Measuring the Internet’s emotions about the ‘Breaking Bad’ finale

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In a total non-surprise, Breaking Bad completely dominated everything everywhere yesterday. The terminal episode aired last night, bringing the ballad of Walter White and co. to a close. So how did the final show fair on social media? Putting it lightly, Breaking Bad took the rest of TV out back and shot it.

Social analytics team Viralheat went ahead and collected some of the more noteworthy bits of data – perhaps most crucial being the fact that Breaking Bad had 373,337 mentions on Twitter last night. But what the firm was also able to track was how we felt about it all. While clearly how we feel is that television as we know it will never be the same and maybe now is the time to cut the cable cords because what’s even the point anymore!?!?, Viralheat got a little more specific. 


As mentioned, the show itself received 373,337 mentions; 24.5 percent were positive and 59 percent were negative. This is a bit perplexing given that most everything I’ve personally heard, or seen posted to Twitter, Facebook, or (gasp!) actual review sites is heralding the finale as one of the best show wrap-ups of all time. Of course, given that we are talking about analytics technologies reading emotion, it’s incredibly possible that tweets lamenting the end of the show were interpreted as “negative,” but were no such thing.

“Viralheat thinks that the sentiment has a higher percentage of negative due to the strong (sad, upset, etc.) feelings around Breaking Bad ending,” a rep for the company tells me. For example … 

There was also a lot of blatant love.

Of course there is also this camp: 


The man, the myth, the legend himself raked in 133,158 mentions; 31 percent positive, 51 percent negative. Why the high negativity for a character that is – generally, and maybe strangely – beloved? Well, Twitter is an overwhelmingly negative place for starters; you know how you’re more likely to review something you hated to warn people than something you thought was okay, or even liked? Yeah, that applies here too. Also, with such a large number, the sentiment is bound to be more diverse. You get a lot of people talking, you’re going to also get a lot of opinions.


Aaron Paul has made us all fall in love with him as well as Jesse, even if we know he’s probably no good for us. That heart of gold shines through and we just can’t help it. Jesse Pinkman recieved 43,706 mentions, with 40 percent positive and 41 percent negative.


Naturally, everybody’s favorite character getting a spinoff (okay, he might be the only character getting a spinoff, but with good reason) accumulated 7,248 mentions – and was the most positively tweeted-about of the bunch. Some 48.5 percent of the tweets were positive, and 36 percent were negative.


Oh poor, long-suffering Skyler. She’s always been so strangely hated by fans and labeled a buzzkill – seriously, what a nag, right? Her husband lied about dealing meth and then completely turned their lives into a dramatic Pablo Escobar-themed telenovela. What a relentless harpy!! So of course, of her 5,951 mentions, only 34 percent were positive and a whopping 58 percent were negative.

Also worth noting is the fact that none other than Samuel L. Jackson is the biggest jerk of all time for tweeting a spoiler sans warning.


Now that that’s out of the way, look at what Mr. Jackson if you’re nasty posted today: 

The reactions are … passionate. Here’s one of the more reserved responses.

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