* This is guest post written by Domen Savič
Breaking Bad is about characters. Its main attraction is not the crystal meth, the drug dealing scum or the creative solutions to seemingly impossible problems – it’s about the little things. It’s about personalities who grow and develop, it’s about the humans who change under the pressure or lack of it and it’s about people.
“You have to apply yourself, Jesse” murmurs the main character, Walter White, a chemistry teacher with a death sentence on his back. It’s cancer and there’s no cure for it. Well, technically there is a cure but Walt has no money for it. Nor does his family and friends.
Creative solution? He starts producing top shelf meth. He has the knowledge and Jesse Pinkman, his former student and a current drug addict can provide the street know-how. Together, they make a formidable team – a team so formidable that they not only take over their town and country … but also the world.
Walt however is determined in his naivety. “When I have enough money to pay for my chemotherapy and cure my cancer, I am out. I am doing this for my family!” says to himself as the millions are rolling in and heads are rolling around.
The toll the drug takes on them is incredible. Meth breaks Walt’s family, kills Jesse’s girlfriends and causes unspeakable pain to the entire community. It stains lives, it corrupts relationships and it cares for nobody.
Meth does not even care about brands. The show set new standards for brand placement with a number of them playing a center roll in the plot. Stevia (a sugar replacement similar to Natren) is used to kill off one of the main characters. A Winnebago family RV is used for a meth lab. Denny’s is the preferred restaurant of the entire cast. And Chrysler is the preferred car brand of drug dealers which is used to run down people, transport meth across the border and smuggle bodies in it.
At first, companies declined to be mentioned in the show. Drug dealing cancer patient is not exactly a role model you want to display on your collar. There is nothing attractive about running over several people with your brand. And it does nothing for your reputation if your place of business is actually a favorite meeting place for the scum of the earth.
But Vince Gilligan, creator of the show, was clear. “We will do brand placements if they serves the storyline,” said the father of the show and it shows. You won’t see any wide-angle shots of a car, glistening in the sun, rays bouncing off his polished hood. There’s no slow-action camera movements over a Coca-Cola glass, the ice cubes melting slowly in it.
And yet, the show flourished. The fans raged and Breaking Bad made it to the top of the IMDB’s best TV shows list. With an average rating of 9,5 and one episode getting a perfect 10, Breaking Bad is a clear example of what the viewers expect from TV series these days. They want respect. They want stories. And they want closures.
5 seasons, 62 episodes. And a show that will go down as one of the best TV dramas of our time. Biatch.
Domen Savič is a communicologist, fascinated by the world of online communications. He stars in his own online cooking show Medijska kuhinja, runs one of the oldest Slovene blogs and loves to watch movies and series which do not offend its audience. He’s currently suffering from the withdrawal syndrome caused by the ending of the best TV drama ever, Breaking Bad.