How Breaking Bad helps foster interest in STEM more than The Big Bang Theory
As you’re probably already aware, The Big Bang Theory’s humor primarily feeds off of the social ineptitude or pop culture naiveté of four young scientists.
The show is littered with the same false dichotomy Hollywood incorporated into The Social Network: If you’re intelligent, you have no sense of fashion, can’t keep track of pop culture references (probably because you’re too busy ruining a $400 million dollar Mars rover), don’t take an interest in an active lifestyle and of course, are not attractive. There are plenty of great articles detailing why the show doesn’t deserve accolades from the likes of Dr. Stephen Hawking. Sure, it taught a lot of people about Schrödinger’s cat, but does little in fostering an interest in STEM.
Brilliant minds obsessed about getting laid is the overarching theme of the show. I suppose that makes sense. How could anybody be more interested in their work than getting laid?
On the other hand, Breaking Bad follows the transformation of the protagonist, Walter White from high school teacher to Drug Kingpin. Throughout the journey, Walt (and his sidekick Jesse) turn to science for solutions. Even though the show may not always be scientifically accurate with its experiments, it tries to stay true.
While it’s not exactly a PG-13 public service announce, the show covers a lot of situations where the solutions are science experiments in an uncontrolled environment. The dilemmas are thought provoking and often leaves the viewer wondering what creative solution the chemist can cook up.
We’re never left laughing at Walt for his intellect or cheering for him to hook up with the girl next door. We end up watching a story unfold without making his intelligence and scientific knowledge a handicap, but rather, his greatest asset. One can only hope that it sparks interest for legal courses of action.