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This image released by AMC shows Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, wearing a Bollman 1940’s pork pie hat in a scene from the second season of "Breaking Bad." The series finale of the popular drama series aired on Sunday, Sept. 29. (AP Photo/AMC, Ursula Coyote)
’Breaking Bad’ ends, but 10 lessons linger
First Published Sep 30 2013 02:23 pm • Last Updated Sep 30 2013 02:26 pm

Sunday’s "Breaking Bad" turned out the lights on one of the darkest shows in television history.

Even as this drama cooked up storylines that celebrated evil and depravity, "Breaking Bad" gleamed with a bright side, too. There were plenty of positive messages for the viewer who acknowledged them during the series’ five-season run.

At a glance

’Breaking Bad’ logs record 10.3 million viewers

AMC says Sunday’s “Breaking Bad” finale seized a record-breaking number of viewers for the series.

The concluding episode was seen by 10.3 million viewers. That was three times the audience for the midseason finale airing a year ago.

The network says an expanded one-hour version of its “Talking Bad” discussion after-show delivered 4.4 million viewers.

The drama’s popularity has soared during its five-season run, while it reaped acclaim and awards. At last week’s Emmy Awards it collected a best-drama-series trophy and a supporting-actress statuette for Anna Gunn, who played the wife of teacher-turned-drug-lord Walter White opposite series star Bryan Cranston.

The series’ previous record was set last Sunday, when 6.6 million viewers tuned at the same time as the Emmys.

— The Associated Press

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Here are 10 lessons "Breaking Bad" leaves behind:

Stay in school and study hard!

As Walter White demonstrated after he ditched teaching for producing crystal meth, you can make millions from a subject like chemistry that far too many youngsters (including Mr. White’s bored students) find annoying and useless. Walt (aka drug lord Heisenberg) proved otherwise with his storage shed of money.

Chemistry has everyday applications.

The next time you dispose of a corpse with hydrofluoric acid, all you devoted "Breaking Bad" viewers will know not to dissolve the body in a bathtub, but instead in a plastic container. You learned this valuable tip in Season 1, when Walt’s lab assistant Jesse Pinkman disregarded his instructions and regretted it. The acid memorably dissolved through the bathtub and floor at Jesse’s house, leaving a bloody mess in the hallway downstairs. You won’t make that mistake.

Family is oh, so important.

"Breaking Bad" reminds you that entering the drug trade and messing with the wrong people in it can lead to your wife and teenage son despising you. It can also lead to your brother-in-law getting brutally murdered. You would hate that if it happened.

Build a better mousetrap!


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Steve Jobs knew it. Jeff Bezos knows it. Walt White serves as a mythical champion of their kind of acumen: Offer a better product with an obvious advantage, and the world (or, anyway, addicts who loved Walt’s super-potent "blue sky" crystal meth) will beat a path to your door.

Need a lift? Try a personal makeover.

If you’re stuck in a rut, like Walter White at the start of "Breaking Bad," consider a new look. Shave your head, grow a tidy, I-mean-business beard and fit yourself with a black pork pie hat. Then come up with a new name. Like Heisenberg. In your new identity, people will fear you and you’re sure to go far.

Keep your personal vehicles, especially your RV, in good running order.

A regular checkup to keep Walt’s rolling meth lab in tip-top shape would have spared him and Jesse inconvenience, not to mention mortal danger.

Keep a shrewd lawyer on call, especially if you mean to routinely break the law.

Sure, he may be a sleazebag and a shameless self-promoter. But a lawyer like Saul Goodman ("Better call Saul!") is worth his weight in hundred-dollar bills to a client like Walter White, whom he represented faithfully, if more than often sarcastically. With his mastery of trade practices — legal and illegal — Saul was the most impressive TV lawyer since Perry Mason.

Like it or hate it, Obamacare might cut down on illegal drug trade (at least on TV).

If financially strapped schoolteacher Walt White had had better health care when he got his cancer diagnosis, maybe he wouldn’t have begun cooking meth to help cover his expenses. Meanwhile, his long-term problem — leaving his family provided for after his death — might have been a non-issue had teachers in his district been better paid. On the other hand, if Walt had found himself in less of a jam, there would have been no "Breaking Bad."

Finish what you start.

It’s never good to leave hanging important tasks. Walt is a shining example of a guy determined to tie up loose ends. That was part of why the "Breaking Bad" finale was so good.

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