Breaking Bad and other stuff

If you spend an hour talking to anyone who works in social services, the subject of meth will somehow work its’ way into the conversation. Between that and the presence of meth in the local news, I imagine that I am surrounded by meth labs, dealers and users who are still functioning well enough to blend. They are in our families, offices and neighborhoods. We just don’t know it yet. It’s not just who are they that is bewildering. Part of me is curious how people collect the ingredients to make meth when I can buy alcohol easier than I can buy Sudafed. I am equally mystified that chemistry is being successfully accomplished in a state with an average ACT score of 21 and a 71% graduation rate. The media’s focus on mobile meth labs makes me wonder why there aren’t cars and vans exploding on the Interstate daily.

If I really wanted to understand, I would use my Google-Fu to find answers. Maybe I like being clueless enough about the seriousness of it to be able to say “meth lab blowing up” every time I hear a loud boom in the neighborhood. Maybe I don’t want another thing to worry about. I only know that I am content knowing that I don’t know. For now.

Without enough knowledge to pick at the inaccuracies, I find Breaking Bad a bizarrely fascinating show to watch. Meth is a major character on the show, but it is really a show about people falling down and the consequences of their choices. The characters’ choices ripple across everything and everyone that they touch. The free-fall of their lives from the moment the lead character first stepped off the cliff is like a train wreck that can’t be stopped. If the series happened in reverse, the characters would be vile, but the writers have carefully crafted frail, anti-heroes. At the end of last season, I said that the main character’s wife would have to become bad in order to survive. This season, she is tumbling down a mountain of her own, but she is also climbing to the top of the fire ant hill that is her life. It’s not pretty, but it’s good television.

It’s a lot more fun to watch pretend characters answer the “what’s the price for your soul” question than to see it happening in the real world. Too many bloggers with opinions and ideas grew weary of being hungry and declared themselves social media gurus. Instead of original ideas, those gurus now sell unicorn poo and publish freelance articles in the newspaper for their clients. Too many well-intentioned politicians find themselves strangled by the tightrope of doing what it takes to stay in office under the premise of making up for it with other legislation. Ultimately, we learn that we don’t have one Indecent Proposal pricetag, but a cafe menu of soapboxes that we are are willing to climb down and leave empty for someone else.

2 thoughts on “Breaking Bad and other stuff

  1. I guess that different people watching a show can get different messages and angles out of it. I haven’t seen all episodes yet (halfway trough season 3 now). But from my point of view, “breaking bad” was not so much about meth and consequences of choices. From a psychological pov, at least 3 of the main characters Walt, Skyler and Jesse, seem to have the anti-social disorder. There are for all three characters strong indication that they are sociopaths who do not have a conscience. Yet for the most part, they seem like normal people who are just going trough extreme circumstances. And to me, that is the silver lining of the show. We are so used to think of sociopaths as extreme people, like american psycho, or dexter morgan or tony soprano. But from a psychological pov, not all sociopaths are criminals, and so characters like skyler, they could be playing a whole different psychological game with different stakes, and even be appalled by the idea of criminal activity, yet lack a conscience completely. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you might be interested in reading “the sociopath next door” by Martha Stout.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *