10 things you may not know about Breaking Bad

With the grand finale, Felina, now on our screens, our obsession with the best TV in years is going to have to wind down.

To keep us hyped up until viewing time tonight, though, here are ten lesser-known facts about the show gleamed from IMDB, interviews, fan wikis and so on.

And, obviously, spoilers.

1. Jessie was supposed to die in season one

Yep. Apparently Jessie was just a gateway drug for Walt, and wasn’t supposed to continue beyond the end of season one, show creator Vince Gilligan said. Aaron Paul’s performance, however, was so good they kept the character in.

2. ‘Breaking Bad’ is a colloquialism that means to go astray.

You know how we sometimes say we’ve reached ‘breaking point’? Well, once you go beyond that, we might say you’ve gone off the rails – but in the American southwest it’s called … breaking bad.

Makes sense now, eh?

3. The show was turned down by four big networks

Hard to believe that the biggest TV series in years almost didn’t make it to air, but it was rejected by HBO (who would have done a good job with it, we’re sure), Showtime, TNT, and FX.

In fact, FX – who have made shows like Nip / Tuck and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – started work on a pilot, but dropped it in favour of another show.

What show? Dirt, starring Courtney Cox. It was cancelled after two seasons, and is probably best remembered for this kiss between Cox and Jennifer Aniston.

4. Walt Junior has cerebral palsy in real life

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The actor who plays Walt Jr, RJ Mitte, does in fact have cerebral palsy just like his on-screen character. However, Mitte’s case is relatively mild compared to Junior’s, so he had to learn to walk convincingly on crutches and change his speech for the part.

Bravo, Mr Mitte.

5. The show actually has a hidden chemist

Walt’s boss at the carwash is played by a first-time actor who is actually a PhD in chemistry. Bogdan, the aggressive, eyebrow-heavy car wash owner who we learn to dislike in season one, is played by Marius Stan – a practising chemist with a PhD. Breaking Bad was his first big acting gig, making him more chemist genius than actor. Take that, Walter White.

It should also be pointed out that Bryan Cranston had a chemist on hand to teach and train him to make sure the team didn’t make any phenomenal chemical mistakes.

6. Saul Goodman = It’s all good, man

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Mind blown? Yep. Quality subliminal marketing at its best.

7. The cast’s favourite episodes

AMC’s official website sat down with the cast to ask them what their most memorable scenes were. Here are some of the answers:

Bryan Cranston (Walter White): Season 2, Ep12: Phoenix

This episode, you’ll remember, saw Jesse’s girlfriend Jane overdose and choke to death – while Walt watched and did nothing. For Cranston, this was a major turning point for the character, and he said it was a traumatising experience to perform, too.

Aaron Paul (Jessie Pinkman): Season 4, Ep 7: Problem Dog

This is the scene where Jessie has to tell his support group how he put down a dog that became a “problem” – though of course he’s not talking about a dog at all. It’s a powerful scene, for Paul, too, who said “it allowed Jesse to finally (somewhat) confess his sins.”

Dean Norris (Hank): Season 3, Ep 7: One Minute

The shootout with the Cousins makes the top of Hank’s list. There was no script for this five-minute scene, so the director just roared things at Norris, like “you think you see them!” and “now you’re scared”!

Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman): Season 3, Ep 12: Half Measures

“Holy s—. Did I just see that? Unbelievable. This level of shock, tension and fear is something you don’t see on TV…until Breaking Bad.” Saul says of the shocking scene when Walt saves Jessie from the drug dealers by running them down. Yep.

8. The meth in the show is actually blue rock candy

Which is why you’ll see Aaron Paul giving away bags of the stuff on TV shows, or why the cast’s donuts were topped with the blue tasty treat on set. It’s fairly easy to make if you’re into your sweet stuff, as the video above demonstrates. Tasty, tasty meth.

9. Walt’s money is buried in … a movie studio

In the latter stages of season 5, Walt buries his money and uses a GPS tracker to find them again. The number on his lottery ticket, however, don’t point to some desert location with tens of millions of dollars.

In fact, N 34 59′ 20″ W 106 36′ 52 leads to 5650 University Blvd, Albuquerque, New Mexico – otherwise known as the Breaking Bad set. Seriously, you can copy and paste them into Google Maps.

It’s nicer that way, we think.

10. Samuel L Jackson tried to get a cameo as Nick Fury

Samuel L Jackson is a big fan of the show, and he was filming The Avengers in a movie studio just near the Breaking Bad set. So, naturally, he wanted to turn up in Los Pollos Hermanos with flowing black jacket and eyepatch and order some fried chicken.

"I just wanted to order a three piece and really freak people out," he said in a 2012 interview. "Then people would be going, 'Wow, was that him?'"

It wasn’t to be, however. Different versions of this story play out different ways – in some, Vince Gilligan refused the cameo, while in others, Jackson just turned up at the set in costume unannounced one day, but there wasn’t a way or time to fit in him.

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There you have it though – some little-known facts about everyone’s favourite TV show of the moment. We’re sure many more anecdotes and facts will surface as the special edition DVD box sets get rolled out.

We’ll need something to fuel the addiction, now that it's all over.

By Dave Molloy

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