Written by: Mich Medvedoff
Before we wore clothes, before we drank milk, before we shaved… we told stories. And the same stories continue to circulate and confront us.
Like a cinematic Tootsie Roll pop, there is sometimes a hidden story inside the very movie you are watching.
If “Breaking Bad” doesn’t make you rethink your home-based business venture (sewing aprons on Etsy? vs. starting a meth lab?) – it at least gets you wondering what double lives your old high school teachers had… (I’m thinking about you, 7th grade math teacher, Mr. Blue).
WHAT HAPPENS: Walter White is a high school chemistry teacher. He sits bitch between his unpleasant wife and an after school job at a car wash. The cherry on top? Cancer.
To provide for his family after death, White puts his AP chemistry skills to use. He cooks Super-meth in an RV. For awhile there, it’s just chem and chemo.
As he braises the blue stuff, the money comes rolling, then… TRANSFORMATION.
Wussy White to the Great White Heisenberg.
“Breaking Bad” is a Southern phrase meaning, “to become bad for no reason.” Even after White earns enough to provide for his family, he keeps cooking. Why? Because he finally likes himself. As Heisenberg. Once you go ‘berg you never go back.
Double life. Good and evil. Chemistry 101. What do these ingredients make?
“Breaking Bad” is RLS’s “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”
Let’s check out their properties.
What’s that beehive thing.
SIMILARITIES: Dr. Jekyll and Walter White are repressed professionals by day, alchemists by night (and after school).
Jekyll is a fraud in Victorian London. White is a daisy in the Albuquerque desert. When Dr. Jekyll and Walter White hit upon a potion that allows them to express their deeper, evil urges – without feeling guilt. Finally, they are their “true selves.” Concealed, until now…
– HYDE — something that cannot be observed.
– HEISENBERG — a nod to Werner Heisenberg’s “Uncertainty Principle” (when scientists want to peep at a quantum particle, they can only see where it WAS… but not where it IS).
UNIVERSALITY: When people suppress their natural desires, they risk having them spiral out of control. If Dr. Jekyll satiated his “lusts” (a no-no in Victorian London), there never would be a Mr. Hyde. If Mr. White stood up to Mrs. White, he might not have made a big meth of his life.
Restrain your true nature… and soon you succumb to the temptations of evil. And not like, a little evil – but full fledged E.V.E.E.E.E.I.L. Does this mean you should eat that vegan red velvet Sprinkles cupcake? Yes. Hold off for too long, you’ll be buying an entire box for a <ahem> “birthday party…” and that shit ain’t cheap.
MESSAGE: Stories are social mirrors. Their purpose is to broadcast messages we can’t admit to ourselves. Why do we love the double life narratives (Incredible Hulk, The Dark Knight, Fight Club, Teenwolf)?
Because we are
fucking freaking duplicitous creatures – “good you” and ‘”shit, did I just think that?” you.’
There’s a bully in your life. A Mrs. White, the taxman, your golden retriever, guilty pleasures.. SOMEBODY or SOMETHING that we can’t stand up to. We know we have to stand up to it, one day. If we don’t? That’s when you create your alter-ego – HYDE, HEISENBERG, HIDDENMAN, whatever – to handle the bullies and crap you can’t deal with. Next you start a meth lab or a bath salt house or work for Monsanto.
Repression, shame… acknowledge these little pricks, got it? Don’t let that evil seed germinate and ruin life for the rest of us.