Walter White's family from Breaking Bad: 5 facts that only American viewers understandBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/walter-white39s-family-from-breaking-bad-5-facts-that-only-american-viewers-understand.html
The best television series of all time, Breaking Bad, is so good that many have watched it several times. But even if you spend years watching it, you will not be able to understand some things that only Americans can understand. We offer you a few facts that will help you look at your favorite series in a new way.
Former Russian resident Lilia Kim, who moved to the United States for permanent residence, spoke about the nuances of the life of Walter White’s family, which were revealed to her only after 4 years of living in America. After reading them, you will understand the essence of some moments from the storyline that seemed illogical and strange.
1. The White family is not just poor, but practically destitute. This is difficult for Russians to understand, looking at people who have a house with three bedrooms, a fireplace, a garage and a swimming pool, as well as two SUVs. Only an American immediately sees that we are talking about a cheap “rancher” in a provincial town in one of the most seedy states.
Most of the things that flash in the frame are cheap items from 99 cent and other popular discount stores. It says a lot that there is a White family - for breakfast they have a bacon substitute, which even many homeless people disdain. At parties the family throws for relatives, boxed wine made from “second pressing” is served. To get such a drink, the manufacturer pours water into the already processed cake, which, after fermentation, turns into a cheap and not very sophisticated swill.
Walter wears cheap clothes from Walmart: pants, shirts, jackets, sunglasses. He eats white bread sandwiches with peanut butter and grape jelly. For our people this is completely inedible, but for poor American families it is common food.
Speaking of cars, Skyler has a “car”, inherited from her mother, if not from her grandmother. Walter White drives a Pontiac Aztec, a car that was once considered one of the ugliest creations of the American auto industry in its history. Of course, you can buy such happiness at a bargain price.
A family's car fleet provides an opportunity to look into a family's family budget - they don't have an extra $200-300 a month to lease a car like millions of Americans do. Skyler can't afford to shop for her own pleasure; she buys junk at yard sales to resell on eBay. She has to pack dozens of packages to send to her clients in order to at least slightly supplement the family budget.
2. The Whites live in a house that was mortgaged in better times, when Walter was still working in the laboratory. The school chemistry teacher can no longer afford it and the family is struggling with all its strength. The main character has the cheapest family health insurance, which cannot cover basic things and always requires co-payments from his own pocket.
You also need to take into account Skyler’s pregnancy and her son’s cerebral palsy, which also has a direct bearing on health insurance. The younger White also needs money for college, which amounts to an average of $100,000 for 4 years of study, including food, accommodation and all the necessary books.
The scale of the family tragedy is not visible to an ordinary Russian who is not familiar with American reality. It is because of hopelessness that Walter White perceives the news of cancer as a kind of deliverance and the whole family has to persuade him to fight.
3. The domestic viewer, watching the story of Walter’s fall from grace, believes that it all started with his brother-in-law, who accidentally gave him an idea on how to make great money and it perfectly coincided with the capabilities of the main character, a professional chemist. Everything was fueled by the thought that there was nothing to lose anyway, even if they were caught.
Americans see White’s illegal business as an opportunity to live like a human being for a few months before his death, gain the desired freedom and secure the future of the family. There is no need to pay taxes on criminally earned money, which makes the business as profitable as possible.
4. Fear of the IRS - the US Tax Service - runs like a thin thread through all seasons of the series. It's hard for Russians to understand, but Americans fear their tax officials almost as much as they fear members of drug cartels. The tax service can appear at any time and take away whatever they want if there is any suspicion of violations.
It is the fear of the IRS that forces Skyler to pull off the story of buying a car wash in season 4. The Whites are afraid of their money and come up with a way to legalize it. Because of the tax authorities, a paradoxical situation arises - Walter begins to cook meth to end poverty, but he and his family, in fact, remain starving when they already have a whole container of cash.
5. Galligan showed the tragedy of the American man, forced day after day, year after year, to “swallow his anger” and pull the burden of providing for a family that does not value him. He may not even dream of support - those around him are only busy constantly judging Walter.
He constantly has to think about how to pay a stack of bills: for the house, for treatment, for school, for food and, of course, taxes. The main character has only two options: die or become a criminal. At the end of the series, White admits that his time as Heisenberg cooking meth was the best time of his life because he was free.
The series shows the deliverance of an ordinary American from oppression, his liberation, albeit illegally. This is a kind of interpretation of the American dream. That is why Breaking Bad, the first season of which appeared back in 2008, is still one of the most successful television series.