31

Why didn't Walter White ever consume his own product in Breaking Bad? I mean he did once consume cannabis, is this because of work ethics or any alternate views?

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    Walter smoked the Cannabis because he wanted to relax enough that he could kill Krazy 8. Crystal Meth doesn't relax you, it turns you into an insane toothless skeleton. – Crow T Robot Oct 20 '14 at 17:33
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    If he had consumed his own product (or anyone else's product) it would have changed his character. Jesse already consumed their product as part of his story line and it wasn't pleasant. Walter wasn't in it for the high, he was in it for the money and as a very good chemist, he knew his product was more than good enough for sale, no need to test it plus Jesse already did. Simply put, there was just no reason for him to do that and it would have ruined his character. He was the Yin to Jesse's Yang. – DustinDavis Oct 20 '14 at 18:35
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    @DustinDavis"He was the Yin to Jesse's Yang" that's a very good line. – raviteja Oct 20 '14 at 18:47
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    refer to the ten crack commandments: Never Get High, On Your Own Supply – zonabi Oct 20 '14 at 22:11
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    Because he knew what it was. – DA. Oct 22 '14 at 17:35
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The series was not really so much about drug use, and if Walter had been a tweaker then it presumably would have had to have been more so. Also, it would have overshadowed some of the ambiguities and nuances of his character; getting high would in fact have been a good explanation for some of his behaviour but having such an easy explanation would have made it less thought provoking.

I don't, as other people have said, think it has anything to do with Walter's personality. He could just as easily have been using without changing the plot (I think what is in keeping with his personality would be that he would conceal his use from others), but again, the focus of the story would then be a drug user and the series was not about drug users; making it more so would have diluted other elements.

There are really surprisingly few scenes of users using considering the length of the series; much of that is just Jessie getting stoned on weed -- and even more than that, just Jesse sitting smoking a cigarette.

Most of the criminal characters aren't users and show some disdain for them. In a way, drugs are totally tangential to the plot; they just happen to be a source of income for organized crime, which is the focus of Breaking Bad, as per Vince Gilligan's famous quote about how he wanted to take Mr. Chips and transform him into Scarface.

Of course the meth thing is very sexy; although the plot could as easily revolved around smuggling guns or diamonds, having someone actually making drugs on TV was a bit more original and interesting. But the show was still not about drug use, it was about criminality and violence.

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    "The series was not really so much about drug use" - "There are really surprisingly few scenes of users" - very appropriate observations. This is an excellent answer. In fact nobody, even the people actively worried about Walter's evil doings have rather the more indirect side effects in mind (i.e. the murders and stuff) and don't really consider the problem of making thousands of people addicted to a very dangerous drug so much at all. Even Jesse, who's addicted now and then seems to be able to easily switch it off and disregard it without much consequence. – Napoleon Wilson Oct 21 '14 at 10:25
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    @NapoleonWilson I think a major reason to not make it about drug users is that a realistic portrayal, one which might contradict stereotypes and the Dr. Phil assumption set, would be very unpalatable. People do not want to see drug users as complex and diverse, they want to see evidence of why the drug war is a good thing -- subhumans who need rehabilitation by the state. So to make a TV show focussed on drug users would be bland and predictable, or else far too controversial to garner as much success as B.B. – goldilocks Oct 21 '14 at 11:46
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    Indeed. Yet, I found it quite remarkable that a series about producing drugs is so significantly not about drugs at all. But as you said that's just not the scope of this show in any way. The series is not about addiction to methamphetamine, but addiction to the business, its power and its recognition, the empire so to say. – Napoleon Wilson Oct 21 '14 at 12:03
  • I think it makes it a secondary thing, but it's not divorced from the concept. The episode with the fly in Gus' lab, and the overall damage itself is reflective of meth addiction and intoxication itself. Not all power and greed destroys like this: methamphetamine does. – The Serpent Says Apr 21 '17 at 18:42
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    @TheSerpentSays It would make more sense to say that no form of power and greed necessarily (i.e., by definition) destroys, unless we make the definition circular (e.g., "capitalism == destruction" or "meth == destruction"). That the fly in the lab episode reflects something about the nature of meth intoxication is pretty abstract (and subjective); I don't think the topic was of serious interest to the creators. Almost anything taken to the right extreme (e.g, watching television) can be destructive, whether we associate it with power and greed or not. The meth angle in BB was superficial. – goldilocks Apr 21 '17 at 18:57
36

He's a Science teacher. He understands the effects of Meth and knows how addictive it is. Besides, he was in it to make money. Never combine business with pleasure if you want to be successful. Just as Frank Lopez warns Tony Montana in Scarface, "Don't get high on your own supply".

7

Walter never wanted to be addicted to the stuff he was making. He was already sick because of cancer and doing drugs could worsen his health and as Johnny explains in his answer that being Chemistry wiz he knew the ill effects. He wanted to be alive and awake all the time so that he could take clever decisions and complete his job no matter how difficult it was, be it packing & transferring meth, or killing someone. It would have been difficult for him to manage everything he was doing and lying to people would have been difficult for him.

He also had to return to his home every night and sit with his family plus his brother in law was in the DEA and maybe he could sniff meth because that was everything he looked for. Maybe he also felt mature to do stuff like this and he also had kids whom he never wanted to influence.

5

Walter is "in the business of building empires." There is a clear cultural separation where if you want to be in the business and earn the respect of people like Gus, you need to be firmly above the product.

I think talking about the effects of meth, etc. dilutes this point. Walter isn't tempted at all; that would violate his vision of himself, and his goals. Yes, Jesse, in particular his relationship with Walter, is very complicated because Jesse uses but it otherwise nearly as talented as Walter.

  • Walter wasn't really "in the business of building empires". His sole reason for getting into the business was to make enough money to pay for his medical expenses, and leave behind enough money to take care of his family. – Johnny Bones Oct 21 '14 at 19:52
  • @JohnnyBones you mean the sole reason for getting into the business that he believed at the time he entered the business? – djechlin Oct 22 '14 at 0:01
  • You watched the show, right? Walter began selling meth because he needed the money to pay hi smedical bills from cancer. As the show progressed, he wanted to leave his family enough money so they never had to worry about money for the rest of their lives. Somewhere along the way he became a bad-ass, but it was never about bulding an empire. He wasn't even supposed to be alive long enough to see his legacy, why would he want to build an empire on meth? – Johnny Bones Oct 22 '14 at 14:09
  • @JohnnyBones You might want to share your views in an answer to the respective question. – Napoleon Wilson Oct 22 '14 at 15:05
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    @JohnnyBones yeah, it's a really simplistic analysis to say he did it for the med bills in the beginning then changed at some point. How would you feel to recall you were a jilted chemistry prodigy when told you have only a few months left to live? Are you sure your family would be your only motive for what you do next? etc. – djechlin Oct 23 '14 at 0:51
1

I agree with the above stated answers that Walt didn't want to become addicted, needed to stay focused, etc. But I feel the biggest reason was his pride. I think he felt he was always better than those crank addicted junkies. This is evidenced on how he talked down to Jessie. Walt was a scientist "for chrissake!" and he wanted everyone to know this was business, he wasn't a junkie.

But it was his pride too that got the better of him, turning him darker in the guise of him helping his family. He was actually becoming the scum he hated, and Jessie was becoming the concienscious person Walt pretended Walt was all along.

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True drug dealers or any business man know the power and influence of consuming one's own products, and good drug dealers and manufacturers "never get high over their own supply."

Walter knew the influence drugs could have and as a chemist and synthesist, he knew it was too dangerous to consume even for enjoyment. Walter wanted to be someone big, famous, respected, and rich and no one that popular was known for consuming meth.

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    This is basically the same as Johnny Bones' answer from yesterday. – Crow T Robot Oct 21 '14 at 20:08

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