Breaking Bad

Breaking BadFirst a disclaimer:  I have not watched a single episode of Breaking Bad and suspect I never will.

But I have read in and around the news relating to this popular television serial and I also have some experience with similar narratives in books, films, and occasionally on television (or reporting about television). So if you are a regular viewer of Breaking Bad, I invite you to read this thoughtful article from the Humanist Network News.

How Could Humanism Have Prevented Breaking Bad

The season finale of the highly-rated series Breaking Bad aired last Sunday. For fans of the show, AHA Communications Assistant Christian Hagen imagines a more humanistic world that could’ve solved a lot of the main protagonist’s problems.

With this past Sunday’s finale, AMC’s dark dramatic television series Breaking Bad concluded a journey that captivated American audiences and transformed the landscape of modern small-screen entertainment. In the tale of Walter White, a quiet high school chemistry teacher turned maniacal drug lord, many complex, uncomfortable, and tragic stories unfolded along the way. Laws broken, lives destroyed, morals shattered—Breaking Bad has been nothing if not harrowing viewing.

It’s almost impossible not to look back on the series’ twists and turns and wonder at the ways it could have all gone differently. If the world of Breaking Bad was, say, more of a humanist society, what might have changed?

Cnristian Hagen then goes on to specular on how a more humanistic approach would have altered the narrative of Breaking Bad as it related to

      • Walt’s Job
      • Walt’s Cancer
      • Skyler
      • Every Gun on the Show
      • Walt and Gus Fring
      • Jesse

and concludes with

It’s all well and good to say “what might have been” in a world of widespread humanism (and perhaps such a world wouldn’t make for good television). But it’s worth considering how small humanistic ideas like living less violently or being more gender equal can have far-reaching implications. Entire lives could be transformed by simply being a little bit better as human beings.

Breaking Bad is breathtaking television as much because of its moral implications as in spite of them. Its journey may have ended, but its stories will continue to resonate for a long time to come.

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