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Walter White and Jesse Pinkman have been immortalized in Albuquerque, New Mexico with bronze statues. But despite, Breaking Bad, being one of the most praised TV shows ever made, some residents are none too pleased.
Eddy Aragon, a radio show host and former mayoral candidate in Albuquerque, told Fox News that the statues attract the kind of attention the city needs.
“I think what you saw on ‘Breaking Bad’ should be a documentary, honestly. I think, really, that is the reality in New Mexico,” he said.
New Mexico State Representative Rod Montoya echoed those sentiments.
“I’m glad New Mexico got the business, but really?” Montoya said. “We’re going down the road of literally glorifying meth makers?”
Seemingly plenty of people know that the show was set in Albuquerque, which means the bronze statues outside the city’s convention center make a lot of sense. It’s not like bronze versions of Brian Cranston and Aaron Paul were placed in Schenectady, New York or any other city with a funny-sounding name that had nothing to do with the show.
That’d be weird.
In Albuquerque, it makes total sense.
All The Positive Attention Outweighs The Small Amount Of Negative
Breaking Bad — and its spin-off, Better Call Saul — have brought the city the most pop culture heat since the Springfield Isotopes minor league baseball team came to town. That’s the kind of attention smaller cities that don’t usually see tons of tourism crave.
People now travel to Albuquerque to go on one of the many different Breaking Bad tours that have opened up, shuttling tourists around various scene locations throughout the Albuquerque area. While they’re in town, they’ll likely shell out money at local bars, restaurants and gift shops. It’s the kind of thing Chambers of Commerces dream about. Local business owners agree.
“That brings people here, it provides Old Town with an income, it provides me with an income,” candy shop owner Debbie Hall said to KOAT Action News.
Yet, other residents can’t seem to get past that whole meth thing.
“I feel that Breaking Bad has a lot of issues related to drugs,” Albuquerque resident and an obvious big fan of the show, Lucille Leuppe-Esplain told KOAT. “If it has to do with statues related to drugs, I’m against it.”
Breaking Bad Shines A Light On Real Issues, But Didn’t Cause Them
Yes, meth played a significant role in Breaking Bad. It’s practically a character on the show and one of the few without an Emmy.
However, as Aragon said, the show portrays a very real issue in that part of the country. One that many people likely wouldn’t have known about unless AMC gave the ol’ green light to Vince Gilligan’s pitch about a meth-cooking teacher and his rarely do well former pupil.
Out of the millions of people that have watched Breaking Bad, I feel comfortable that it inspired very few to take up a life of meth dealing. There were probably some — a few bad apples are always going to appear — but not enough to say that Breaking Bad itself could’ve exacerbated the drug issues in Albuquerque.
Albuquerque isn’t the first city to embrace less-than-upstanding fictional characters. If you’re ever in New Jersey you can take a Sopranos tour and organized crime is still a real problem. The Wire’s Omar Little became something of a folk hero in Baltimore. When actor Michael K. Williams — who played the character — died last year, the Ravens even paid tribute to his iconic character during a game.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle