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A friendly response to the Breaking Bad polemic

Cody Mason | Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This week, I was deeply saddened to hear that one of my favorite shows, Vince Gilligan’s masterpiece “Breaking Bad,” was going to turn me into a meth-head killer who hates Jesus. This news, as reported in a Viewpoint column earlier this week (“Breaking Bad: ‘five seasons of sin,'” Oct. 15), struck me, seeing as I did not realize the influence this program would have upon me. I discovered that the narrative revolving around Walter White’s drug empire would adulterate my conscience, leaving me so deeply affected by the story that I would adjust my moral compass to find killing, drug-dealing and even “pervasive profanity” acceptable. With every installment of this show, I learned, I was distancing myself from Jesus and getting ever closer to the reefer madness.
The writer of the article, so graced with insight that even watching the show was apparently unnecessary for him to pass judgment, made me open my eyes to the fact that “Breaking Bad” was not a beautiful story of an antihero embarking upon a moral odyssey akin to those depicted in beloved Greek and Shakespearean tragedies, but was rather a big middle finger to ethics, law and order and to the Big Man himself. The author made me realize how “bad” a show it was without ever even having to bring up its artistic qualities. That would be beneath him. Rather, he rightly argued that “Breaking Bad” is only considered good because many people watch it, expertly disregarding the fact that it is the most critically acclaimed show in history and other shows on its own network, like “The Walking Dead,” have more viewers.
In the end, the writer’s call to action inspired me. As a film, television and theatre major, I must fulfill his request for a show where a terminal teacher starts evangelizing. And then dies. That would be so interesting, riveting and well-developed that it would truly end the problem of “the boredoms of television” that the columnist exposed. Overall, I am just so thankful that I can reverse the damage done to my psyche by the pernicious Walter White and his associates and move on to “good” television. I will focus on the classics of the medium that the author lists, such as “The Flintstones,” “The Today Show” and “Jeopardy.” You know, real art.

Cody Mason
Knott Hall
Oct. 15