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Walter White in Breaking Bad starts out as the ultimate beta male

I recently began watching Breaking Bad as I’ve come across too much praise for this show over the years to keep ignoring it. I decided to give it a chance, and after two episodes, I have to say that it is really good. The last show I watched and enjoyed was Spartacus a few years ago, which is a celebration of masculinity. Strangely enough, it seems the same could be said for Breaking Bad as it is about Walter White’s awakening.

The first episode of Breaking Bad introduces you to a guy who is depicted as a prime example of a simp: Walter White is an absurdly overqualified chemistry high school teacher who just turned 50. His PhD from Caltech really didn’t get him far in life. His clothes are boring, his haircut is boring, he’s pudgy, wears unfashionable glasses, and sports a distinctly non-cool mustache. That’s some clear visual signaling, guys! However, it gets a lot worse as his life is really as shitty as you’d imagine just looking at him.

First, his wife is fugly. That actress must be the ugliest woman since that chick from Sex in the City to have gotten a prime role in a TV show. But back to the fictional part! Walter White’s fugly wife doesn’t work. Instead, she’s selling trinkets on eBay and seems to occasionally work on short stories. Her much better looking sister once suggests she may want to work on a novel as short stories don’t sell well — this is true — which leads to some tension between the two of them. One of those two women is good-looking and professionally established, the other is so unattractive that she should be kept out of sight. Walter’s strong and empowered wife who crashed through the wall at Mach 5 and is about to turn 40 also had the bright idea of wanting to have another baby. I have to admit that I was tempted to stop watching at that point, but I didn’t as I wanted to see how much of a loser Walter White really is. This was more out of some kind of morbid curiosity.

It gets worse. It’s his birthday, and his friends and family openly mock him. Walter’s day starts with his fugly harpy of a wife serving him disgusting “veggie bacon” for breakfast, which he barely manages to eat. Meanwhile, he gets to enjoy being lectured on why he can’t have real bacon. At a later surprise party, his brother in law, a loudmouth with clear alpha characteristics working in law enforcement who happens to be married to the hot sister of Walter’s wife, shows off his gun. When Walter lifts it up and remarks that it’s quite heavy, he gets to hear that, “that’s why we hire men”, leading to laughter all around. His brother in law later suggests a toast to Walter — and nonchalantly takes Walter’s beer and drinks it afterwards. This is followed by the crowd gathering around the TV to watch a news report that has an interview with Walter’s alpha-in-law, while Walter stands all by himself in a corner at the other end of the house.

Which character looks like a loser to you?

Walter White is a guy everyone seems to walk over. Nobody seems to respect him. For his birthday, his wife gives him an unmotivated handjob while she’s browsing the web. He has a student called “Chad” (I think the writers of this show know what’s up!) who bangs the hottest girl in class and drives a Corvette — Walter works a part-time job at a gas station to make ends meet. A key scene of the pilot episode has him wipe the rims of that car, while Chad and his girlfriend mock him. That girlfriend even videotapes Walter.

The show doesn’t directly spell out why Walter is such a loser. Why does he have to work two jobs? However, the answer is clear: His ball-busting wife wants to live in a house, and a house is clearly above their means. Yet, she doesn’t want to work. Also, they don’t need that effing house. They have one (handicapped) son and a daughter on the way who would comfortably fit into a moderately large apartment. Yet, Walter has to finance a house with a pool in the backyard which is a mess because his lazy wife doesn’t clean it. The viewer’s attention is drawn to this when Walter, in a depressed mood, lights one matchstick after another to watch it burn down. Walter would probably have been fine with more modest dwellings, seeing that he is depicted as a very down to earth guy. On the other hand, Walter’s materialistic wife needs to pretend to all her fake friends that they’ve made it, so they have to live in a house they can’t afford.

Things aren’t going well for Walter. He has played by the rules all his life, but where is the reward? He has an ugly wife with a shitty attitude, they don’t have enough money to pay their bills on time, Walter doesn’t have proper health insurance, and his car is falling apart. Then he gets diagnosed with lung cancer, despite never having smoked in his life! This is the turning point for Walter. He can’t afford healthcare and thus proper treatment. As he has been told that he’s going to die soon, he starts to not give a fuck anymore. He quits his part-time job, which he hated, even when he didn’t have to clean Chad’s car, and we even see him stand up to his wife as well. In a key scene, he tells her to “get off his ass”, and you see that she suddenly seems to respect him a bit more. The first episode ends with Walter going to bed, turning his wife on her stomach and just taking her. Instead of telling him about her “headache” or that she’s “not in the mood”, she appreciateds his initiative. “Walter, is that you?”, she asks while he rams his cock into her decaying pussy. It’s a new Walter who is going his own way. I only wish he’d bang some young chicks because eye-candy seems to be sorely missing all around in this TV show.

If you are among the few people who haven’t watched Breaking Bad, give it a try. I watched the first two episodes so far, which I greatly enjoyed. If you have watched it already, go back and watch the first episode again, and pay attention to how the show paints Walter as the ultimate loser, before he decides to dramatically change his life by starting to produce Crystal Meth and rolling in the dough. Of course, men are commonly shown as dolts in mainstream media, but Breaking Bad also shows that Walter is really pissed off. The typically depicted male idiot on TV or in movies, on the other hand, is happy that everybody is walking all over him.

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8 thoughts on “Walter White in Breaking Bad starts out as the ultimate beta male

  1. Great commentary.

    I’ve seen other married guys get into the game (albeit typically less serious than meth) to make ends meet. I myself have felt tempted to invest a grand in some dope to sell it as i had a job i despised several years ago, which paid shit.

    Glad I just said fuck it and ditched the states to bang gorgeous Asian chicks in Vietnam for awhile. It taught me I never have to go back to something I hate as long as I don’t have a kid depending on me. The air quality sucked and I got food poisoning once, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

    I went back to the states and fell back into some old habits, but no harm no foul. Why? Cuz I didn’t make any babies. Going to get back outta the states and regroup again. Never give up your freedom. Vet female companions for lifestyle compatibility. Yada yada.

  2. No spoilers, butby the end of the series’ run, some folks felt the angle you’re watching the show from got betrayed somewhat. I don’t agree entirely. Crime is a dangerous path and Walter was going to end up eventually facing the consequences of his actions, which isn’t exactly what these folks called a “copout”.

    But yeah, you’re not the first guy to notice these undertones in the show. I recommend the whole thing to the finale.

  3. I love Breaking Bad. One of the few good series on television. I think they do a great job on showing Walters transformation. I think most men working a steady job and living with a woman can relate on some level. Sure Walter is an over the top personality. But a lot of men can relate with the feeling of being stuck in their lifestyle. Working their ass off just so some ungrateful bitch can have the American dream. While slowly feeling the life being sucked out of them. I think most men have some fantasy of Breaking Bad at some point. It surely reminds me about the moment i adopted the mgtow lifestyle. I was lucky never to sink that low like Walter. But i know the feeling of FUCK THIS SHIT, I’M OUT!

  4. This is an imperfect analogy, but the career of Jordan Peterson reminds me of Walter White’s story.

    Peterson spent a couple of years as a professor in the Harvard psych dept, but oddly withdrew from the tenure review process to restart the tenure clock at Toronto (huge step down).
    Of course that and having a part-time clinical practice would put him in the upper middle class, higher than White but still dependent on a salary in his 50s.

    Then the sudden transition to becoming a famous self-help personality, stating opinions unpopular in academia for the first time in his career, about the trans-pronouns.
    Just as blue meth is nothing but basic chemistry, ’12 rules’ is rudimentary psychology for the masses – the people who show up at his talks are pretty dumb.

  5. Excellent article Aaron I have watched all this show and I’d be interested to see your commentary as the show goes on. Just outta curiosity what do you make of Jessie Pinkman?

    1. I find quite a few of the characters unconvincing as they seemingly change their personality frequently. It’s common that in TV shows script-writing duties are shared among a team, but in the case of Breaking Bad, it arguably would have helped if some of the writers paid closer attention to the work of their colleagues. Pinkman is an interesting character at times. However, a lot of his actions are incongruent, such as taking a girl by the hand and leading her into his bedroom — only to play some video game (instead of banging her). He also seems to be able to flick a switch in his head that goes from addict to non-addict and back instantly.

  6. Great article, Aaron! I didn’t notice all these references when I watched the show for the first time but, truth be told, at that time (2013) I hadn’t come across any red pill material yet.

    I think one of the reasons why the show was and still is so popular is because it deeply resonates with most men’s feelings and thoughts about the current situation.

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