How 'Breaking Bad' Was Defined By Our Generation

by Ali Abouomar

A down and out teacher. A high school drop out. A parched economy. A rising drug issue. At this point and time, this could be anywhere. But, in actuality, this is the world of “Breaking Bad.” It’s a show that flew under the radar almost six years ago, following in the vain of another eye opening drama, “Traffic.”

There has been much change in the world we inhabit, from major cities going bankrupt, to the legalization of marijuana. Degrees have slowly lost meaning, and even entry-level jobs mysteriously need years of experience. With our hands filled with every conflict but our own, millions of houses are being foreclosed, yielding new ways for families to stay afloat in a drowning market.

Our entertainment is generally a reflection of the times we live in, from the propaganda during World War II, to the Eastern European villains of the Cold War. But, we now face a whole other problem: ourselves. “Breaking Bad” hit us on all levels. It showed how someone could break bad just to support his family.

It gave us people we can all relate to, struggling in situations that are out of their hands. The mirrored lives they lived gave us an understanding of the drug issue plaguing most of middle America, right down to local dealers feeding off of the weak and lost. It wasn't about a coked up Cuban millionaire, but a washed up chemist, dealing with terminal cancer, a pregnant wife, and a disabled teenager. We were given an inside look at the failures of our healthcare system that pile merciless bills on folks who can't afford it, and in response, what a man would do to keep his family safe.

If you dropped the pilot anywhere in time, the show would never have been picked up. From the raucous 60s to the 'technological' 90s, there was no room for anything as raw as what Vince Gilligan brought to us through 62 episodes. We delved into the health care debate, drug and gun reform, the middle class, and even micro politics. These are real life issues that people watching can grimace and relate to. We are all behind a payment on some credit card, struggle with school loans, and worry about where our healthcare will be for our future kids.

This generation, here, is the f*cked up generation. Divorce is commonplace, debt is a given, and entertainment is mind rotting. Couple that with no jobs, rising school costs, and a highly competitive job market; Washington, we have a problem. And for some, seeing the lowest point someone can hit flicks a switch on the inside, making whatever that person is going through that much more interesting.

This wasn't fodder, filled to the brim with plastic boobs, or a so-called 'reality.’ This was something geared towards us, right from inception. Maybe, for the rest of us, we will never get to that extreme (I hope not; I cannot make drugs for sh*t), but we get it. Gilligan got it, too. This show will never be the voice of our generation, but you can sure bet we defined it. And that's a claim to be proud of.