Critics praise Breaking Bad for its authentic characters and storytelling, but is it scientifically accurate? Mythbusters is breaking out the Hazmat suits to find out.
EW has learned that the Discovery reality series — in which everything from urban legends to Hollywood scenes are scrutinized in the name of science — will put AMC drug drama Breaking Bad under the microscope with an episode that includes appearances by star Aaron Paul and creator Vince Gilligan. “We’ve been wanting to do a Breaking Bad episode for awhile,” says Mythbusters host Adam Savage. “Obviously there’s a lot of fertile material to play with, so things that happen on the show have been ending up on our list of stories to tackle for a couple years now. And when Vince said in an interview that he’d love to see a Mythbusters/Breaking Bad crossover, we reached out to him directly and the response was overwhelming positive.”
Savage and co-host Jamie Hyneman will test the science from a scene in season 1 of Bad, in which Paul’s Jesse Pinkman uses hydrofluoric acid to dissolve a body but ignores instructions from Walt (Bryan Cranston) to use a plastic container. Jesse places the body in a bathtub instead and the acid eats right through the tub, which winds up falling through the floor. “Hydrofluoric acid is terrifying stuff,” notes Savage. “It’s not quite like alien blood, which is what a lot of people think when they think of powerful acids. It’s poisonous in a way that is completely unique and very disturbing.” (Don’t worry, Buster won’t be harmed during this investigation.)
Co-hosts Tory Belleci, Kari Byron, and Grant Imahara will be conducting a second experiment based on another scene from the show’s first season. The Mythbusters gang had actually planned to do a third, but the other two turned out to be so “meaty,” they opted to save it for a possible sequel episode. “There’s easily one more if not a couple more Breaking Bad [inspired] episodes,” says Savage. “Those guys have been so much fun with technology and science that there’s a lot that we could do with them.” That prospect might make you exclaim, “Yeah, bitch! Magnets!” But one thing’s for sure: None of the experiments will involve Walt’s highly illegal “Blue Sky” crystal meth recipe. “We have no interest in increasing the public’s knowledge about how to make methamphetamine,” says Savage.
While the Mythbusters hosts were excited about the prospect of a Breaking Bad-themed episode, it posed a bit of challenge. “We’re going to push the limit of humor about this as far as we can, and it’s a difficult line because Mythbusters is a family show,” says Savage. “A lot of people watch it with their kids, and yet we’re doing with a collaboration with pretty much the least family-oriented show on television right now, about a science teacher turned drug manufacturer who kills people. At the same time, they’re very committed to getting the scene right on that show. The fact that those guys love science and they want us to test their stuff – and they don’t care whether we bust it or not, they want to actually know the answer – that’s our favorite kind of collaboration.”
UPDATE: The Breaking Bad installment is being shot this week in San Francisco and will air in the spring.