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Breaking Bad: The Right Chemistry

Vince Gilligan in the writer's room, the genius behind Breaking Bad.

Vince Gilligan in the writer’s room, the genius behind Breaking Bad.

Breaking Bad’s wildly popular success is due to the great chemistry between top notch writers and a great cast. When I interviewed Giancarlo Esposito (Gus) a couple years ago, he told me the actors religiously followed the script. There was little to no improvisation or changing the lines.

So kudos to the Breaking Bad writing staff, Vince Gilligan, Thomas Schnauz, Peter Gould, George Mastras, John Shiban, Sam Catlin, Moira Wally-Beckett, Patty Lin and Gennifer Hutchison, you were the show’s heart and soul.

There are so many good lines from Breaking Bad. Here are a few of my favorites:

Jesse, you asked me if I was in the meth business or the money business. Neither. I’m in the empire business.

Just because you shot Jesse James, don’t make you Jesse James.

When you have children, you always have family. They will always be your priority, your responsibility. And a man, a man provides. And he does it even when he’s not appreciated or respected or even loved. He simply bears up and he does it. Because he’s a man.


I will kill your wife, I will kill your son, I will kill your INFANT daughter.

I am the danger.

I am the one who knocks.

Some people are immune to good advice.

They’re minerals, Marie! Jesus!

Someone has to protect this family from the man that protects this family.

Yeah, science!

This is my own private domicile and I will not be harassed, bitch.

Yo 148, 3-to-the-3-to-the-6-to-the-9. Representin’ the ABQ. What up, biatch? Leave it at the tone!

No more half-measures.

Say my name.

It’s not over until I say it’s over.

It’s over. I won.

Tread lightly.

You’re the smartest man I know, and you’re too stupid to see he made his mind up ten minutes ago.

We are a family.

You’re going to need a bigger knife.

Say the words. Say you want this. Nothing happens until I hear you say it.

I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really — I was alive.

Better call Saul

The writers gave the show a huge boost of comic relief casting Bob Odenkirk (Mr. Show with Bob and David) as the loud-mouthed but street smart attorney Saul Goodman. The character was so popular that Odenkirk finagled a spinoff with AMC, tentatively called Better Call Saul.

I have mixed feelings about spinoffs. They don’t usually do much for me. Sure, The Simpsons was a phenomenal spinoff from The Tracey Ullman Show. Frasier was a great spinoff from Cheers, and Make Room For Daddy begat The Andy Griffith Show which in turn begat the hit show Gomer Pyle.

But there have been many disappointing spinoffs too — AfterMash from MASH, and Joey from Friends for example. Happy Days launched two successful spinoffs — Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy, but it also gave us Joanie Loves Chachi, ’nuff said. All in the Family, one of my all-time favorite shows spun off Maude and The Jeffersons, but it also gave us Archie Bunker’s Place, Gloria, and 704 Hauser, all failures.

So a successful show does not guarantee a successful spinoff. Breaking Bad fans love Saul’s character an awful lot. So attention producers and writers, in the words of RuPaul, don’t f*ck it up.

Favorite Saul lines:

Let’s just say I know a guy who knows a guy…who knows another guy.
If you’re committed enough you can make any story work. I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner, and it worked because I believed it.
Yo, Adrian. Rocky called. He wants his face back.
That’s your get out of jail free card.
If I ever get anal polyps I know what I’m gonna call them — Jesse Magnets!

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2 thoughts on “Breaking Bad: The Right Chemistry

  1. armstas on said:

    Had to add two favourite Heisenberg quotes:
    This is not meth.
    Stay out of my territory!

    • Those are two good ones Armstas. Walt looks at Tuco and says, “This is not meth,” then POW! And that scene at the Home Depot type store where he goes through the shopper’s cart, advises him to be more discreet, then tells him and his pal to “Stay out of my territory!” Sighhh…. will miss all that intensity and surprise.

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