I work as a felony prosecutor in a town where our biggest narcotics problem is methamphetamine. I'm also a big fan of the show Breaking Bad, but whenever I ask colleagues (particularly law enforcement officers) whether they've been following the show, I invariably get the same answer: "Absolutely not. I refuse to watch any show that glorifies that lifestyle."
Now, it should be noted that I fully sympathize with their concerns about the glorification of meth use. Meth is pure evil. Meth addicts are often barely recognizable as human. And every meth user is an addict; there is no such thing as a casual or social meth user -- at least not in the end. People who use meth more than once will generally use it until it destroys their lives and the lives of the people who care about them.
Anyway, for a while I tried to argue that Breaking Bad doesn't really "glorify" meth use; it actually shows how utterly destructive meth is. I would tell my colleagues that Breaking Bad promotes meth use only in the sense that Schindler's List promotes Nazism -- in other words, it may desensitize someone to the horrors of meth use, but it would never encourage them to adopt the lifestyle.
But lately I've become more and more convinced that I'm wrong. On the show, Walt makes lots of money, drives fancy cars, and leads an exciting life. True, everything will come crashing down around him in the end, but people who are inclined to dip a toe into the world of illicit narcotics aren't generally the sort who carefully consider the long-term consequences of their actions.
So what do you think? Does Breaking Bad "glorify" meth use? Does it unhealthily normalize the meth business for the average viewer who would otherwise have no knowledge of that dark and dangerous world, and who might suddenly feel the urge to live a little dangerously?