Five Lessons I’ve learned from “Breaking Bad”


It’s compelling viewing isn’t it?

From an opening that features a chemistry teacher in his underpants to what I expect to be an awesome finale (*please don’t tell me what happens – I’m about to launch into the final season) “Breaking Bad” has me gripped.

If you’ve seen it, you’ll know just how good it is. So last week while I was travelling in Mexico past the border town of Mexicali I couldn’t help but think of some past “Breaking Bad” episodes, if you get my drift. Although the TV show is far-fetched, there’s plenty to learn from seeing the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Walter White, Jesse Pinkman and the rest of the crew.

So, five lessons I’ve learned:

How to get rid of a body

OK. Don’t judge me. I may or may not be referring to a human body. Anyways… I always figured if I had to get rid of “a body” it would involve my chicken incinerator on the farm. Apparently not. With a short visit to my local hardware store, a little knowledge of the dissolving properties of certain types of plastic, and a judicious use of acid I’d be set. Huh.

Who knew?

There’s good in everybody

I know this might sound a bit goody-two-shoes, but it’s true. I mean, take Jesse Pinkman. Aside from his general “hotness” (sorry, that’s probably inappropriate for a north of 40-something woman CEO, to say – but hey, the truth’s the truth, right?) he is a complex character. He’s a high school dropout. He’s a drug dealer.  He treats his parents badly.

But underneath it all there’s a good-sized chunk of goodness.

Jesse makes bad decisions and then makes them worse. Teaming up with Walter White to cook meth doesn’t make him seem like the brightest star in his constellation, but y’know there’s still good there. And I promised no spoilers, so you may have to just take my word for it.

Perhaps it is an over-used cliche (and oh how I hate cliches – but that’s for another blog), I really do believe that everyone – no matter their life story – is valuable and matters.  So if you know someone who’s taken a wrong turn in life, or made a stupid decision, that doesn’t make them a bad person. It’s their “behavior” that’s bad – not them. In fact, one of our company values actually speaks to this.

Take a moment to look for the good.

Unwavering support, loyalty and respect matters

The chances are, if you’re reading my blog, you’re not a meth cook, Mexican cartel drug lord or money-laundering car wash owner. Well, you might be, but I’d be surprised. And do let me know if you are. I am always looking for blogging inspiration.

So whether you are or are not, the lesson appears to be the same. “Breaking Bad” shows the power of loyalty and what it means to have someone’s back. I mean, think about it. Whatever gets thrown at them, whatever obstacles they face and whatever fate befalls them, Walt and Jesse stick together.

They have each other’s backs. Period.  I love that. I never felt let down.

And have you noticed something else? Jesse never calls Walter by his first name. It’s always “Mr. White”. Now doesn’t that show some good old-fashioned respect?

Appreciate the art form

So to be clear, “Breaking Bad” isn’t my typical TV viewing. I don’t like the foul language or illegal gotten gains promotion. I mean, I’m more of a “Heartland”,“Survivor” or “Parenthood” girl. But from a cinematography perspective, you can’t beat it.

Telling a story as gripping, complex and dark as “Breaking Bad” is not easy. And the producers, writers and directors have done an amazing job.

It’s easy to dismiss mass-market TV as brainless, mindless and a waste of time. But “Breaking Bad” shows what can be achieved with thought and care. Yes, it’s not making humor from the mundane like Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine of Seinfeld fame, but boy does it work.

It’s serious and disturbing, as well as being comical and weird all at the same time. And it does have elements of a morality play.

TV doesn’t have to be a waste of time. It can really make you think. I mean what would you do if faced with a terminal diagnosis as the bread-winner in your family with nothing to leave them? How far would you go? Would you be tempted to cross the line into illegal earnings?

Lying and the law of unintended consequence

I was brought up by Christian parents who taught me the importance of right and wrong according to the Bible. And telling the truth was a central theme of our upbringing. And that’s why watching “Breaking Bad” is such a fascinating experience. Sorry Mom & Dad, I know if you were still alive today you wouldn’t approve of the show itself but….

It all starts with a lie. And the lie unravels so another needs to be told. And another. And then more. And so it snowballs. And now I’m an adult I understand how damaging lying can be.

By speaking the truth you can build honest and lasting relationships. Sorry about the rather awkward bridging, but that’s at the heart of what we stand for here at Phantom Screens.

So there you have it. Five things I’ve learned while binge-watching “Breaking Bad” on Netflix without even mentioning the sadness of drug abuse or the ravages of cancer.

What lengths would you go to protect your family? What do you love / hate about “Breaking Bad” (please no spoilers!)? As always, I’d love it if you’d leave me a comment!