Breaking Bad is an American crime drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. The show was broadcast in the United States and Canada on the cable channel AMC from January 20, 2008, to September 29, 2013.
The show tells the story of Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston), a chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal cancer and given two years to live. He subsequently teams up with his former student Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul) to manufacture crystal meth in order to secure his family’s financial future before he dies. The series explores how a fatal diagnosis such as Walter White’s can change someone’s priorities in life.
Breaking Bad would go on to achieve massive success in its five-year run, becoming the most highly acclaimed television show of all time and setting a Guinness World Record after receiving a score of 99/100 on Metacritic.
Here are 15 Breaking Bad facts about the show’s development you might not have known!
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!
1. Oranges = Danger, Death and Dark Humor
Twice in Breaking Bad, falling oranges accompanied scenes in which danger and under-the-breath sniggering were elicited from the viewer: first, when Ted trips over his carpet while trying to escape from Kuby and Huell, and again when an on-the-run Walt is caught leaving his now-abandoned house by his neighbor, Carol.
2. Old Roomies
Javier Grajeda, who played the Juarez Cartel’s liaison, Juan Bolsa, in Season 3, was once roommates with Bryan Cranston when they were both starting out on their own in life.
3. Asset Sharing
Remember the apartment that Walt moved into while he and Skylar were separated? It belongs to the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan.
4. Bryan and Aaron Once Dressed As Each Other’s Characters\
I’ll let this picture do all the talking…
5. Skylar’s Pained Smoking Is… Well, Pained
A former smoker, Anna Gunn struggled with nausea while filming scenes in later seasons where Skylar had taken up smoking. Anti-nausea pills and throat lozenges helped her get through the scenes without throwing up.
6. Jesse Was Supposed To Die
When the show was first pitched, the character of Jesse was slated to be killed in a drug deal gone bad. After the filming of just a couple of episodes took place, Gilligan and the show’s writers decided to keep him in, and the rest is history.
7. Baby Holly’s “Mama” Line Was Unscripted
The scene in the baby-changing room where Holly says “Mama” is the point at which Walt realizes what he has done to his family and leaves the daughter he abducted at a nearby fire station. The baby didn’t have any dialogue in the script but called out to her real mother, who was standing off-camera while the scene was being filmed.
Bryan Cranston played off of this unexpected utterance, and the scene stayed in.
8. The Pizza Throw Was A Glorious Fluke
Walt’s infamous angry pizza throw onto the roof of his garage was, remarkably, done on the first try, with the producers having no need to re-shoot this perfect piece of pie-throwing. Look for the brief look of surprise on Bryan’s face when he does it.
9. The Whole Show Nearly Never Happened
Vince Gilligan nearly didn’t pitch Breaking Bad at all after seeing that a similar drug-related drama, Weeds, was already on TV and doing well. He didn’t think that pitching a “Weeds only with meth” idea would go down well with TV executives.
Ironically, Breaking Bad turned out to be generally considered the superior show.
10. Hector Salamanca was the Original Gus
According to the original plans for the show, bell-ringing, wheelchair-bound cartel don Hector Salamanca was supposed to be the meth kingpin with whom Walt would eventually have his big showdown. He was eventually replaced by Gus Fring after the showrunners decided that they preferred the “chemistry” (pun intended) between the chemist and the Chicken Man.
Ladies and gentlemen, the newest buddy cop show on primetime television…
11. The Inexperienced Cousin
Real-life brothers Daniel and Luis Moncada played the efficient and deadly Cousins to perfection until their demise in Season 3. Pretty surprising that Daniel Moncada got the job purely through his brother and had never acted professionally before.
12. You Can Visit Los Pollos Hermanos
One of the many spots on Breaking Bad fan tours of Albuquerque is the restaurant Twisters, used for exterior and interior shots of Gus Fring’s fried chicken joint. The LPH signage and decorations have been taken down, but there’s still a portrait of Walter White on the wall.
13. The Origin of the Middle Name “Hartwell”
Walter’s unorthodox middle name, Hartwell, is taken from the name of Vince Gilligan’s partner Lucy Hartwell Rice.
14. Network Rejections
AMC wasn’t the only network to whom Breaking Bad was pitched, but they were the ones who were bold enough to see its potential: Showtime, FX, TNT, and HBO all inexplicably passed on the show.
15. Know Your Chemistry
In the show’s title sequence, the sequence C10H15N (149.24) appears as the chemical formula and molecular weight for the very methamphetamine that drives the show.