Since its debut in 2008, the explosive TV drama “Breaking Bad” has shocked viewers with its rich storytelling and visceral elements, reaching upwards of 6.6 million viewers in its latest episode Sunday night.
Critics, too, can’t seem to get enough of Heisenburg, the main character’s alter ego. The show has nabbed 50 awards in its potent five-year run.
With the impending final episode on Sunday, fans are nervously scratching their heads in pursuit of a new obsession, but it’s quite clear what their problem is.
While it gives viewers the dark side of drug use and abuse, the show, in fact, proves to be more addicting than meth, the show’s key element.
For those just tuning in, the show follows Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher gone rogue when he is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.
Desperately, he turns to cooking meth in order to support his family following his imminent passing.
In a five-season-long chain of events, Walter not only turns into a kingpin meth chef, but he quickly loses his soul along the journey.
While it may not produce similar side effects like sores or “meth mouth,” the signs of a “Breaking Bad” addiction in conjunction with meth addiction are uncanny. According to Narconon International, signs of a meth user include insomnia, loss of appetite, unusual activeness, anxiety and paranoia.
Many who know a victim of this Heisenburg obsession can identify the symptoms listed above. If someone with this addiction goes without watching the show for even a small amount of time, they get restless, irritable and ruthless. They will stop at nothing to get what they crave: more “Breaking Bad.”
From a loved one’s perspective, it’s difficult to watch a curled up, hollow shell of a person these addicts eventually become hunched over a laptop screen with bloodshot eyes glued to every move.
Unlike real meth heads, most individuals with this obsession aren’t ashamed of their addiction, even in public.
Their irrational outbursts of “Oh my word, why aren’t you watching it?” and reiterations of just how brilliant Vince Gilligan is mirror the illogical nature of the typical meth user.
Unfortunately, the come-down might be as detrimental as it is to real life meth users. Deprivation for both parties include profuse sweating, shakes and, of course, the inconsolable need to get the good stuff. The more they get, the more they want.
It seems like the rise of the show is directly correlated with the increase of incessant TV show binging via Netflix. In fact, this phenomenon is diesel fuel for homework procrastination.
But American culture endures spurts of entertainment withdrawals on a regular basis, and we learn from them.
For instance, the world didn’t implode as was predicted when the final “Harry Potter” movie hit theaters. Although it’s impossible to reason with insanity, the truth for this psychotic behavior is left for those on the outside to interpret.
Is that deep down these addicts also want to cook and sell meth? Or is it sick joy of watching a middle class man spiral out of control?
In the end, the only bad these fans are breaking is their own ego.