unforeseen) of actions. The main character, Walter White, explains that he has made choices and he alone is responsible for them. The other main character, Jesse Pinkman, is a meth "cook", user and dealer who comes from a very privileged background and similarly has chosen his course in life.

Here's a documentary by Louis Theroux about meth users (or "meth-heads"). They usually look very ill and their lives are a mess. Sadly, a lot of them are women too and they usually have children. Yet these too speak of their "choice", repeatedly. Who has to tell liberal apologists before they understand?

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Re: Breaking Bad

Postby Jonathan » 28 Dec 2013, 20:16

Ah, an excellent series. My wife and I recently finished watching the last season - no spoilers, I promise!

I agree with you that the series has a decidedly conservative slant. The most recurring motif is certainly a conservative one - that the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. The fear of unforseen consequences is not the most common sentiment in the liberal heart.

There's another scene which sticks in my mind, with a very damning condemnation of non-judgmentalism. It's the last time Jesse Pinkman attends the rehabilitation center support group - you should be well past it by this point.
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Re: Breaking Bad

Postby Gavin » 28 Dec 2013, 20:31

Yes, I know just the scene you mean - that really struck me too as a perfect destruction of the liberal delusion.
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Re: Breaking Bad

Postby Andrea » 28 Dec 2013, 23:08

I am really enjoying the show as well. So much so that I've started reading web pages about the concepts behind it and something that the creator, Vince Gilligan (who also worked on my favourite series, The X-Files) said the following:

If religion is a reaction of man, and nothing more, it seems to me that it represents a human desire for wrongdoers to be punished. I hate the idea of Idi Amin living in Saudi Arabia for the last 25 years of his life. That galls me to no end. I feel some sort of need for Biblical atonement, or justice, or something. I like to believe there is some comeuppance, that karma kicks in at some point, even if it takes years or decades to happen. My girlfriend says this great thing that's become my philosophy as well. 'I want to believe there's a heaven. But I can't not believe there's a hell.'


I like the guy. The show is supposed to be about people choosing badly and getting their comeuppance. I think it's brilliant.

The Wikipedia has the following:

Klosterman added that the central question of Breaking Bad is "What makes a man 'bad' – his actions, his motives, or his conscious decision to be a bad person?"


Again, several main (and secondary) characters in Breaking Bad make decisions that are the wrong decisions, meaning decisions that an honest, good person would avoid. I'm always rooting for the DEA agents, not the criminals, because producing such drugs leads to a greater evil. People lead horrible lives because of meth use, but mainly, they usually chose to use these substances in the first place. I'm afraid I'm hardline against drugs. I come from a "broken home", immigrant parents, and things were hard at times, BUT, there is no excuse for a life of criminality. I like that this show reveals that criminality ultimately does not pay.
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Re: Breaking Bad

Postby Mike » 29 Dec 2013, 00:36

My wife has just gotten hold of the first season on DVD. I'm very much looking forward to watching it, on your recommendations!
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Re: Breaking Bad

Postby Gavin » 03 Jan 2014, 01:04

Finished this now. Incredibly well written, acted and produced drama. Can't say too much about it because it would give away what happens, but sure enough it is conservative, and they keep you guessing until the end.

p.s. Apparently meth is a popular drug around where I live. It looks that way when you're out and about too. The pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place for me: what I'm seeing is inbreeding plus meth addiction. Both have a terrible effect on people's physiognomy and general health. Mixed with no idea of how to live and state indulgence, the result is bleak to behold.
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Re: Breaking Bad

Postby Charlie » 04 Jan 2014, 17:27

My fiancée and I have been watching this recently, but we have to ration ourselves otherwise we will not get any work done!

All this talk of Breaking Bad as a conservative morality tale is interesting; especially when the series is compared to The Wire, whose creator, David Simon, could not be described as a conservative at all - quite the opposite (I learned about his political beliefs after I watched the show).

I still think that The Wire is excellent, and that Simon is a really good writer, but I think the series needs a reappraisal of sorts, at least as far as its political message is concerned. Compared to Dalrymple's thoughts on drugs, for example, I think that The Wire stands on the other side of the drugs argument without being as naïve about it as, say, Richard Branson or Russell Brand.
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Re: Breaking Bad

Postby Mike » 28 Jan 2014, 12:21

Two seasons in now. My wife and I are definitely hooked.

Oddly enough, despite the completely different subject matter and setting, I'm reminded a lot of Agatha Christie when watching Breaking Bad - not because there are any whodunit aspects to the show (although of course it does keep you guessing with some of the snatches at the beginning of the episodes), but because of that recurrent idea of a single moral wrong step having a ripple effect, both on the wrongdoer and on the world at large. That's a trope which goes back to Greek tragedy of course, but I've always felt that the theme of "opening a heart to evil", especially while professing philanthropic motives to oneself, is one that Christie handled particularly well (Death on the Nile and A Murder is Announced being two good examples).
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Re: Breaking Bad

Postby Jonathan » 29 Jan 2014, 07:50

Mike wrote:...that recurrent idea of a single moral wrong step having a ripple effect, both on the wrongdoer and on the world at large.


I quite agree. And I don't think anyone will consider it a spoiler if I say that in the last episode of the last season (if I'm not mistaken) there is a short scene whose only purpose is to make this precise point.
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Re: Breaking Bad

Postby Gavin » 13 Feb 2014, 21:50

I thought this was an excellent interview with Bryan Cranston. He came across to me as a sensible, unpretentious, grateful, likeable, humble - and I might even say wise - man. Probably a rarity in Hollywood.



By the way, apparently blue meth has hit the streets of America now.. I suppose that was bound to happen, though do not think BB glamourised the drug - in fact the people who took it all seemed to be total losers. As for the people who made it.. keep watching!
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Re: Breaking Bad

Postby Mike » 05 Oct 2014, 13:24

Finally reached the end! It's a magnificent series in every way. The third-last episode was absolutely gut-wrenching of course, and I actually liked the way it slowed down somewhat after that.

And discussing it with my brother the other night, I again brought up the Agatha Christie parallels, and he agreed. (One other of hers that it forcibly reminded me of at times was Towards Zero - a story of a man who basically believes he hasn't gotten his just deserts in life and slowly goes off the rails as a result.)

Well, everyone is saying that it was the best thing on TV in recent years apart from The Wire, so I suppose I'll have to go back and immerse myself in that one too...
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