Breaking Bad: 6 Things That Don’t Really Hold Up Today - Bliteoc

Breaking Bad: 6 Things That Don’t Really Hold Up Today

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In many ways, Breaking Bad is seen as a timeless show. Its plot is one of the all-time greats of television, and its themes, characters, and arcs are viewed to have a resonance and meaning that does not diminish over time. There is no denying, however, that television and society have progressed since the time it aired.

As such, despite many areas in which the show does hold up, it has been left behind by changing values in certain aspects. While these in no way blemish Breaking Bad, they do stand out to people viewing the show in the current day.

6 Hank’s Shortcomings Are Never Adequately Addressed

A major character from the very first episode, Hank Schrader is Walter White’s brother-in-law, and a DEA agent who becomes obsessed with hunting down Heisenberg and seeing him brought to justice. After a rocky initial reception, his humor, his heroic turn and his death all saw him become a fan favorite.

There is no denying that Hank ends the show as one of its more heroic characters, but he is heavily flawed. While there is an exploration of his willingness to break the rules, the show or its characters never denounce his casual racism, his hypocrisy, his poor treatment of his wife, and his bullying of a sex worker.

Breaking Bad presents these as acceptable parts of Hank’s personality, and it tends to stick out. In particular, some parts of his rule-bending tendencies are treated as comedic, rather than the abuse of trust from a person in a position of authority as a DEA agent.

5 Walter White’s Sympathetic View Isn’t Always Thoroughly Dispelled

In many cases, fans of a show can become as much a part of its presence as the actual production itself. In Breaking Bad, there is no denying that Walter White is one of the most compelling protagonists in television, with his downward spiral into abject villainy from humble beginnings being viewed as one of the most well-written arcs in modern television.

Nonetheless, there is a notion among many fans, defended by parts of the show, that Walter White is really a sympathetic character, and that even his worst actions are justified—up to, and including, the poisoning of a child.

Most shows rely on a sympathetic protagonist, but Breaking Bad’s later seasons show that Walter can be compelling even when not sympathetic, and is surrounded by characters who are morally better than him. As a result, the show not doing more to curb fans’ view of Walter as a justified and ideal protagonist can be called into question.

4 The Depiction Of Its Female Characters Isn’t The Most Nuanced, Especially Early On

While Breaking Bad does delve into truly deep character exploration, dredging up facets of the personalities of numerous characters the audience would have been more than happy to take at face value, Breaking Bad doesn’t always do the best job of presenting characters in an egalitarian way.

Although, by the end of the show, Skyler White is argued by some to be one of the most sympathetic characters, trapped in an awful situation, that was not always the case. For much of the show, she was one of the most hated characters, beaten only by her sister, Marie.

In the earlier seasons, the only women routinely shown in Breaking Bad are portrayed as nagging wives. While not even showrunner Vince Gilligan expected the backlash on Skyler, the show makes an effort to give her interesting storylines and a nuanced portrayal as the show goes along, but her writing is still a little behind current times.

3 LGBTQ+ Representation Is Especially Lacking

Breaking Bad lacks much in the way of LGBTQ+ representation. Despite relationships being a major recurring theme in the show, no characters are confirmed to be anything other than straight. Other than some speculation about Gus Fring, only Gale Boetticher’s character is even suggested to be gay and in love with Walter.

With already poor LGBTQ+ representation, the show also directs jokes towards Gale—focusing on his effeminate nature—including after his death.

2 A Sexual Assault Is Brushed Off Far Too Lightly

Breaking Bad‘s main story follows Walter White’s descent from a seemingly-sympathetic high school chemistry teacher into a vicious, ruthless drugs kingpin whose own family can’t love him. As such, key story moments are punctuated by acts of utmost villainy from Walt.

The show pays special attention to several of these moments, including letting Jane Margolis die, poisoning Brock, and shooting Mike Ehrmantraut for no good reason. However, Walt commits one contemptible act before any of those that the show pays little attention to.

In Season 2, Walt comes home and tries to initiate sex with Skyler, who is resistant. Despite being a clear-cut case of an attempted sexual assault, the show pays little mind to this, treating it as far lesser than almost any of Walt’s other crimes.

1 White Supremacy Is Treated As A Moderate Flaw Of Its Neo-Nazi Villains

The political aspects of Jack Welker’s neo-Nazi gang—and how hiring them reflects on Walt—are not particularly explored throughout the show.

Although the gang members are unquestionably villainous, the narrative places emphasis on their deeds as the reason they are truly evil, with certain members, like Todd, being viewed as somewhat sympathetic prior to certain morally unacceptable actions.

White supremacy is a still-present force in American society and in politics. As a result, the use of neo-Nazis as villains is not as casual as it may appear, with white supremacy being something to explore and condemn, rather than just a passing reference to emphasize a character’s villainy.

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