The hit television series Breaking Bad follows a high school chemistry teacher, Walter H. White, left with no choice but to cook and sell crystal meth with a former radical student, Jesse Pinkman, to financially support his family after being diagnosed with lung cancer and fearing his imminent death. The show ran from 2008 to 2013 and drew in 10.3 million viewers on its finale just two years ago. Whether it be Golden Globes, a Primetime Emmy here and there, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and countless other recognitions, Breaking Bad has been hailed as a legendary work of television art. Bryan Cranston cooking up a batch of meth in his underwear under the hot New Mexican sun in an 80’s RV will be forever imprinted in my mind and in millions of others. Let’s see what AMC and others have graciously revealed as some interesting Breaking Bad trivia.
1. Jesse wasn’t supposed to make it very long.
Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator, revealed on DVD commentary that Jesse’s character, played by Aaron Paul, was originally scripted to die by the end of season 1. After seeing his outstanding early performance, Gilligan decided to keep the ignorant punk, yet somehow lovable character, in the show. Just think what the last four seasons would have been like without Jesse!
2. Wendy did almost too good of a job playing a hooker.
Wendy, the meth-addicted prostitute who provided sexual services around The Crossroads Motel, almost performed her role too well. When her character was introduced, filming was actually interrupted when someone mistook her for an actual prostitute and tried picking her up. The crocked, yellow teeth and cheap Cheetah coat would have fooled me too, sir.
3. No one has actually smoked meth on the show.
Not one of the more surprising pieces of trivia, but rather interesting, the characters have not once done drugs on set (well they weren’t filmed anyway). Whenever someone is shown smoking meth, he or she is actually smoking sugar or rock candy. The smoke produces a similar depiction of the chemical reaction of igniting meth, but the characters never inhale that smoke either.
4. Walt Jr. is a much better actor than we give him credit for.
The actor who plays Walter White’s son, Walt Jr., actually has Cerebral Palsy in real life, much like his character in the show. In reality, RJ Mitte’s condition is much milder than that of Walt Jr.’s affliction. Mitte had to be coached on how to walk using crutches and slow down his speech to perfect the role.
5. One character is a real life chemistry genius.
The whole show stems from the fact that Walter knows all there is about chemistry and applies it to producing meth. In reality, Walter’s sweater loving, thick eye brow struttin’ boss at the car wash, Bogdan, is in fact the real genius. Marius Stan holds a PhD in chemistry and still practices in the field. His role in Breaking Bad was surprisingly his first time acting.
6. A certain lawyer’s name carries a hidden message.
The pseudonym for Bob Odenkirk’s beloved character “Saul Goodman” comes from the common saying “it’s all good, man”. That makes sense when you take a step back and realize Saul was always trying to be the voice of reason, especially when settling feuds between characters. Odenkirk almost turned down this role because he said he wasn’t Jewish, that is until Gilligan explained the underlying meaning.
7. And for some more fun facts…
Bryan Cranston was so into the character of Walter White that off screen he would yell at Christopher Cousins, the actor who played Ted, the boss Skyler was having an affair with. Cranston even got a Breaking Bad tattoo on his ring finger! The lead actor first became interested in the show when Gilligan pitched him the character of Walter as “starting out like Mr. Chips and ending like Scarface”. Wow, sends chills down my spine.
Characters and their moods or values are represented by the colors they wear. Skyler is usually dressed in blue to represent depression or reluctance. Jesse can be seen in either yellow or red, but in gray whenever in recovery. Walter usually wears bland clothes, which we all know, but mostly green to show that he is torn between the love of his family and the rush of the drug trade. Pink isn’t really seen on the show until the White’s daughter is born, representing love.
Breaking Bad was originally to be set in Riverside, California, but it was moved to Albuquerque to take advantage of a tax rebate on production. Each time an episode was produced, roughly $1 million dollars was pumped into the local New Mexican economy. If the true, hard core fans out there are wondering where the White’s house is, 308 Negra Arroyo Lane is actually 3828 Piermont Dr NE, Albuquerque, NM.