Breaking Bleak: How Breaking Bad Managed to be so Good

The infamous pizza on the roof was one of Heisenberg’s first victims…

The popular perception of Breaking Bad‘s protagonist Walter White is that he is a stone cold bad ass anti-hero with a murderous persona dubbed “Heisenberg” to match. That he is a calculating criminal mastermind that could erase a man on a whim by the fifth season. While there is definitely some truth to those sentiments, at his core, Walter White is a bit of a joke. A character who is easily capable of ringing as many laughs from a person as Bryan Cranston’s other famous role as Hal from Malcolm in the Middle. He is a terrible liar, an even worse criminal (that would leave incriminating evidence in the bathroom his DEA agent brother-in-law frequents), and is hypocritical to the point of often coming off as pathetic. Something to perfectly encapsulate Walt at his core is the often forgotten scene of him squeamishly backtracking on his famous “I am the one who knocks” speech by the end of the same episode he said it to his frustrated wife, uttering “I may have overstated things earlier and I’m sorry to be so forward” in a pitiful attempt to alleviate her fears on the safety of her children. That is Walter White, a man who says things with no true meaning in them and is fueled by his petty attempts at rebuilding his pride. Because of that, Breaking Bad is a world where we can laugh at his transparency and his naked attempts at recognition, and as a result, I feel the show had truly pushed itself into greatness.

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