The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

'Breaking Bad' ends, but 10 lessons linger; words to the wise from this devilish drama

  • Print

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Sunday's "Breaking Bad" turned out the lights on one of the darkest shows in television history.

Even as this drama cooked up storylines that celebrated evil and depravity, "Breaking Bad" gleamed with a bright side, too. There were plenty of positive messages for the viewer who acknowledged them during the series' five-season run.

Here are 10 lessons "Breaking Bad" leaves behind:

— Stay in school and study hard!

As Walter White demonstrated after he ditched teaching for producing crystal meth, you can make millions from a subject like chemistry that far too many youngsters (including Mr. White's bored students) find annoying and useless. Walt (aka drug lord Heisenberg) proved otherwise with his storage shed of money.

— Chemistry has everyday applications.

The next time you dispose of a corpse with hydrofluoric acid, all you devoted "Breaking Bad" viewers will know not to dissolve the body in a bathtub, but instead in a plastic container. You learned this valuable tip in Season 1, when Walt's lab assistant Jesse Pinkman disregarded his instructions and regretted it. The acid memorably dissolved through the bathtub and floor at Jesse's house, leaving a bloody mess in the hallway downstairs. You won't make that mistake.

— Family is oh, so important.

"Breaking Bad" reminds you that entering the drug trade and messing with the wrong people in it can lead to your wife and teenage son despising you. It can also lead to your brother-in-law getting brutally murdered. You would hate that if it happened.

— Build a better mousetrap!

Steve Jobs knew it. Jeff Bezos knows it. Walt White serves as a mythical champion of their kind of acumen: Offer a better product with an obvious advantage, and the world (or, anyway, addicts who loved Walt's super-potent "blue sky" crystal meth) will beat a path to your door.

— Need a lift? Try a personal makeover.

If you're stuck in a rut, like Walter White at the start of "Breaking Bad," consider a new look. Shave your head, grow a tidy, I-mean-business beard and fit yourself with a black pork pie hat. Then come up with a new name. Like Heisenberg. In your new identity, people will fear you and you're sure to go far.

— Keep your personal vehicles, especially your RV, in good running order.

A regular checkup to keep Walt's rolling meth lab in tip-top shape would have spared him and Jesse inconvenience, not to mention mortal danger.

— Keep a shrewd lawyer on call, especially if you mean to routinely break the law.

Sure, he may be a sleazebag and a shameless self-promoter. But a lawyer like Saul Goodman ("Better call Saul!") is worth his weight in hundred-dollar bills to a client like Walter White, whom he represented faithfully, if more than often sarcastically. With his mastery of trade practices — legal and illegal — Saul was the most impressive TV lawyer since Perry Mason.

— Like it or hate it, Obamacare might cut down on illegal drug trade (at least on TV).

If financially strapped schoolteacher Walt White had had better health care when he got his cancer diagnosis, maybe he wouldn't have begun cooking meth to help cover his expenses. Meanwhile, his long-term problem — leaving his family provided for after his death — might have been a non-issue had teachers in his district been better paid. On the other hand, if Walt had found himself in less of a jam, there would have been no "Breaking Bad."

— Finish what you start.

It's never good to leave hanging important tasks. Walt is a shining example of a guy determined to tie up loose ends. That was part of why the "Breaking Bad" finale was so good.

— Follow your bliss (and be willing to forge a different path getting there).

Walter White discovered this lesson. Vince Gilligan demonstrated its wisdom in real life by creating "Breaking Bad," a radically different series. So did AMC execs by airing what turned out to be perhaps the best drama of all time. How many other networks are willing to learn?

___

Online:

www.amctv.com

___

EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

The greening of Elphaba the Wicked Witch in Wicked

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.
  • A group of Horese pose for the camera in the early evening light at Southcreek Stables in Stl Norbert Wednessday. Sept  14, 2011 (RUTH BONNEVILLE) / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Ads by Google