For years, I’ve been seeing the tweets and Facebook posts and media reviews about how great Breaking Bad is. Some call it the best writing on TV or the best TV show ever. Occasionally the posts are a little freaky, like this one: “So finally watched last night’s #BreakingBad, and I’m going to spend the rest of the day curled in a little ball while twitching.”

I’ve never seen the show and I never will. The protagonist makes methamphetamine in his garage, and I assume he sells it as well. Regardless of how well the show is written or acted, this is not my kind of protagonist.

My niece is a meth addict. She’s 31, homeless, toothless, and skinny as a rail. She has abandoned her child, whom I now have part-time parental responsibility for. A nine-year-old with worries no kid should ever have.

Meth addiction ruined my niece’s life, and I don’t know if she’ll ever recover. I don’t know how long she’ll even live. Meth kills brain cells and makes people permanently less intelligent. It changes people’s personalities, making them short-tempered, angry and often violent.

Seeing my niece—who spent a good chunk of her childhood in my home—the way she is breaks my heart. I have no idea how to help her. I’m reminded of all this today as I prepare for Thanksgiving and accept that she probably won’t be at the table again this year.

For me, people who make and sell meth are not protagonists. They are not entertaining, even when they’re portrayed as the bad guys. I don’t watch movies or read books about drug cartels either.

For the record, I don’t believe that drug dealers are technically criminals either. I don’t believe in sending people to prison for getting high or for helping other willing adults get high. But still, meth cooks are evil, greedy, selfish bastards. Glorifying them is a sad excuse for entertainment.

I’m not judging anyone who watches or enjoys the show. And I’m sure I’ll get a certain amount of flak for posting this. But I felt compelled to finally say it. I’m glad the show is over, and I no longer have to see all the posts about how great it is.

Meth sucks.

  1. LJ, this is a devastating post. What a sad situation for you to have to deal with. My husband and I are just now watching the series. I refused to watch it for a long time for the same reason. My husband wanted to watch it, so I gave it a try. It actually doesn’t glorify these people at all. It’s about how the whole drug industry destroys everyone involved in it. I’m not saying this to try to convince you to watch it, because it really is sickening. But at no time is the manufacturing or selling of it glorified. It is true that that the writing is amazing, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that it’s about the very worst that people can be.

    Your niece is lucky to have you in her life. You are an amazing person.

  2. I don’t watch it for the same reason, and I also didn’t watch The Sopranos because I’m not interested in shows/films that romanticise organised crime.

    So, we may be in the minority, but you aren’t alone!

  3. Same here. I don’t watch anything glorifying organized crime or drugs. Even if it shows the activities in a “bad” way, how many people out there admire the Corleone family?

    I want to remember the Breaking Bad actor as the dad in the sitcom, Malcolm in the Middle, not as a drug-making chemistry teacher. See? I know too much about it and haven’t watched any of it. Sometimes it’s a good thing not to have the premium channels.

  4. LJ,
    I can’t say it better than you havein your blog, facebook and as an open contact to your fans. Except we are the intimidate consumer and we should make the advertisers know of our dislike of story lines that glorify drug dealers. We all need to stop supporting advertisers who create and promote bad citizenship.

    It is a wonder why young peple get in toruble when we as adults allow this type of programing. These shouw are getting Emmy’s and Academy Awards for great writing and great actiing. We have to ask WHY?

  5. We’re all in agreement on this one, though I’m a bit late posting this. It’s all too easy to get an audience by building a story around the worst and the darkest or the most depraved in us. One thing I deeply appreciate about your (L.J’s) novels is that there are always admirable and very human characters in the mix, and we come away with some insight or bit of wisdom. I’ve seen one episode of “Breaking Bad,” and was pretty depressed not just by the story but by the realization that producers (and viewers) are so willing to exploit our greatest weaknesses and illnesses, and offer so little that’s even remotely ennobling.

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