May 5, 2022Liked by Richard Hanania

The scene Richard is remembering is when Walt went to Gus' house and Gus made some food that he claimed his kids dislike. I don't think he mentioned a wife.

In Breaking Bad Walt was the protagonist (even if he was bad), so Gus became an antagonist. But Mike (who insists you can be a good criminal or a bad cop), is very angry at Walt for getting rid of Gus, because he regarded Gus as providing order while Walt causes chaos. The main evil thing Walt had to point to is that the little brother of Jesse's girlfriend was made to shoot Jesse's friend. But in this show he blackmails Nacho and treats him quite badly, which makes Gus look worse.

It's odd to talk about how corrupt law enforcement is uncommon in the US while HBO is showing "We Own This City", adapted from a recent true story about the Baltimore Gun Trace Task Force.

I looked up Vince Gilligan on Open Secrets, and his only donation was to the Writers Guild.


My recollection is that when Saul was first introduced, he suggested just killing Badger so he couldn't testify against Walt & Jesse.

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> In the Breaking Bad universe, there are two main types of characters – we can call them “likable and immoral” and “unlikable and moral” – and we despite ourselves naturally sympathize with the former.

I think this is making a very important mistake. I learned from tvtropes about someone's claim that the audience has no morals, although there no longer appears to be a page with that text. The quote is apparently from Hitchcock, and the idea is that the film can cause the audience to sympathize with people they shouldn't, such as murderers (!). It is key to this argument that murderers are immoral.

But I would say reality is very different. The audience has very strong morals, and will not sympathize with characters that violate those morals. What Hitchcock should have realized is that the audience's morals do not match the official moral positions of church or state - most people simply don't see killing someone as an inherently immoral act, and that's why it's easy to get an audience to sympathize with murderers.

And that's also what's happening in Breaking Bad; it's not that the "immoral" characters are likeable and the "moral" characters are unlikeable. It's that the likeable characters display morality that the audience believes in, and the unlikeable characters display morality the audience doesn't believe in.

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With respect to the racial question, I think the inclusion of white nazi villains in the last season of breaking bad ( which was pretty unrealistic) was due to the felt need not to have Hispanics always being the bad guys.

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Breaking Bad is much better than Better Call Saul, although I do think the latter is worth watching. BB has a more compelling plot and more interesting and likable main character. The problem with Saul is that he’s not only a bad person, but also unlikable, not terribly interesting, and just overall a contemptible lowlife. The show makes up for it with the compelling subplots involving Lollo and the drug cartels.

It is interesting how, as the show progresses, you go from hating Chuck and rooting for Jimmy, to suddenly realizing that Chuck was right all along and Jimmy really is detestable and unworthy of the law.

My biggest criticism of both shows is they can be heavy handed with the moralizing. There is always bad karma brought on by the main characters’ transgressions. This was worst in BB in season two with the plane crash subplot.

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Had the same issue as Henderson. The bar Breaking Bad set is just too high.

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You went to law school? I thought you went to grad school or political science.

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