The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Show about meth peddlers breaks from bad characters

A high school chemistry teacher finds out he has inoperable lung cancer. Instead of telling his family, he chooses to make crystal methamphetamine to ensure they will have enough money after he passes away.

This is the plot driving AMC’s new drama series “Breaking Bad,” snippets of which were showcased at The Los Angeles Times Envelope’s Emmy Screening Series at the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood on June 10.

“Breaking Bad” cast members such as Bryan Cranston (Walt White), Anna Gunn (Skyler White), RJ Mitte (Walt, Jr.), Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman), Dean Norris (Hank Schrader), Betsy Brandt (Marie Schrader), creator and writer Vince Gilligan and executive producer Mark Johnson were in attendance to answer the question of fans of the cable show and of the moderator, Tom O’Neil, reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

Created by Vince Gilligan (“X-Flies”), “Breaking Bad” is based on an idea he had while talking to a friend about what to do once his money “dried up,” an apt origin for a series about a man desperate for money.

“I started with a character who is a good man, who wants to be a provider,” said Gilligan about Walt White, the new show’s lead character. “But he’s not courageous. He could have been great in the science world.”

Gilligan said it is through Walt’s inevitable death that he is able to find himself. Walt’s choice in his new “job” may not be the most ideal situation, but Gilligan said it was a choice made with the best intentions.

Cranston, who portrays the troubled character in question, said Walt White is “the ultimate reliable guy.”

“He’s become this invisible person,” said Cranston about the personal history of the character he plays. “He capped his emotions 25 years ago. He could pinpoint it. You get comfortable not having emotions.”

Walt’s partner in his drug-making business is Jesse Pinkman, a former student who was bad at chemistry.

The two are what Gilligan considers to be a sort of odd couple. One character is a drug dealer and the other is a high school teacher. Both live different lives, though when it comes down to it are very similar.

Jesse still calls the former teacher Mr. White, a sign of respect, during the first season of the AMC show.

Jesse does not seem happy about the working relationship at first. But after the first patch of meth is made, Pinkman refers to White as an “artist” at the cooking process. The meth quality is supposed to be the best.

Critics of “Breaking Bad” may say the cable show condones drug use or glorifies the lives of drug peddlers.

Gilligan said the cable show does not glorify drugs because it shows the negative consequences of meth use.

Paul said the new AMC cable series “shows meth in brutal honesty. People lose their family to this drug.”

The main focus of “Breaking Bad” is Walt’s cancer and his meth-making skills. Though the show is a drama, there is a bit of comedy included in the first season’s episodes, particularly during serious conversations.

Brandt said “the show isn’t about good people or bad people, but (about) standing up for Walt’s rights.”

Gilligan said his aim was to put something different out there about people that are not normally on TV.

AMC renewed the show for a second season consisting of 13 episodes, six more than in the first season.

The network ordered nine episodes at first, but the Writer’s Guild of America strike limited production.

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