I do not write reviews often since there are already so very many well written ones out there. But, I do have something to say this time. I wonder what my intention is about this writing... Will anyone actually want to buy the DVDs after this? I think you should watch everything and be prepared, so yes, I highly encourage watching all, despite what I am going to say.
BREAKING BAD... Very Well Made, Very Troubling Show
The whole idea of a chemistry teacher turning into a meth chemist makes a parent quite uncomfortable, but I watched on and witnessed the disintegration of a soul..
PROBLEM WITH METH
It's relatively easy to recognize a meth addict. Her driver's license says she is 21 years old, but she looks a lot older... Actually, she looks used up and tired. She has pronounced tooth decay and gum disease, her face and arms have scabs all over, she is agitated, irritated, anorexic and looks like she has not slept for days. Her eyes have no focus, and if you did ever see a walking zombie, she would fit that description perfectly.
While many other illicit drugs cause similar changes to the addicts, mostly due to lack of self-care, there is something horrifying about meth.
The euphoria from meth can last up to 12 hours with just one hit. Compare that to Cocaine that last up to 1 hour. Its euphoria is also more intense. Most illicit drugs work by blocking dopamine neurotransmitter re-uptake in the brain. (dopamine = pleasure). Meth blocks the re-uptake but also increases the release of dopamine, which with repeated used can cause toxic effect on your nerve...confusion and memory loss.
Therefore, it is highly addictive and extremely difficult to get off. The bad effects don't just happen with long term use. During the first 12 long hours of hallucination and high, some people manage to kill themselves, others, or do other horrible things. They are delusional and are not aware of what they are doing.
Your first few tries can also be quite pleasant. You lose weight because you are not hungry, you don't need to sleep and fully awake and active, so initially you find yourself quite productive and intensely happy. What's not to like about that. But, just like other addictive drugs, tolerance develops, and you need more and more... and the mad cycle starts.
Meth is popular for three simple reasons. It lasts longer, it is cheaper, and it is easy to find. If you can't find it easily, it is relatively easy to make. It is a synthetic drug, and you can buy all the ingredients legally from a store, while whereas Cannabis and Cocaine are harvested from plants.
It is one of the hardest addictions to treat because of the extreme craving. The addicts fall into deep depression and anxiety without it. There is no specific anti-dote, and the treatment involves a long term program known as Matrix system and requires for a strong family and social support. The relapse rate is higher than 90% according to some studies.
For the last few years, pharmacies have limited the amount of pseudoephedrine people can buy, which is a major ingredient. That decreased the number of clandestine labs, but the supply has not decreased. If anything, it has increased and become cheaper because now the most production is now done in Mexico.
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PROBLEM WITH WALTER WHITE
It's not just meth addicts stuck in a hellish life. The small time meth cooks and distributors like Walter are also stuck in meth hell. Imagine the people Walter 'hangs out' with after he starts to cook meth. Wouldn't you say they are scary and violent people?
Walter started the operation out of desperation. I was sympathetic to him in the beginning. It seemed that he had nothing to lose. He was a dying man with dependents (a pregnant wife and disabled son). In his middle age, he struggles financially and terribly worried about his family's fate after he is gone.
But, this reminds me that you can't do evil to benefit your loved ones. Just look at the DVD cover in season 4. Walter is not the same man. He looks sinister. Just like meth took over the addicts, it took over Walter's life as well.
The writer intended a hero to villain story, and he did a fine job. We like Walter less and less as the story goes on. He is definitely a brilliant mind gone 'bad' as the title explicitly describes.
PROBLEM WITH THE SOCIETY
I say watch the shows if you can handle the violence. Entertaining? Honestly? Yes. But, you may just lose your appetite knowing that the show is not based on a fantasy novel or only happens in a very small group of people you do not know.
One of the more troubling facts is that most languages have words for this white crystal, and it's not just the problem of the United States. Some call it shabu, philopon, piko, ya ice, tik, and vint, just to name a few. It sounds like a world epidemic. Mayans might just be right?
Some religious people label this drug as the ultimate evil. It destroys everyone and everything it touches, it seems. Who needs a hell in the after life when this drug seems to bring that hell to our society? It is just too easy to see human suffering and bloody violence, on so many levels.