On What Makes Breaking Bad and Other Good Stories Great

vivaviamedia

imageWhen asked how he pitched Breaking Bad to the networks, Vince Gilligan said that he wanted to take the audience on one man’s journey from “Mr. Chips (a fictional beloved school teacher) to Scarface.”    And it is this idea that makes the show compelling.  It asks the audience a question that we wish there was a clean-cut, straightforward answer to: how does a good person go bad?

Initially, we are given a protagonist (like the fictional Mr. Chips) we can all identify with, Walter White.  A man who, like many of us, desired to do what was “right” his whole life, making a few mistakes here and there, but overall, living honorably.   Unfortunately, in our society, careers centered around self-sacrifice and humility, like being a high school science teacher, are not often rewarded with riches and respect.   Yet, Walt seems content.  He loves his wife and son.  He has another…

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