Rooting for the Bad Guy

Submitted December 12, 2011

I don’t have cable, but I have Netflix. Endless upon endless choices of mediocre programing. Sometimes, I get suggestions from friends what to watch. Most of the time I take the liberty to check something out on my own.

I was browsing recently came across a show that is pretty popular called Breaking Bad.  I watched the pilot. Here’s the synopsis: Guy finds out he has a terminal disease, everything about his life is average. His job, his marriage, his ambition, his things, all very average. To leave some money for his kids, he starts cooking meth to sell to drug dealers. He is a chemistry teacher so he can make the “best” meth on the market.

The story is told in a way that you feel sorry for the guy. He’s down and out and you begin to justify his actions. He is the bad guy! He makes poor choices out of his desperation. Unfortunately, it’s not just this show. There are many television programs in which protagonist is a terrible person, making terrible choices. The big question is, “Have I let these characters choices become acceptable?” When you consider the history of prime-time, television has come a long way. Lucy was a “trouble-maker.” She was always up to something in the sitcom, I Love Lucy. Today our heroes are meth dealers and murderers and adulterers. I was shocked at how many Americans watch the debauchery that is Two and a Half Men. A show that not only celebrates promiscuity but belittles anyone who doesn’t live this way.

Don’t cheer on the bad guy. Don’t find yourself feeling for the person who seems down and out and chooses a life of sin. There is no justification. The means never justify the ends. Heed Paul’s warning to Ephesus:

With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity (Ephesians:4:17-19 NLT).

No shame, lustful pleasure, every kind of impurity. These are lifestyles that are piped in through our televisions sets. Paul wote to Timothy warning of the human condition at the end time (2 Timothy:3:1-5). We are not only seeing these characteristics in our world, we are seeing the heralded by others. We live in a dangerous era. Stay close to God. Read the wisdom in His Word. Pray, “Your Kingdom come.” 

Blog posts do not undergo review by the doctrinal review team of the United Church of God. This post represents the personal opinion of the author and should not be considered the official stance of the United Church of God. If you have any questions or concerns please direct them to

Peggy Yule

Peggy Yule's picture

This is so true. I have found that when at work, there are many conversations about what people watched on tv the night before. They all seem to laugh about the sins that the characters committed during the episode. It's very disconcerting. I don't think they realize that when they talk about their own lives, it sounds the same. If only they knew God! I should say, when they know God it will be a wonderful time. What will the conversations be about then?

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