As one of the most critically acclaimed television series of all time, “Breaking Bad” has left an indelible mark on pop culture. Whether you’re an ardent fan or new to the story of Walter White, these 19 intriguing facts about “Breaking Bad” will enrich your understanding and appreciation of this groundbreaking series.
Breaking Bad: A Chemistry Teacher’s Tale
“Breaking Bad” was created by Vince Gilligan, who was intrigued by the idea of a high school chemistry teacher turning into a methamphetamine-manufacturing drug dealer. The title “Breaking Bad” is a Southern colloquialism meaning to turn towards a life of crime.
Walter White: The Anti-Hero
Walter White, the protagonist of “Breaking Bad,” was named after the American poet Walt Whitman. His alter ego, Heisenberg, references the German physicist Werner Heisenberg, known for the Uncertainty Principle in quantum mechanics.
Jesse Pinkman: The Unintended Sidekick
Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul, was initially supposed to be killed off at the end of Season 1. However, the chemistry between Paul and Bryan Cranston (Walter White) was so compelling that Gilligan decided to keep him in the series.
The Iconic Blue Meth
The “Blue Sky” meth produced in the show is actually rock candy. It’s made by a candy shop in Albuquerque, where the series is set and filmed. The shop also sold the candy to fans during the show’s run.
Breaking Bad Logo
The periodic table-inspired logo of “Breaking Bad” is as iconic as the show itself. The symbols Br (Bromine) and Ba (Barium) from the periodic table were used, fittingly tying back to the show’s chemistry roots.
The Meth Lab RV
The RV used as the meth lab in the show is a 1986 Fleetwood Bounder, which has since become a cultural icon. The RV was destroyed in the show, but two replicas exist for public viewing.
The Science Behind the Show
“Breaking Bad” employed Dr. Donna Nelson, a chemistry professor from the University of Oklahoma, as a science consultant to ensure the scientific accuracy of the show’s scripts, particularly those scenes involving chemistry.
Walter White’s Pizza Toss
In a memorable scene, Walter White throws a pizza onto his roof out of frustration. This was accomplished in one take by actor Bryan Cranston, a feat that the crew believed to be a “one-in-a-million” shot.
The Real Walter White
In an ironic twist of reality mirroring fiction, a real-life meth dealer named Walter White from Alabama made headlines while the show was airing. He was even the subject of a 2013 documentary.
A Star Trek Episode Within an Episode
In one of the episodes, Badger, a character in the show, narrates an idea for a “Star Trek” episode. This scene was so well-received that an animator created and released the narrated scenario as a standalone animated short.
An Emmy Record Breaker
“Breaking Bad” has been critically acclaimed, with its final season breaking a record for the highest number of Emmy Awards won by a drama series in a single year, garnering five wins in 2014.
The Breaking Bad Dolls Controversy
In 2014, “Breaking Bad” action figures were released, leading to controversy when a Florida mom started a petition against Toys “R” Us to stop selling them, citing the figures’ inclusion of meth lab accessories. The figures were eventually removed from shelves.
Breaking Bad’s Musical Note
Composer Dave Porter was responsible for creating the unique sound of “Breaking Bad.” The theme tune is well recognized and sets the dark and tense mood of the series.
An alternate ending to “Breaking Bad” was filmed as a bonus feature for the final season DVD. It framed the entire series as a dream by Hal, Bryan Cranston’s character from the sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle.”
The Continuation of the Story
The story of “Breaking Bad” has been continued in the prequel series “Better Call Saul,” which focuses on the character Saul Goodman, and the sequel film “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” which follows Jesse Pinkman’s life after the series finale.
Breaking Bad: The Good Samaritan
In a strange twist, Bryan Cranston once called 911 to report a real-life meth lab in his neighborhood before the series aired. He learned about what meth labs smelled like through his research for “Breaking Bad.”
Filming in Albuquerque
Filming “Breaking Bad” in Albuquerque, New Mexico, contributed an estimated $70 million to the city’s economy, with fans still visiting the city to see locations from the series.
A Hidden Tribute
The final episode of “Breaking Bad” includes a tribute to a 16-year-old fan of the show, Kevin Cordasco, who died of cancer before the final season aired. The episode is titled “Felina,” an anagram of “Finale,” and Kevin’s name is included in the credits.
“Say My Name”
One of the most iconic lines from “Breaking Bad” is “Say my name,” said by Walter White. This phrase is so well-known it’s often used as a shorthand reference to the series.
From its gritty depiction of the methamphetamine industry to the nuanced character development, “Breaking Bad” is an exceptional series that consistently pushes the boundaries of television storytelling. These 19 facts only scratch the surface of the show’s rich history and enduring legacy. Whether you’re a seasoned fan or planning to dive into the series, there’s always more to uncover about the fascinating world of “Breaking Bad.”