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While not a living and breaking character in its own right, the powerful blue methamphetamine at the heart of Breaking Bad was arguably the show's most damaging force, slowly rotting the personalities and lifestyles of anyone crossing its path. And as Bryan Cranston's Walter White proved time and again, one didn't need to partake in order to face those consequences. As it turns out, though, creator Vince Gilligan & Co. did come relatively close to having Walt test his own product. Ultimately, though, they decided just to keep him hooked on making the meth, rather than on smoking it. In Gilligan's words:
The other thing we talked about was: Should Walter White ever try his own product? He's so proud of the product. What would happen if he tried it? Would he like it? Would he get hooked on it? . . . A lot of the recovering [meth cooks] we talked to or read about said that they became hooked on the process of cooking, as some heroin addicts become hooked on the process of getting a needle ready. It just seemed to us that it was enough that Walt was hooked on the power and the chemistry --- and the process. It would've muddied the waters if he started using the drug, because this was a man who never had control in his life, and suddenly he's got control. Why mess up a good thing?
It's so easy to both agree with and to playfully rebuke that last sentiment. I think it's obvious why everything Vince Gilligan said to EW is agreeable, especially when looking back to the start of the series, and not just thinking of Walt as the hat-tipping Heisenberg. Can anyone imagine how weird Breaking Bad would have gotten had Walt started sampling his own wares back when he first took the RV into the desert? I mean, the desert is a great setting for avoiding people, and Walt would have had a qualified meth-smoking instructor in Jesse, but the character would have gone careening off the deep end five minutes after audiences met him.
In later seasons, though, when Walt was on his way to taking over Gus Fring's empire, it might have almost made sense to have Walt feel bulletproof enough to see what all the blue meth hubbub was about. But for all his negatively obsessive qualities, Walt showcased a deep intelligence that made him fully aware how important it was in his illicit career for him to stay sober and grounded in the face of compounding stresses.
Luckily for the lead character's nerves, Vince Gilligan and the creative team decided against taking Walt on the wild side, choosing instead to keep his additions and impulses wholly fixated on the creation of the drug, as opposed to its usage. It's the rare gig where that's the case, too, since bakers taste their own cakes and seamstresses wear their own clothes. (Presumably.)
But still, part of me absolutely wishes that there was a one-off Breaking Bad episode in which Walt and Jesse set aside a weekend, set up a playlist of of bass-pumping jams, and spent 48+ hours getting to the heart of why the blue meth was such a popular product. I just want to hear those conversations, really.
Alas, Walter White lived and died without intentionally getting baked on his own creation, and the show didn't suffer for it. Fans should keep eyes and ears out for more Breaking Bad fun when the show's cast and crew hit up San Diego Comic-Con for a 10th Anniversary panel. Until then, check out the interesting scenes that Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul really wanted Walt and Jesse to get, and then head to our summer premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are on the way.