Why Don’t I Like Breaking Bad?
Kate Warner / University of Queensland

Breaking Bad

AMC’s Breaking Bad

I have a confession to make—I don’t like Breaking Bad. It’s shocking but true. I have a PhD in TV studies, I really like watching television, I have thoroughly enjoyed the increase in well-made television over the last 15 years but I do not like Breaking Bad. I feel as though I am out of step with my culture. So I have decided to dedicate this column to working out why I do not like the show.

For those who have missed the hype Breaking Bad (2008-2013) is a critically acclaimed AMC serial. The main character is Walter White, a chemistry teacher who, on discovering that he has cancer, decides to make money by manufacturing methamphetamine. Eventually, after many travails and learning how to be effectively violent and murderous in the drug industry, Walter declares that he is in the ‘empire’ business. The plot follows how the increasing violence affects Walt, his drug-making partner Jesse, and his family—his wife Skyler, son Walt Jr., brother-in-law Hank Schrader and sister-in-law Marie.

A reason that I am confused about why I dislike the show is because I can see that the show is ‘good’. It is brilliantly acted, wonderfully scripted and the cinematography is amazing. It’s not that I dislike ‘anti-hero’ shows. I liked The Wire and Deadwood. I wrote a significant part of my PhD on Oz. When Breaking Bad first aired I found it fascinating and enjoyed the dark humor. But as it went on I grew to like it less and less. My problems seem to fall into four categories. 1, I don’t like the gender issues. 2, I don’t like the characters. 3, I don’t like the lack of community. 4, I don’t like the racism. These are issues of taste, issues of structure and issues of society.

Skyler

Walt’s wife Skyler White, played by Anna Gunn

Gender Issues

Problematic representations of gender are one of the more discussed reasons for disliking Breaking Bad (Hudson 20131; Kovvali 20132). Even Anna Gunn, who played Skyler White, entered the debate by publishing an article about the vitriol she had suffered because of her character’s unpopularity (Gunn 2013).3 Skyler had been the subject of a great deal of hate and there were many Internet forums devoted to this. Anna Gunn attributed this to society’s conflicted attitudes about “women and wives” and that the hate of Skyler was because parts of society could not cope with women who thought for themselves (Gunn 2013). Skyler is one of only a very few female characters4 and this limited number of women means that their representation is also limited.

One of the show’s obvious and central concerns is masculinity; it is clear that issues of what it is to be a man are at the center of Walt’s problems and are what make Hank such an unattractive person. In response to this kind of masculinity the women are not much better—they are not able to be. I can see and acknowledge the skill that has gone into representing these social and personal problems but at this point in time I have consumed enough stories about how hard it is to be a man. I don’t care anymore. Hundreds of years of literature have explored this and I have seen it too many times. Bored now.

Character

The issue of gender does lead on to the issue of character. The show is at least partly about the horrors of current American models of masculinity. The show’s characters demonstrate how unlikeable these dysfunctional models make people. However, this unlikeability is often seen by critics as a positive. Breaking Bad is seen as a brave and artistic show because it dares to have characters that no one likes. I do understand the artistic bravery of this decision. I just don’t want to spend time with these people. They annoy me.

Hank

Walt’s brother-in-law Hank Schrader, played by Dean Morris

A clear example of an unlikeable character is Hank, who I disliked from the beginning. I understand that I was supposed to grow to respect him towards the end of the series as the stalwart defender of the law. I didn’t. Hank’s character is bullish, macho, rude and condescending. This representation of masculinity was unpleasant. The excuse of toxic masculinity does not actually make the character forgivable.

Interestingly, I don’t think that Walt is unlikeable because he cooks meth or even because he murders people. There are aspects of the character that are fun: he has a sense of humor, he’s the underdog, he is clever and inventive in surprising ways. However, he keeps stuffing up. He does things for reasons of pride and greed that he would have been wiser not to do. Walt isn’t an unlikeable character because he is bad. He is unlikeable because it is disheartening to watch someone make the same mistakes over and over again.

Community

Breaking Bad has an unusually small central cast and—in my opinion, annoyingly—the characters do not get to interact with one another. The White and Schrader families interact but beyond that characters only interact with Walt. It is telling that Marie does not even meet Jesse until the 58th (out of 62) episode. I am sure that this depiction of social isolation was a deliberate choice but it resulted in a show that I had a hard time being interested in.

Historically, television has been great at showing the creation of communities because the same characters return again and again to the same spaces but this does not happen in Breaking Bad. Breaking Bad is, in many ways, about the failure of community. The lack of interaction that the central characters have with people outside their specific worlds is indicative of a lack of community.

Admittedly, there are representations of how people’s actions affect others. For example, the plane crash over Walt’s home, resulting in the death of hundreds of people, is shown to be a direct result of his actions. But this plot strand is largely forgotten by most of the characters after the start of season three and while dramatic it does not show actual people’s grief. Even when the show represents the community’s hurt about the crash, as in the high school assembly, it then mocks this grief by presenting its most facile aspects and by using it to embarrass Walt.

Racism

I argue that the show is quite racist in its depiction of Mexicans.5 It was this issue that caused me to give up the show in anger halfway through season three.6 Since the beginning of season three a pair of Mexican hit men have been stalking Walt. They are represented as silent, stylish, frightening and mystical. They seemed to me to be potentially very interesting characters. I had, at this point, a level of faith in the show that it could develop characters from these stereotypes and they would become more than mere colorful sketches. But this does not happen—they were killed by Hank in self-defense and in order to further Hank’s character development.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM-rwAZCZJk[/youtube]

There is a tendency on Breaking Bad for Mexican characters to be other worldly—to be exotic and odd and not normal. Alternatively they are vicious criminals or hapless peasants. In seasons three and four some of the action takes place in Mexico but Mexico is always either a place of violence or magic, not a place where ordinary people live. The undeniably beautiful cold open of season three in particular needs some analysis. Not from an aesthetic perspective but from a social one. Mexicans in this section are alien and inexplicable. They practice strange religions and are inscrutable. They actually fit almost perfectly with Edward Said’s description of ‘Orientalism’ though referring of course in this case to Mexicans rather than Arabs (Said 1995).7

Overall I am not arguing that people who love Breaking Bad are wrong or mistaken. I appreciate the quality and complexity of the show, but there are good reasons for not liking it that are not only matters of taste. Many of my objections are rooted in how I understand the world—not just what I like but what I want to like. It is political. It’s not a knee-jerk reaction to violence; I don’t have a huge problem with that. It’s a reaction to how the society is represented and also to the meaning of entertainment. I don’t want to watch horrible people doing horrible things to one another unless there is some underlying theme that I can relate to or at least some charm. I just don’t find that here.

Breaking Bad is about the failure of society. It represents a society that creates only people who are evil or stupid or uncaring. There are no good people in Breaking Bad. I am capable of watching and enjoying shows about the dystopia of the current world but I need some hope. I am not entirely cynical—I think the world can be improved. Because I think that while people can act badly there is still a hope that they can act well. Breaking Bad does not.

Image Credits:
1. AMC’s Breaking Bad
2. Walt’s wife Skyler White, played by Anna Gunn
3. Walt’s brother-in-law Hank Schrader, played by Dean Morris

Please feel free to comment.

image_print
  1. Hudson, L. 2013. ‘Die Like a Man: The Toxic Masculinity of Breaking Bad.’ Wired. []
  2. Kovvali, S. 2013. ‘Breaking Bad’s Big Critique of the Macho (and Its Problem With Women).’ The Atlantic. []
  3. Gunn, A. 2013. ‘I Have a Character Issue’. The New York Times. New York. []
  4. The characters are: Marie Schrader, Skylar White, Jane Margolis (season 2), Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (season 5) Gretchen Schwartz and Andrea Cantillo. []
  5. Not necessarily Hispanic people because I think that the issues with Gus Fring, a non-Mexican Hispanic man, are different. []
  6. I have since watched to the end of season five in the hope that I would grow to like the show again. []
  7. Said, E. W. 1995. Orientalism. London: Penguin. []

50 comments

  • It’s so nice to see someone articulate a lot of the things that have always bothered me about Breaking Bad. I find specifically, when it comes to the gender roles, people give me a lot of push back for a lot of these reasons. With the gender roles, I think a lot of people will argue that while the show indeed reeks with masculinity, it punishes it’s characters for acting this way. But so often, characters find success for these actions, even if this success ultimately goes away. Further, the entire premise of the show involves a man feeling emasculated by his wife, and this is at the stage in the show where Walter has yet to become a villain.

    I feel bad I’ve never considered the race angle of the show. I think I was often caught up with the general mysticism to see the racial angle. It almost harkens back to the problematic magic negro trope.

    But overall, I think there’s something incredibly interesting to consider here in terms of character and television. I think when you said ” I just don’t want to spend time with these people. They annoy me”, it reflects a really interesting element of storytelling specific to TV. I wouldn’t have tired of Walter White over a 2 hour feature, but after a couple seasons of TV, I just couldn’t stand these people anymore. Maybe in Television, likeability does continue to be a factor. Tony Soprano, for all his mistakes, is still likeable. After enough bad decisions and terrible acts, can we still handle a character on TV? I wonder what specifically about Breaking Bad‘s characters made me tire of them so quickly.

  • I liked Breaking Bad. But I didn’t love it. My roommate was a huge fan, and by association, I watched the last 2 seasons, pretty much as they were airing. Like you, the whole way through the show, I was struck by how effectively produced it was, from writing to acting all the way up to color-palette control. I realized, once the show had ended, what the primary issue was – at the end of the day, I just didn’t care. I didn’t care what happened to the characters, or how the story ended, because I didn’t care about the characters. And for a long while, I was trying to pinpoint what it was holding me from engaging. Then, because I didn’t care that much to begin with, I stopped thinking about it. Two months later, I started watching the Sopranos for the first time, and I think a lot snapped into focus for me about my issue with Breaking Bad.

    Now, I don’t want to sound like an unthinking fanboy, but the Sopranos is leagues better than Breaking Bad. think, fundamentally it is a fair comparison, as they are both dramas centered around an illicit industry, with strong community ties. Both, of course, feature strong, morally-tainted leading men. Now, there are a few things that the Sopranos does better than Breaking Bad. For one, as far as complex gender questions go, Carmella Soprano is one of the most interesting and important characters ever on screen. The frank discussion of racism made by the Sopranos is another. Both of these problems for Breaking Bad are mentioned by you in your article, and I agree with you about them. But, these particular topics are not the reason I prefer the Sopranos. In fact, the reason that Breaking Bad fails, where the Sopranos succeeds, is precisely something you have pinpointed as one of the strengths of Breaking Bad – sense of humor. Sopranos has it, and Breaking Bad doesn’t.

    Now, here’s the thing. I mentioned this to my roommate, and he took it rather badly. He gave evidence of several moments where absurd (funny) things happen, or where characters make funny comments – often in a form of gallows humor. Fair, but I didn’t buy it. They do and say some funny things.They are witty. They are able to tease or provoke in a funny way. But that does not make them funny people. What makes the Sopranos characters funny, and those from Breaking Bad not, is that Breaking Bad characters take themselves too damn seriously. I cannot remember a single moment where Walt or Jesse or any of the main characters are aware of the absurdity of their exploits, and then mock themselves about it. Sure, they are aware and cry, or are aware and shout. But never are they aware of their state, and laugh about it. Walt never breaks character, in that he never seems to look at himself, and say something like, “Christ, I’m just a fucking chemistry teacher, how the hell did this happen to me??” or something even funnier that the writers could have thought up… As a result of this inability to at least occasionally view the humor in their ridiculous situation, the characters for me are never really that funny. They never poke fun at themselves. Compare now the almost constant barrage of counterexamples in the Sopranos. Tony is more sophisticated a character than Walt, because every now and then, in between his acts of despicableness, he refers to himself as nothing more than a crook from New Jersey. He can see his actions in a bigger context than the simple seriousness of the context in which he is acting. Walter seems incapable of doing this, and as such, is not as funny as Tony, and hence, Bada Bing, I don’t care about him as much.

    The question of why I find someone who is self-deprecating more interesting than someone who isn’t, is perhaps too big and personal a discussion for the comments section. But I suspect it is similar to the conclusion your reach at the end of your article – that you are looking for someone who provides hope for salvation, even if it never comes; even if they don’t deserve it. Walt takes himself so seriously that he feels almost inhuman to me, and hence I don’t relate or care. Tony, on the other hand, through every crisis, from murder to marital strife, seems at least partially aware that he is fallible and flawed. More than that though, he can laugh at himself about it.

  • Jamez Ahmad (seiling)

    I really enjoyed your argument in relation to Breaking Bad. I also did not enjoy the show and stopped watching it sometime in before season four. Like Ben, I only invested in it because some of my friends were obsessed with the show. I can agree that it is well shot, well acted, and the production value is quite remarkable, but this was not enough for me to connect to the show and it’s story. I agree with the issues of gender and race that you discuss in your argument, but I would add that there are elements of homophobia that lace some of the interactions between Walt and Jesse even if in these instances it is merely colloquial references it still bothered me nonetheless.

    I prefer shows with strong female characters and this show that carried on with essentially only two women just didn’t do it for me. The character of Skyler was extremely disappointing for most of the episodes that I managed to finish watching. I started to see some light in her character after she kicked Walt out of the home, but I felt there were constant regressions in the strength and tenacity of her character. Her sister was also a disappointing representation of women on screen and I am still not able to find enough words to describe her kleptomania and the denial she maintains about it throughout the show. This does however make me think about notions of hysteria and the ways in which women have been depicted/diagnosed as slightly unhinged. I would also agree that the main focus does seem to be this reclamation of masculinity for Walt. He starts as a simple and weak character that upon discovering himself at death’s door decides to assert himself (this probably appeals to a lot of male audience members who have spent a life time not standing up for themselves in their daily lives).

    I also feel that you brought up some great points about the issues of how race is depicted in the show but you did not mention many of the racial slurs that Hank “exchanges” with other members of the DEA. He constantly berates his coworkers for their Mexican (or Latin) heritage and when he moves to the El Paso DEA team his use of epithets continues.

    Whether it is the fact that the characters aren’t as self-reflexive as one might need in order to make them more likeable or because they don’t really engage with their on screen community in more detailed ways, Breaking Bad did not manage to captivate my attention. As a side note I feel like they did not even attempt to really examine the impact of drug use or the struggles of people battling cancer in a realistic way. Walt recovered fairly quickly initially (since I’m not sure if he stays in remission) and Jesse’s seems to function fairly well with or without his fix.

  • I saw Breaking Bad in its entirety, and I have enjoyed it. However, many things about it bothered me, and you have touched on a good chunk of them. It’s interesting – and worrisome – that this show has reached such an “unquestionable” level of “unanimous” acclaim that we feel the need to apologize and justify ourselves before voicing any criticism of it. And I really wonder why that is. What is so “universally” great about it?

    Breaking Bad had a LOT of narrative quality – it was very tightly plotted, always remembered its own history (except with things like the plane crash that became irrelevant very quickly), and always made use of clever narrative devices. It was a show that made viewers feel smart and sophisticated without demanding much actual intellectual effort. And I say that as a huge compliment – that is my type of show. But I don’t believe the average viewers will tune in every week to watch a show that is super well-plotted, or a show that has amazing camera angles. What makes someone care about a show is their emotional connection to the characters’s journeys. And that might reveal some disturbing things. What were so many people connecting with?

    You have touched on these problematic aspects. At the heart of Breaking Bad is the story of a “loser” becoming a “badass”, and having “moral justification” to do it. Yes, even after Walter breaks completely bad, the show clearly still wants you to fully understand where he’s coming from. Even though I enjoyed the story, I found that very bothersome from a feminist viewpoint.

    First of all, what is the definition of “loser” in Breaking Bad? Having a subpar job (even though you have a beautiful family you love), not having enough money, having a wife who gives you a handjob while surfing eBay (even though she WAS giving him a handjob and was recently impregnated by him – clear signs they had an active sex life even after 15+ years of marriage), and having a brother-in-law who is more macho than him. Basically, a loser is someone who Is Not Man Enough. And both of Walter’s justifications in his journey toward evil (both of which the audience is meant to empathize with) are about Becoming a Real Man: first he says he needs to provide for his family (the ultimate Male Family Role). Secondly, he admits he liked being respected and feared (the ultimate Male Power Aspiration). In either case, it’s about how he needed to perform his gender role to its entirely, or face humiliation, frustration, and inescapable unfulfillment.

    That is something everyone was supposed to relate to– and so many people DID. Even women. Even me. What does it say about society that we are supposedly on board with a character who lies, cheats, steals, and murders, all in the name of Feeling Like a Real Man? Why do we feel like that is a reasonable goal? What does it say about our values, our ideas of gender roles, our ideas of how life is supposed to work?

    Of course Skyler White was an unlikable character. I could tell that Vince Gilligan tried to make her three-dimensional and multi-layered – but as the wife of the main character in a story that is INHERENTLY sexist, it would be structurally impossible to make her anything but the antagonist.

  • As one of the obsessive fans of Breaking Bad that Jamez references in his comment, I have a reflexive desire to leap to the show’s defense against any comprehensive criticism. Nevertheless, I found your claims about Gender Issues, Community and Racism compelling. Mexicans appear only as dangerous disruptions to the lives of the show’s white characters—they either cannot speak (Hector Salamanca), choose not to speak (the Cousins) or chatter until their words become meaningless (Tuco Salamanca). They express only greed, hatred or rage, or—in the case of the Cousins—nothing at all. Similarly, the female characters in Breaking Bad became plot problems rather than carefully constructed portraits of humanity. Skyler’s vacillating reactions to her husband’s descent into crime increasingly seemed like excuses to prevent her from either telling the authorities about Walter’s crimes or taking some other form of direct action against him. In the minefield of potential plot holes that Breaking Bad developed, Skyler became something like the cell phone in a horror movie about people isolated from civilization–an obstacle to rather than a thought-out part of a predetermined narrative. And, while I was not bothered by the fact that Jesse almost never interacts with Marie (it seems to me that they would have little reason to meet), the show’s consistently small cast often gives Walter White’s world the feel of a chamber play rather than a nuanced portrait of the drug trade or of southwestern suburbia. Vince Gilligan constructed a facsimile of our world with what he hopes are enough recognizable features to keep our disbelief suspended while he weaves enclosed and intricate plot puzzles for White (and the audience) to work through in increasingly complicated ways. Although Gilligan’s simplifications of reality occasionally distanced me, I was consistently entertained.

    I was intrigued by your claim that Walter White was “unlikeable” not because of his crimes but because of his lack of self-awareness and his dysfunctional masculinity. Literature is filled with such characters (although literature is also filled with men): one does not easily sympathize with the petulant braggart Achilles, or with the abusive patriarch Lear, both of whom suffer for their lack of self-awareness and for their efforts to maintain their manly self-images at any cost (to what degree is the current American model of masculinity either current or American?). I wouldn’t say that I enjoy spending time with these characters and I often find their blindness about their shortcomings frustrating but I do find them compelling. Doomed character arcs can still engage audiences because tragedy portrays experiences and draws out emotions that uplifting dramas never could. The reverse is also true, of course, but my point is that many people make the same mistakes over and over again or fail to recognize their own shortcomings—characters who do the same, particularly in extreme ways, give us the chance to recognize our faults as part and parcel of the human experience. Few of us become meth cooks or kingpins, but many men struggle with feelings of inadequacy, a reluctance to display vulnerability, and, of course, most people struggle to avoid repeating past mistakes. Some people fail.

    The two anti-hero shows that you express admiration for in your introductory section—The Wire and Deadwood—both feature lead male characters who are misogynistic, arrogant, reticent to express emotion and quick to anger. What makes the reckless womanizer McNulty or the abusive pimp Swearengen more “forgivable” than Walter White or Hank Schrader? The most significant difference between White and his HBO counterparts seems to be that White grows more and more immoral (or amoral) while McNulty and Swearengen increasingly seem like potentially compassionate souls trapped in dysfunctional self-images. To the degree that Swearengen and McNulty develop into less problematic masculine personalities, they seem to me to present a more idealized vision of American masculinity, one in which our current personal problems (although certainly not our societal problems in The Wire) are haltingly but inevitably progressing towards betterment (even in the 1870s!). Walter White, however, has neither the poetic imagination for Swearengen’s self-questioning soliloquies nor Tony Soprano’s therapy. I found your observations about Breaking Bad’s problematic portrayals of gender, community and race compelling, but I feel that Walter White’s inability to objectively assess and resolve in own dysfunctional masculinity presents a step towards complexity for protagonist-driven television narratives, which often present the sort of uplifting but unrealistically swift and teleological character arcs that, for instance, soap operas and other multi-protagonist genres have long resisted.

  • I Netflixed all of Breaking Bad so that I would be able to talk about it from an informed perspective. I think you’ve perfectly explained why I found it so fundamentally unsatisfying. There’s something deeply frustrating about such a well-made show leaving me feeling so empty. My conclusion at the end was that Walter White is basically a goddamn psychopath, and the entire show was about watching him embrace his own psychopathy. Fucking great: as a good and decent person (at least I try to be), what exactly am I supposed to glean from that? To be fair, Breaking Bad was so wonderfully executed that it was downright compelling for much of its length, but it didn’t teach me anything new. I got nothing out of it except a vague sense of alienation and bewilderment over the slavering universal acclaim it receives. I recognized some of the big themes at work — toxic masculinity being a major — but I don’t think it ever really, like, *said* much about it. Breaking Bad, to me, is a true example of a plot-driven show.

    Battlestar Galactica is much, much better. It can be every bit as dark and disquieting as Breaking Bad, its production values are equally top-shelf, it has a great deal of substance and much to say about people and society, and most importantly it has central characters who feel truly relatable. It’s serious TV but it has the soul that Breaking Bad lacks.

  • I’m very sorry, but I have to completely and utterly disagree with you – I found your arguments to be at best dishonest, ill thought out and lacking consistency, riddled with contradictions, and you also seem to have a core misunderstanding of how to honestly review media and how storytelling itself can even functionally work in order to be considered engaging and interesting.
    You’re criticism devolves quickly into, by extension, two things, “These people are flawed, and not mary-sues, therefore I don’t like any of them.”
    Real people are flawed and complex, and Breaking Bad accurately captures this.
    Not everything is black and white, and the best modern shows tend to show ‘grey and gray morality’. This is strange, as you say you have no qualm with “anti-heroes”.
    But, your further analysis runs directly into absolute non-sequiturs, and further suggests that your entire reviewing model is, “Does this story or piece of media exclusively promote my strong ideological bias and doctrinal political agenda? If not, it is bad and problematic.”
    This is much like a Christian or Muslim reviewing Breaking Bad and concluding they do not like it and it is bad for society because it does not promote their God or their holy text.
    You say that the show is about masculinity and “Toxic Masculinity” but do not explain what this is or what it means.
    I argue the show is much more about the dangers of corruption, fatherhood and feelings of squandered potential, the key to the monster Walter becomes – whilst he also does many bad things, he tries to do many good things we must note – is that his greed stems from him wanting to make up for the lost money Grey Matter made, that he lost out on, and he wants to leave for his children before he dies, but ends up being corrupted by the corrupt industry he gets himself into very quickly.
    You say hate forums are dedicated to Skylar, yet provide no link to them.
    Skylar is also confused and flawed as Walt is, she is shown to be a human being.

    Just because Walter is the protaganist doesn’t make the show sexist.
    Just because more men are villified in the show, doesn’t make it sexist.

    More problematically you suggest that people do not like Skylar because she is “someone who thinks for herself.”
    This is not true. She acts illogically many times and develops a hatred for Walt – he’s no longer the man she married. Skylar is resistant to taking the dirty money but is also very condenscing and dictates a lot of things Walter does at first, and she actually starts to feel confused and annoyed when Walter himself begins thinking for himself and keeping her completely out of the loop. This marital dispute is central to much of the show. She is a well written representation of somebody who feels out of control of the situation and scared for her family’s safety – but many people felt that she should just take the money for her family, but her puritan morality won’t allow her to until much later on, after she has an affair, nonetheless, and kicks him out of his own home, which he respects, surprisingly.
    Never does she truly turn him in, though, as she loves him.

    You call Hank “Racist” yet fail to accept that he is a hard working police officer with a great sense of humour, and a lot of men have BANTER with other men. His long time partner and best friend Gomez, who he affectionately refers to as “Gomie” is sat with him when he makes racial slurs. Would his best friend be of hispanic descent if he truly was racist? This is something that people do. They say racist things, satirically, to make fun of the attitude, and no one cares, in this case – Gomez isn’t offended, so why should you be?

    And you know what?
    Mexico IS dangerous. It DOES have cartels. It DOES have dangerous drug barons. There IS a lot of illicit activity and it’s population are indeed poor – so of course many of the problems Walt and Jesse face is due to Albuquerque being close to the Mexican border.

    CONTEXT, MATTERS.

    You say you like Walt because he has a sense of humour, and also that you dislike Hank – who is in many cases comedic relief on the show.

    You also state that you don’t like the fact the show is funny at times when it’s a drama, but comedy and laughter are also part of what makes us find people likable, and Breaking Bad gets so grim, we NEED that to not feel depressed and remain invested to remind us that these people are human.
    Any dark material usually requires this, otherwise it gets very bleak and boring.

    Breaking Bad is also a black comedy, as well as a drama, and is listed as such.

    Society is a problem of image in the show – however to show more characters than necessary would create too many characters and deter focus.
    In the gym hall scene, Walt notes many students are trying to use the crash as an excuse to bunk off, and interjects because he has done and seen much more horror, but moves on.

    You seem to suggest communities are something small out of the 1920’s where everyone knows everyone else’s business, which in this era simply isn’t the case – how would this improve the show?

    Ultimately you realise the show is brilliantly acted and written, and your complaints about it are minor and only really as you admit, due to the fact it does not validate your own silly political sensibilities, which simply is not honest review.
    You, to me, seem to be making it up because white men are in it, and I find that to be very annoying, perplexing and problematic.

    Challenges constantly arise for characters to have to deal with or overcome. This is the effectiveness of storytelling and Breaking Bad.

    MEN are usually MASCULINE, and this comes with it’s own challenges in identity, thoughts, and actions, but to demonize ideas of “Masculinity” without elaborating on what this is or what it means to you, is fruitless, and most of your conjecture and objection are just blanket statements with little reasoning.

    Finally, if you can’t relate or like people with different genitalia to yourself, don’t watch it.

    If you’re problem is that Skylar and Marie are to a degree, ‘housewives’, then fine, however, there ARE plenty of women who don’t work and focus on raising children, especially when pregnant. This is real. This is a thing. Don’t be surprised if it is represented in our media.

    There are good people in Breaking Bad, most of whom have just made bad decisions (such as Jesse, who is arguably one of the most moral characters in the show, and Walter Jr, and Hank is actually very Lawful, he’s just slightly potty mouthed)

  • I agree- I don’t like Breaking Bad either.

    You could have left out the gender issue though. The single, and only people who are CONSTANTLY, without a break, complaining is not about:

    how hard it is to be a man.

    It is exactly the opposite. Without consideration of any facts, at this time of date one thing is repeated millions of times, which is getting boring:

    how hard it is to be a woman

    Fixed that for you.

  • And I thought I was the only one who hated Breaking Bad and I made a mistake of watching the finale, which wasn’t exciting at all. Poor characters, lack of good dialogue, and idiotic scenes (like meth making in people’s homes, DEA calls his wife at the scene, how they got to the burial site of the $)… almost banged my head against the wall. Wanted badly to shoot up all the characters.

  • I actually don’t think it’s well-acted, at least by its protagonist Bryan Cranston. I write fiction, so I’m always paying extremely close attention to character, even in TV shows, and…I just don’t believe the performance. At best he is just okay. At worst he is guilty of overacting.

    There were also some structural aspects of the story that bothered me. The whole thing with the airplane footage in season 2***SPOILER*** only to find out that the plane crashes because Jesse’s girlfriend’s father was an air traffic controller. I guess you would call it a red herring, but whenever a show, movie or book resorts to tricking its audience members, I have to think it’s because they couldn’t figure out a better way to entertain them.

    I know people swear by this show. I just have to swear at it.

  • What I get from this post is that you would like television shows to be always the same, to have the same base (talking about community) and be moral guides.
    I agree with you aboutn Hank he’s annoying, but that’s the point, as I see it at the end all of the characters could be hated or loved or both things at the same time, they all had bad and good things, they all were right at times and wrong at others, that’s humanity.

    Now, I’m mexican, I live in Mexico City and yes, we are pretty normal (must of us) but you would be amazed of how religion and people’s beliefs affect our society, the way people is pictured in the show praising the image of a saint or any religious image for that matter is not that far from reality, you should be in my city every 11 – 12 of December, the things showd in Breaking Bad of people crawling to go see a religious image can be seen in every street that sorrounds “La Villa”.

  • Without giving any reason, I just didn’t like it. It lacked depth in some way.

    However, True Detective is the best tv series I have ever watched; especially Maconnaughey’s existentialist talking.

  • Ugh this! It’s so problemtic and it destroys how good the writing and production could have been. Orange is the New Black is SO much better!

  • I don’t like Breaking Bad either. I was never dragged into it. None of the characters were likeable. To some people, that might be a positive thing, but to me that means I won’t care about them. At all. Jesse was the most annoying character of all to me, and he was such a cliche of a somewhat brainless thug he became even more annoying. I just couldn’t relate to either of them, and I felt the premise of the show was extremely far-fetched too (even by American standards).

    Even before Walter White became this drug lord, his personality was probably the least intersting I’ve ever seen on TV. Some people say that’s the “point”, that he’s a nobody who turns into a wealthy drug lord, but I don’t admire him becoming a drug lord, nor do I think he becomes a more interesting person. He didn’t seem to me like a very moral person to begin with, so I am not shocked with his actions. He didn’t seem like he cared about his family, he tried with his son but it never felt real.

    I just didn’t feel the show at all. No sympathetic characters. Cliched story lines (I’ve never liked the drug/gang-themed shows, they get repetetive fast). Various problematic aspects, which you mention. Boring/completely lacking character interaction. It just was a show completely without chemistry. Not in terms of the writing, of the character relations, not at all.

  • I loved the show for all the reasons you dont like it.

  • THANK YOU – finally someone jumps out to say something about the sexist and macho things about Breaking Bad. I like the story, the setting, the language (I major linguistics in college), and the acting skills, but I don’t like the cultural thinking that some characters are trying to express. Me on the contrary, like Hank a lot, but hate Walter White very much. First about Hank…in the first three seasons he was the hope to me, to keep me in faith that though among all the piles of shit happening to everyone, someone’s still holding up. He’s rough, rude, but he’s caring and believing the good thing in his family. But I do believe that Marie is to designed to contrast his kindness, to make the audience think that Hank is generous even having a stealing and degenerating wife like that.
    As to Walt, the reason why I hate him is that he’s no more than a chauvinistic hypocrite. Through out the five seasons he keeps yelling to us that everything he does is for the precious family. I can get along with the collateral damage that his meth business brings along, after all, when there’s a doing there’s a consequence, but his thinking that the whole world owes him an apology for his ill-fortune is unbearable. Him getting cancer justifies his breaking law, him pointing his finger at Skyler for being angry and cold when she found out his drug dealing, him asking Skyler to act normal and forgive unconditionally for all the harm “because he is all for good cause”, etc.. His only time to show remorse is that when he’s on the verge of being killed, but when the gun moves away, he’s back to treat his family, especially Skyler, like some disposable person with empty sugar words. Love is something he thinks he can give when he has some casual free time, his business demands absolute space and no one should fuss, but the privilege is his only. Skyler becomes a villain, “a bitch mother”, who is unreasonable and horrible, when she wants some time or taking revenge by smoking, kicking Walter out, and doing some actual help, like money laundering.
    I’ve never thought about the racist issue in this TV series, but I do agree with you that the two killer brothers in season three deserve more stories to tell and that would make the whole series much more profound.
    —–
    P.S. I don’t know one can have a PhD in TV…in my country, there’s no such thing. But thank you for this article, it’s a good work.

  • I didn’t want to watch Breaking Bad because I didn’t think that a story of a chemistry teacher selling meth was a story I’d latch onto. But after enduring years of people telling me how amazing the show is – the final straw was sitting in a bar with a group of other writers and actors and listening while they were yabbering about it. And then the lecturer who is a big time Hollywood writer said, “Well if you haven’t seen Breaking Bad, fuck you.” I decided to watch all 5 seasons in roughly a week to see what the fuss was about. Initially I liked it. I liked how the two stooges hoodwinked the police, Walt’s ahole brother Hank, and there was also the backstory of the two idiot sisters. I think the moment where I switched of was when Walt let Jane die.

    Walt let Jane die. OK, so he’s become more ruthless. Fine. But why is he still allowing loose ends to run? The story after that descends into farcical. Each episode seemed to remind of the old 1980s tv story A-Team, except that in Breaking Bad the main people don’t die and go out of their way to placate Walt.

    Characters like Frng are suppose to be super cautious but why is Walt and Jesse allowed to drive to the main meth lab ? Shouldn’t they drive to a parking lot somewhere and be taken to the main location blindfolded by Victor? It doesn’t make sense.

    Frng is also suppose to be super cautious but he allows Walt and Jesse to see his face and even shows them his home which is unguarded. He’s a drug lord – it doesn’t make sense.

    Its also irritating to the point of exasperation to watch Walt and Jesse do the same stupid mistakes repeatedly. They keep screwing up. Jesse is such a stupid moron who doesn’t seem to think and gets people killed as a result.

    We also know that Walt can be an unforgiving idiot – which is why he angrily refused to take any money from his two University friends who formed the tech giant Grey Matter. Then why does he so easily forgive his wife for giving his entire drug money to a man she has been having an adulterous affair with? It doesn’t make sense.

    After Jane’s death it became obvious to me that the characters are just playing for laughs. You can see the puppet strings but its not amusing anymore. When the neo-Nazis showed up I didn’t really care anymore – the writers could have put in Darth Vader and Stormtroopers or resurrected Hitler.

    I found the story unbelievable.

    And oh gosh why didn’t Walt’s sanctimonious kleptomaniac sister in law get killed???? It doesn’t make sense.

    It also doesn’t make sense that Walt after ordering the murder of so many people is going to be lovey dovey over his ahole DEA brother-in-law esp when it involves the destruction of everything he worked so hard for.

    Fring if he was the sort of meticulous warlord that he was – would have had Hank executed in Season 4 once he learned of his connection with Walt. And it would have been so easy – get a couple of gangsters to go to his home in the dead of night and kill him and his crazy wife. Then tell Walt – hey I didn’t do it – they were cartel gangsters who wanted to get revenge for the deaths of the three mobsters. But don’t worry I’ll protect you ok? if you work for me?

    His whole entire family ought to have executed by mexican gangsters or neo nazis or the ruthless killers he’s worked with. Its ridiculous. Its like seeing a man coat himself with blood – jump into a tiger’s cage – kick the tiger’s balls – bring him home – and expect to not watch his family get eaten by the enraged beasts.

    After all the things that Walt had done – all the people and lives that he destroyed – his family should have been dead meat halfway through Season 5. Its unbelievable that the neo Nazi leader would let Walt walk because Walt had seen their faces. It would have made perfect sense for them to bring him and Jesse back to their base and torture the shit out of both of them as they cooked the meth for them. Meanwhile kidnapping Walt’s entire family and holding them hostage in a separate location – or executing them and dumping their bodies somewhere else and telling Walt a lie. If he doesn’t believe them – well, there’s Jesse that they can work with.

    And the ending. OK, I liked the song but was it satisfying that Walt get a happy ending? After all the suffering and misery that he put people through? The two jetliners that crashed? The death of Jane?

  • Walt got a happy ending? Are you even remotely kidding me?

  • You can sum up author and commenter sentiments like this:

    “It made me uneasy or uncomfortable, to the point I did not relate to (and didn’t want to) the characters”.

    You all are entitled to your opinions of course. This show obviously isn’t for everybody. I wouldn’t show it to my 7 and 8 year olds. But that is telling, isn’t it? The fact that you are disgusted when some particular art doesn’t conform to your tastes. All the arguments applied here can be made about every other show mentioned.

    So the show didn’t make you feel all warm and tingly inside every episode? I think we have seen greater human travesties.

    How many times was I made to read so-called ‘masterpieces’ in school, that, uh um.. I didn’t like?

    The Hobbit? Shit.
    Catcher in the Rye? Shit.
    The Great Gatsby? Shit.
    Macbeth? Shit. (Which is not to say that all of Shakespeare is so. But this one is. And for pretty much the same reasons you stated, but I argue are much more justifiably. I do not relate, nor cannot relate to the soap opera and depression problems of stuffy 11th century Medieval royalty. What is your excuse? You never regarded your office janitor as third world peasantry? Bullshit. You never considered what it might be like to be an underachieving, yet brilliant chemist/scientist? Probably because you don’t understand brilliance, in either yourself or those around you. You don’t understand or can’t relate to the fact that law enforcement requires bravado and machismo, almost by necessity? You can’t see yourself getting diagnosed with a serious disease with inadequate resources to deal with it? You aren’t trying. You can’t see yourself as a drug addict or junkie? Neither can I, but I am going to let you in on a little secret: there are people out there who are in this lifestyle. Moreover, this is not a reality show about your life. Nor is it one that is primarily about Gomez. Or Marie. Those characters have warmth like you wanted. And shows about them would be insanely boring.)

    Why does all literature have to be social commentary for you people? Or worse, why must all literature actually INFORM and INFLUENCE society in the ways YOU see as positive? This is not a story about those things. It is just a story. And a very well told one, even on your own admission.

    My guess is, you didn’t give it much of a chance. Not that you are required to. Are you requiring yourself to? If so, this is your own problem. I don’t see much in this opinion piece of much value at all. It gives us no insight into the show, only insight into you; and I seriously doubt this was your intent.

  • Great article! I am so glad someone said it, and so well explained… i watched every season, with an open mind, but I find this show so hard to like, for all the reasons you mention. In the end i really didn’t care for any character, specially the main ones.

  • You are very right in many of your considerations. However I think you judge all from a very social mindset… I’m studying sociology my self so I recognise many of the themes you bring up. Thus I do not disagree. However I think you miss seeing the other side of it… the individuals of the society. It’s about breaking free of a life which the society and norm we have taken upon us from the society. It’s about individuals taken controls of our own lifes and think differently that what they were told to be right… and I think that is a brilliant message to send in today’s world were we are so focused on what other people think about us and what we should do. It makes me feel free watching the series and I think that’s why so many loves this serie. And in the end there is always issues in the world…. thus, it can be avoided in series to so why hate it for that?However its all about how we approach the world/society in order to develop and take control of our life’s. Just like a good old fairytale; )

  • I have a huge dislike for this show. It’s well made, performances are great, but the story is overshadowed with ugly male self-indulgence.

    At the top of the series it’s easy to feel sympathy for Walt and his struggles with money, his indifferent loutish students and the horrific news that he has lung cancer.

    It’s so not easy to empathize with his “salvation” through becoming a hyper-masculine, violent dominating asshole. These types of characters, so vaunted by audiences, are tiresome, predictable and grepellent. Tony Soprano, Al Swearengen, Don Draper, Walter White are all narcissists I do not want to spend a moment of my leisure time with. Unfortunately the sexist men and women who create these shows write and visualize these destructive sociopaths as charismatic and central to the narrative. The biggest fuckhead gets the most of our attention. Awesome.

    I like the extraordinary advances in the quality of visual and literary storytelling that have occurred in the past decade, but the reification of emotionally stunted male characters casts a pall over otherwise quality work. When Walter White tells his wife to “Climb down out of my ass”, I believe I was supposed to be impressed with his assertive manliness, but all I could think was “Go fuck yourself you fucking baby. You are abusing the one person who cares for you.”

    There’s nothing heroic here and the supposedly-mesmerizing anti-hero that has taken cable programming by storm is just so much misogyny in its latest outfit.

  • People love Breaking Bad but very few people can tell you why.

    I found it was a rip off. The narrative is weak, they have not a real idea what they want to do, you sense very soon the only aim of the author is to make you dependant, to bait you. They end every episode with a question mark and you have to wait for the next episode where they find an extremely complicated way to answer their own question, destroying what they spent time to build. It’s a mess, there is no unity in the show. It’s not written from A to Z but written episode after episode. The question mark at the end of the episode is simply there because they have no idea! So you have so many ridiculous things happening like the two planes colliding just above the garden, like the death of Gus, etc etc they have to find solutions and keep on the show going on and everytime it’s a bit more ridiculous, a bit more artificial, hard to believe. At times it’s like watching a modern version of McGuyver. It’s extremely weak and ridiculous !

    It’s also extremely hypocritical and eventually conservative and coward. Walt is making drugs, but he’s a good guy right? You never see really his dark side. It’s always hardly in the show, the balance between good and bad is messy and shallow unlike in the Sopranos or the Wire. Messy because they simply don’t know how to do it or don’t have the balls to do it. There is no counterpower, lots of weak characters like the son or even his wife who is just there to give him some substance. The two interesting characters that were Gus and Ehrmantraut were simply destroyed, not only killed but before that they destroyed what made them interesting. Stupid.
    The only moral is it’s good to make money, whatever it takes.

    I see it as an show of improvised writing. And overall a shallow Entertainment with lots of explosions and blood masking a lack of substance. Besides it’s pretentious and hypocrit.
    Give me anything intelligent like the Sopranos or the Wire anytime instead. You can have entertainment without taking the viewer for naive and stupid.

    (sorry for my English)

  • I watched Breaking Bad a couple times through. I found it entertaining to a point, but I have the same basic problem as I had with Weeds. In both cases, I find it awfully racially condescending that essentially middle class suburban white people are more intelligent and strategic thinking then every cop or bad guy they run into. The bad guys, in most cases, are Mexicans that can all be outsmarted. The shows end up being white suburban ego trips.

  • First let me say that I am a middle class white conservative Christian. Secondly, I did not completely read every posting or the original article, but I did skim every post.

    I watched the original series and am now going through my second viewing of Netflix as I write this.

    I think that Breaking Bad was one of the best shows ever created. Overall, I felt the acting was spot on as far as how people would react in Real life, as another post mentioned, it was not in the grey area.

    I think some of the posts saying it was sexist, racist, masculine and such are living in the “feelings” world. Oh we can’t say that, we can’t think that.

    I didn’t like Hanks character, but guess what? He’s one of the types of guys that serve his country and protect us. He also knew when he was wrong. Many of the people in this country want to emasculate the male today. Masculinity is what helped build our country, masculinity is what men were created with. And no, I don’t mean being abusive , with masculinity comes responsibility.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with a mother staying home raising a family.

    If Hank was the racist that the knee jerk “feelings” crowd says he is, then he wouldn’t have the relationship that he has with his partner.

    Who knows maybe some of the people that watched it and didn’t like it, thought it was too true to reality and too much like the world we live in and maybe that makes them “feel” uncomfortable.

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  • I realize this article is from awhile ago, but I wanted to respond, and other people still seem to be commenting.

    I watched all 5 seasons. TV is my business, and I thought it was important to be informed about what is popular and well regarded in TV. I wanted to be able to discuss it. I stuck with it season after season, expecting some glowing light to burst from it. I would suddenly understand. This! This is why it’s so loved! That moment never happened. I waited all the way through the series finale.

    And actually, I give the episode The Fly a complete pass. Great episode of television. Why couldn’t it have been more like that?!

    In trying to figure out why I was connecting with this universally revered show, I had to realize, “well, this show just wasn’t made for me.” And obviously there’s no great sin in that, in and of itself. The problem that I have, is the people this show WAS made for are going to dictate what gets made next.

    I view Breaking Bad as male wish fulfillment (not reality, as someone on here commented earlier. Where do you live, dude?) for all the middle-aged white men (who are already the target audience of so much of media, and the makers of almost all of it).

    Part of my frustration was that upon it’s initial release, it toyed with the idea of being a dark comedy. I love dark comedy. That’s my genre. And I admit. the humor in Breaking Bad, when it there, is handled expertly and lands well. The creator himself fits the demographic and is calling people out. It’s like Mid-Life Crisis Gone Wild: the TV show. But it wasn’t. And it’s not a dark comedy. It’s a dark drama with fleeting moments of humor an no likeable characters.

    Again, fine, it’s not a show in the genre I would have chosen to tell the story. But when you use tell your story in the constraints of sexism and racism, that actually groundbreaking television is trying to break through, AND it’s touted as one of the greatest shows on TV…that’s a problem.

    What’s worse (or frustrating) is I have actually really like Vince Gilligan’s writing on other shows. He wrote my favorite ever episode of The X-Files (a dark comedic foray into the world of obsessive-compulsive vampires). He’s got fun ideas and writes solid scripts. I was really disappointed when he got the chance to write create his own show and made it into this.

  • “They annoy me.”

    Yes. Absolutely.

  • I have made a previous comment, but wanted to follow up.

    Everyone has a right to their political opinion, but I have an issue when Hollywood individuals use their status as a platform to promote their political views. When this happens, I lose respect for that Hollywood individual and typically stop watching their movies or shows.
    Bryan Cranston has now made that list.

  • Wow! Great analysis! Agree with all said. Hank is not a likeable character at all and the way he goes rouge due to his ego issues really makes him no better than Walt. Not a likeable rouge cop like an Al Pacino or Bruce Willis. Also he is condescending to women. Happy to see I’m not the only person who thought every character had deep flaws.

  • All of the reasons why you don’t like the show are why I love it. And by the way, you sound like a p*ssy. Go watch American Idol if you can’t handle a little adversity, my goodness

  • I’ve just finished the first season, and don’t think I’ll go on. It’s already leaving a bad taste in my mouth, and, from what I’ve read here, it’s looks like the subsequent seasons are more of the same. Oh, well. To each their own! Just wanted to know what the fuss was about. I’m glad I’m not alone!

  • Feels like this article was written by a 12-13 year old girl. All the reasons listed are so childish and global that can really be attributed to any movie ever made.

  • So you’re too sensitive for the show? You complain about “toxic masculinity” but fail to see, much of the shows driving force is about how dangerous walts insecurity and masculinity is. Take the scene where Walt is at Hanks house and they’re all having dinner and hank is going on about how much of a genius Gale Bedecker is and how he was a meth chef. Walt, having a little too much wine, interjects and says, “Hank I don’t mean to tell you your business, but ‘genius’? Not so much. What I saw in that journal was nothing more than wrote copying…probably of someone else’s work.” It’s moments like this that Breaking Bad shows how Walt’s masculinity complex and pride will be his downfall. The show doesn’t romanticize masculinity. You also call the show racist because most of the hispanics in the show are portrayed as dangerous gangsters. Well I’ve got some news for you. The Hispanic characters that Walt and Jesse were dealing with were part of the MEXICAN CARTEL. Would you have rather seen them be righteous, upstanding citizens? People like the ones in the show actually exist. And many of the Hispanic characters are quite respectable. Like Steve Gomez, and Gus Fring. I think you need to take a deep breath and try watching the show again from a more objective lens. You are looking for things to be offended about, and that is a problematic way to view shows like this.

  • Honestly you just sound like you’re too sensitive for the show. You agree that it is well shot, well written, well acted but then ruin your position as a critic by interjecting your own bias ie it’s not progressive enough, there’s things that are real things that I don’t like therefore it’s bad (racism, sexism). None of these are potrayed as positives, just portayed realisticly. As soon as you started throwing around words like “problematic” “toxic masculinity” I knew this was going to degrade into a SJW rant. PC shows are never good shows, because the world isn’t like that. You are looking for things to get offended about and all I can say is that makes you doing a PHD in TV an utter waste of time.

  • I think it’s important that we think about what entertains us and why. I feel like I know in my heart (and brain!) that sometimes people say they like or love a story for “reasons” like the writing or acting or whatever, but what’s really happening when they watch it is that they are having their deep-seated personal beliefs confirmed about their supposed race or gender superiority.

    People won’t admit this. They want others to like what they like because any underlying uneasiness they feel about its value gets set off when other people object to their entertainment choices. I think there is a better world available to us than the one we live in, this one, where violence and inequality are revered, absorbed, and practiced.

    But to get to a better world we have to end our love affair with “liking” to see injustice and suffering and sexism, etc. as entertainment. Maybe we should recognize that people who like to be entertained in this way really are at a certain place in their personal evolution and development. It means something. It’s real. It’s important. Maybe, dare I say it, it’s part of who they are. Don’t discount it. Some people not seeing this doesn’t mean we have to all pretend it’s no big deal.

  • My God, what a complete bunch of psychobabble nonsense.

    Basically what this comes down to is cry cry cry, the TV show doesn’t ahere to my ideological world view And biases.

    What an absolute ridiculous piece of literature.

  • “Basically what this comes down to is cry cry cry, the TV show doesn’t ahere to my ideological world view And biases.
    What an absolute ridiculous piece of literature.”
    Absolutely! There’s nothing about the story and characters. Just women underrepresentation and lack of conformance to feminist ideology.

  • “WHY DON’T I LIKE BREAKING BAD?”
    “I can see that the show is ‘good’”
    “Overall I am not arguing that people who love Breaking Bad are wrong or mistaken.”
    That’s it. It’s not a ‘rating’ or a ‘review’. Just a matter of personal taste. She doesn’t like it. Like some people don’t like spicy food, or meat or opera or sports or porn or video games or whatever. Get over it people. It’s not about you.

  • I really didn’t like breaking bad. The show simply lacks reality. You don’t do drugs business like that. Real life dealers are wolves. If you have seen Sicario or Narcos you would know. The police officers relutance to catch Jessie Pinkman. Though he was partially proved to be culprit multiple times. All of this makes feel it is just a perfectly made show. But doesn’t connect me well.

  • I agree with the points Oliver made about this post. As for the show itself…ridiculous. Up to the death of Tuco Salemanca the show was amazing. It could have ended there, but it kept going. I took issue with the fact that Walter was basically taken hostage by Gus Fring. Remember when Walter blew up Tuco’s hideout with “science”? “Sometimes you gotta rob to keep your riches, right Heisenberg?” That arc made the Gus Fring arc totally unbelievable. Then there was the issue that Gus considered Jesse to be unstable and wanted him dead. Walter protected him, but then Gus wanted Walter dead and no longer had an issue with Jesse.? I’ve seen better writing in bathroom stalls. While everyone else was babbling on about how spectacular BB was, I was watching Dexter. The only disappointment was the final episode. It failed to offer any of the closure that it’s viewership had hoped to gain. However, it did leave the door open to revisit Dexter in the future, which Michael C. Hall welcomes.

  • this is such a good commentary. I think the show is.. for the most part well written and shot, but the lack of any likable characters and the overt blaming of Walter’s wife creates a lack of ream emotional investment for me; aside from the constant problematic portrayal of mexicans on the show, Hank is a super racist aggressive cop, and him being portrayed as a hero makes me feel very angry

  • I absolutely love Breaking Bad. The flow of the story is so exceptional that I thought that it was based on a book. I am sorry to tell you this, but I think you simply have bad taste.

  • “It’s a good show but I don’t like it because I’m a whiny alt left crybaby”
    Get over yourself seriously, the show isn’t about masculinity it’s about ego, Walt’s ego grows because he knows that he’s doing something illegal and getting away with it right under the nose of EVERYONE. Skyler isn’t MEANT to be liked sure the internet took that too far, but that’s what the internet does, she’s supposed to give the antithesis of us liking Walt, the show challenges our point of view by putting us in the perspective shift of the bad guy because we still believe Walter is a good guy deep down, while we should hate Walter and like Skyler it’s the reversal because it’s challenging what we believe, it’s not misogyny or some gender issue, the same exact thing occurs between Hank and Walter, we should like Hank and root for him to take down Walter but we don’t.
    The racism angle really won’t win you any points, Mexico is shown in the cartel’s aspect, and it’s very little, alot of the supposed “mexico isn’t where normal people are” argument is overblown most of the Mexico scenes are done in two locations, Don Eladio’s backyard, and out in the rural desert area of Mexico, which no normal people typically don’t visit a drug tradeoff in the backyard of a Mexican Don, nor do many regular people spend their time out in the rural desert areas, also the twins were killed off because Vince thought they were too over the top for the show, Hank’s 3rd season arc was already pre-planned before that decision was made. Also Mexicans being criminals or peasants? Really? Last I recall there weren’t that many peasants sure there was the one scene where the twins kill the ones being snuck over the border, guess what that shit happens in REAL LIFE, and as far as being criminals? Um aren’t half the people we meet in the show criminals? White, Black, Mixed, Biracial, Hispanic, Asian?
    I don’t even know what to say about the community complaint, the plane crash? Seriously? Did you even watch the show? That entire scene in the gymnasium wasn’t supposed to embarrass Walter, it was supposed to show how out of touch he’s becoming, how he’s losing his morality and unable to act normal in public because of it. But it’s not the only time that actions have sent vibrations, everything that happens to Jessie is pretty much a direct result of Walter being a horrible person, he destroys his family, ruins any chance for Walt Jr. to have friends who won’t ask him about his dad, causes unequivocal emotional distress to his former friends of Gray Matter, is the reason Hank is dead. In short Walter’s actions DO cause problems.
    Lastly to your issue with character, seriously you need to get your head checked, Walter isn’t a unlikeable character because he kills people? Are you kidding? Walter is an unlikeable character because he keeps making the same mistakes. Holy shit you are delusional, yeah the show is supposed to challenge our points of view as I said but by the time the last episode came around I knew that Vince was finally saying “Do you like this guy?! Because you shouldn’t, look at everything he did, he’s the bad guy.” He’s a terrible person making the same mistake over and over again doesn’t make him unlikable, the fact that he’s basically poison and has destroyed everybody else’s lives for his pride and ego makes him unlikable, the fact that he will kill to satiate his own ego makes him unlikable, the fact he never considered how this might have backfired and hurt the people he loved, including getting his own brother in law killed makes him unlikable.

    Seriously you are a terrible critic.

  • Haha…Gotta love the personal nasty insults directed at the writer. It figures such jerks would love love love this show.

  • Firstly I enjoyed your article and thank you for being brave enough to write it in the face of what has seemed a herd mentality at least among opinions in forums and social media.

    I watched the entire series as it ran a few years back. I disliked Walter from the start as he immediately struck me as an entitled white male who felt the world owed him something. My dislike increased with his decision to sell meth despite being educated and clearly having other options. It’s a tv show however, so after listening to Gilligan’s early comments on this character’s projected descent and so-called comeuppance at end of series, I tried to enjoy the show in anticipation of his ultimate demise. The only reason I liked Hank was because I assumed he’d play a direct part in that demise. This is obviously NOT what happened. We saw Walter reach the lowest depths of humanity as his hero status increased with viewers each season. Yes, it was written quite well.

    But something happened along the way. Gilligan fell in love with his character. Instead of Walter receiving a death worthy of his trespasses he got a Gatling gun salute, going out on his own terms. Walter and Gilligan’s fans cheered their hero while I was literally sick to my stomach. You mention race in your article but there’s another problem with Gilligan’s leads (Walter and Jimmy/Saul). Gilligan creates these loser white male characters doing the absolute worst, fits them with lovable traits and humor enticing viewers to idolize them. His shows exploit and epitomize why white males can do the most horrible things yet continue to get compassion and empathy in our society while others do not.

    I’ll never watch another.

  • I wasn’t a fan of the show either. I tried hard to give it a chance. I only lasted a season and a half. The characters have no redeeming qualities. Most of the characters seem to be angry and at each other’s throats all the time. I found it cringe worthy, I finally gave up at the episode where Walt and Jesse are stuck in the desert and spend the next hour bitching at each other. I didn’t care about wither of them, they could have died and it wouldn’t have bothered me. For the record, the Wire and Deadwood are some of my favorite shows.

  • I’m so relieved to find that I am NOT the only person who dislikes Breaking Bad. My only regret is that I gave it two months of my life. Yes there is a compelling plot that makes you watch more, but the weak characters and fantastical exhibitions are enough to make you feel insulted. What a load of pretentious nonsense.

  • I found this article by searching “am I the only one who hates Breaking Bad?

    About gender. Does every tv show, has to have an interesting or likable female character? Is it a must? I just feel they failed in creating a strong character for Walter’s wife. But (for me) they failed the same with every other character. I only liked Gus.

    Racism? Because Mexican are shown exotic and mystical? Why not? Most Americans are familiar with Mexican people, and that show won’t affect them (negatively) much. They add the criminal South USA element.
    Political correctness is “cancer” for movies (and other arts I guess). In any form and for any purpose.

    I see a lot of people saying that acting was top notch. I am not even close to an expert in acting. But I can see how genius are some of Kevin Spacey acts. Or Edward Norton. Or Hugh Laurie (House).
    I fail to see any good acting by Walter and Jessy. I know exactly, what director had in his mind about both characters. I can feel it. But the implementation/acting was very bad. Just watch the scene with Jessy and Walter , in hospital, when Walter try to convince Jessy, not sue Hank, for beating him. Worst acting (didn’t fit the atmosphere) ever. Like he was playing Shakespeare and not an uneducated insignificant criminal.
    I also believe that they didn’t show enough of Walters smartness. Except maybe the last episode (the only I kinda liked).
    There is no harmony in this show. It wasn’t only a bad show, in my opinion. It left me with a bitter taste. It was unpleasant.
    If Breaking Bad, is a great show, then House MD or The Good Wife or Outlander, are masterpieces and beyond that.
    The inly good thing about BB, was the main idea. A genius low profile professor, who wanted to help his family, and at the end enjoyed being “strong” and in charge. “I did it for me” he said to his wife. A great idea, that was waisted.

    Sorry for my English.

  • Here, is an example of a person who has been so far brainwashed by idealogy, that they cannot enjoy & appreciate a simple work of fiction without injecting their toxic, non existent preconceived notions about society into it.

    Honestly, this is one of the worst reviews of breaking bad I’ve ever seen. Or of any TV show. The writer fails to criticize the show on its own merits, instead turning to hamster wheel ideology. It’s shameful.

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