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Breaking Bad's Meth Cooking Is Unrealistic, According To A Former DEA Agent

Fans of AMC's "Breaking Bad" will know that some of the most entertaining and electric sequences in the entire series are the meth-cooking montages — many of which are extremely stylized and set to music. This trend begins in the very first episode, when Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) cook their first batch of meth together in an RV while "Dead Fingers Talking" plays in the background.

As the series goes on, Walt and Jesse trade in their worn-out RV for a state-of-the-art super-lab run by Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), and later facilitate a method of setting up temporary meth labs across Albuquerque under the guise of a pest control company called "Vamonos Pest." These meth cooking montages seem to become just as grandiose and elaborate as the labs themselves by the series' end, and remain a cornerstone aspect of the series to this day.

Although "Breaking Bad's" meth cooking sequences can be incredibly entertaining, former DEA agent Craig Chretien says that some of the meth cooking we see within the series is extremely unrealistic — particularly that earliest montage in the RV.

Chretien says this early cook scene is sloppy and unsafe

During an interview with Vanity Fair in which he broke down some iconic drug trafficking scenes from across film and television (including scenes from "Narcos," "The Wire," and "Ozark"), Craig Chretien addressed how the very first meth-cooking montage in "Breaking Bad" is not realistic; not only due to the lack of safety precautions present but the actual cooking of the meth itself.

"What sort of surprised me is that [Walter White], who is a real chemist, he's pretty exposed. Also not wearing gloves. That would be sort of unrealistic" said Chretien. "A real chemist wouldn't go without having all the protection then to start mixing these types of chemicals." Chretien went on to critique the lack of "sophistication" in the mixing process, saying it just seemed like the chemicals were haphazardly thrown together without mixing or measuring anything.

Funnily enough, one thing which Chretien did say was realistic was the dirty RV lab the duo is working out of, which was referred to jokingly within the DEA as "Beavis and Butthead" labs. Although this early sequence featured some unrealistically lax safety guidelines and some messy cooking, it's undeniable that this montage makes for one of the most memorable and entertaining moments in the pilot.