15 Years with Walter and Jesse in the Lab: Looking back on ‘Breaking Bad’


On January 20th, 2008, a new series premiered on AMC. The show followed a chemistry teacher, Walter White, as he was diagnosed with lung cancer and how he eventually became a cook in the meth business in order to pay for his treatment and leave his family with plenty of money behind. The show featured many fun, well-developed and realistic characters, like Jesse Pinkman, a former student of Mr. White’s, and Walter’s wife and son. This show was Breaking Bad – and it broke something, alright – TV history. 

Even to this day, Breaking Bad is wide\y regarded as one of the best shows on television. Audiences adore this show, and critics couldn’t agree more. It has a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 9.5/10 on IMDB, a 5/5 on Empire, a 4.8/5 on Google (User reviews), and there’s even more evidence out there on the Web if you keep looking for it. The episode that had the most viewers on premiere, called “Ozymandias,” is widely agreed upon to be the greatest episode of any TV production. Ever. That’s really saying something. Also, a fun-fact is that the episode is named after a poem of the same name, and plays out just like the lines of that poem do. It just adds to the production quality of an already deeply layered, beautiful show.

Now, 15 years after Breaking Bad’s airing in 2008, it’s just as big, if not even bigger, than when the series originally premiered. Obviously, the current generation is familiar with the memes and clips on TikTok or Youtube or whatever you use. But the generations above us are just as fanatic about the show, and the teachers here at Nanuet are proof of that.

Mr. Salerno, for example, who teaches English 11 and AP Language and Composition, has been a fan since it started airing. He explained that he does not have a favorite episode in the series, which speaks highly of the show as a whole. 

“That the show has so many excellent moments,” he said. “Immediately, I just thought of Walter’s huge speech to his wife with the ‘I am the one who knocks..’ That’s probably everyone’s first choice.” 

The show, he added, is “extraordinary television.” 

Another teacher, Mr. Fidalgo, who teaches AP United States History, as well as US History, Psychology, and Sociology, has also tuned in for the series. 

“I recommended it to a lot of my family and friends,” he said. “It was just really good; and it was already on everyone’s to-watch list.” 

According to Mr. Fidalgo, the show features “such a great character transformation.” He added that he, too, “can’t pinpoint one event” for his favorite moment. 

The show’s influence and quality even extends beyond people who have seen it, Mr. Fidalgo explained. Almost everyone’s heard of the show, and although people haven’t seen it, they still have plenty of positive comments for the series. 

Mr. Ryan, who teaches Calculus, is among those who has not gotten into the show but still had comments to share about it. 

“I’ve heard a lot of great things about the show,” he said. “I’ve got to be quite frank with you, the lead actor, Bryan Cranston, he’s a tremendous actor, and I’ve seen a lot of his work in other shows and movies.” 

Unfortunately, Mr. Ryan said it’s just a show he “never got quite into,” but he says he’s “sure at some point [he’ll] get around to watching it.” 

So, after 15 years of the show being out, it’s apparent how golden the material is. It’s widely beloved, widely appreciated, and widely understood to be a masterful piece of television. 

Whether you consume the show itself, or through memes, or artwork, or even the soundtrack (which some people do, but who can blame them?), you can agree that it’s aged and held up perfectly, and will continue to do so.

If you haven’t seen Breaking Bad, go watch it. That’s not a request; watch the show. You will not regret it.