Firstly, if the title of this article leaves you scratching your head and wondering what the heck Breaking Bad is, then you need to go out now. Right now. Go on, off you trot to HMV and get the DVDs because- and I don’t say this lightly- it is the best programme in the history of television, possibly because the idea behind it is so pleasingly simple…
a) Mild mannered chemistry teacher Walter White finds out he has terminal lung cancer.
b) He has nothing to lose, so decides to use his chemistry expertise to make crystal meth.
And that- in a nutshell that conveniently fails to mention his disabled son and pregnant wife- is about it. It’s currently four series in with a fifth (and final- boo) one on the way.
If you haven’t seen it, don’t read on as this contains spoilers, but if you have, let’s have a think about what we (and Walter) have learned in the course of four years:
1. If you, as a middle aged high school teacher, decide to make a high school drop out meth-head your sidekick, expect some friction. A lot of friction. All the time.
2. No matter who they are, or how ‘mild mannered’ or professional the key players seem to be, never, ever get into any kind of meth distribution deal that you’re not completely in control of. You will get kidnapped, shot at, kidnapped again and taken to Mexico, your family will be threatened and you’ll end up having to engineer a complex assassination involving a mute, furious latino stroke victim and a wheelchair.
3. Tell your wife right at the beginning that you a) have cancer and b) that you’re making loads of meth in a battered RV in a misguided but altruistic attempt to provide for her and your as-yet-unborn child. It’ll save a lot of arguments- and divorces- in the long term. Plus she might turn out to be excellent at money laundering.
4. If you’re a Drug Enforcement Agency official and your cash-strapped chemistry teacher brother-in-law suddenly starts taking a much keener interest in the mechanics of meth production just before a new, impressively chemically pure version of the product appears in the city… put two and two together as quickly as possible. Might save you a bit of trouble* down the line.
Also- just a tip- despite the fact a tortoise with a severed head glued to it is inexplicably entertaining to you and your DEA chums, you’re probably best to avoid going too close.
5. Don’t mess with Mr White.
*losing the use of your legs after being attacked by two terrifyingly unemotional, bald headed cartel assassins. Also, your boss will be annoyed.