Breaking Bad is something of a classic underdog story. It debuted to meager viewership (1.2 million) and was fairly respected among critics. By the season 5 (and series) finale, over 10 million viewers tuned in, and enthusiastic critics crowned it one of the greatest TV shows of all time.
The show has earned a second life on Netflix and was called “the most binge-watched TV show ever” in 2014 by TIME Magazine.
So odds are you’ve seen it, but how much do you actually know about the show, its hidden easter eggs, and straight up surreal behind-the-scenes trivia?
Can you name the A-list celebrity of stage and screen who loved the show so much he sent Bryan Cranston a fangirly letter? Do you know what the actors are really smoking in those meth scenes? Do you know how many times Jesse said “b*tch?”
Read on to find out all of that and more!
Aaron Paul and RJ Mitte (who play Jesse Pinkman and Walt. Jr, respectively) are both billed as regulars in the first season of the show. Despite this fact, their characters are the only two regulars who actually never meet.
Walt Jr. has cerebral palsy, and as you’ll see a few entries in, there’s a secret to Mitte’s convincing performance.
It Was The Plan All Along
Most successful shows are milked into longer runs due to pressure from the network, but creator Vince Gilligan says it was his decision to end Breaking Bad after 5 seasons. He has said in interviews that shows that run too long eventually see a decrease in quality and that he wanted to tell a complete story without compromising.
The show ran for 62 episodes, a number which also has some significance to the mythology of Breaking Bad. More on that later …
Actor RJ Mitte plays Walt Jr., Walter White’s teenage son with cerebral palsy. It’s a condition Mitte knows how to play because he actually has cerebral palsy in real life! His case isn’t as severe as Walt. Jr.’s, so he still had to learn how to use crutches and adjust his speech for the role.
A Cast Of Unknowns
There’s not a whole lot of “oh yeah, I’ve seen that actor before in [x]” in Breaking Bad because Vince Gilligan purposely chose relative unknowns or unrecognizable character actors for the show. In fact, Gilligan says that the studio recommended several big-name stars, but he turned them all down for lesser-knowns.
That applies to everyone including the leading man. Keep reading to see which famous actors were up for Walter White before Bryan Cranston.
AMC Didn’t Want Bryan Cranston For Walter White
AMC and Sony originally approached more famous actors like John Cusack and Matthew Broderick to play Walter White before Gilligan suggested Bryan Cranston. The network didn’t think Cranston would be right given his recent tenure in comedies like Malcolm in the Middle.
In a twist of fate, both Cusack and Broderick declined the role, allowing Gilligan to cast Cranston.
Good thing, too, because Cranston was so popular, he attracted some serious attention from one A-list celebrity you’ll recognize instantly in a few entries. Try not to be too shocked!
Can You Get My Brother A Job?
The twin Mexican gangsters known only as “The Cousins” were the silent, violent, terrifying Big Bads of seasons 2 and 3. Behind the scenes, when one of the cousins was originally cast, the showrunners asked him if he could recommend another actor with a similar look to play his brother. The actor just recommended his own real-life brother, who got the part.
I Didn’t Inhale
Breaking Bad is, in part, a show about meth addicts, so it shouldn’t surprise you that there are several scenes that call for the actors to smoke meth. Obviously, they don’t actually smoke meth, but what are they smoking, anyway?
It’s actually rock candy from a local candy shop in Albuquerque called “The Candy Lady.” The actors smoke it, but they don’t inhale.
If you feel somewhat betrayed by this on-screen fib, just wait until you get to the end!
Why 62 Episodes Is Significant
Breaking Bad ran for 5 seasons and a total of 62 episodes. The number 62 is actually important to the show’s mythology. Following our science and chemistry themes, the 62nd element on the periodic table is called “Samarium,” and it is used to treat some forms of cancer including, you guessed it, lung cancer.
Breaking Bad’s most high-profile superfan is undoubtedly Sir Anthony Hopkins. After binge-watching the show (yes, Anthony Hopkins binge watches shows just like you!), he was so moved that he fangirled out and wrote a long letter to Bryan Cranston, praising the show and comparing it to a “Shakespearian or Greek tragedy.”
It’s All A Lie
Walter White burst onto the Albuquerque drug scene with a meth recipe that was 99% pure and used a secret ingredient that turned the rocks blue. If you were ever afraid that letting your kids watch Breaking Bad will teach them how to make meth, stop worrying. A couple of real chemists said that it’s impossible to make crystal meth blue.
If you’re still high on the Breaking Bad knowledge we’ve just shared with you, please like or share this article and feel free to leave us a comment below!
And oh yeah, Jesse said “b*tch” 54 times.