What with Cinnabon and the Belize tourism bureau exploiting fleeting Breaking Bad references for a quick shot of publicity, it’s only fair for the New York Times to get in on the act. The show’s penultimate episode, “Granite State,” found Walter White — or “Mr. Lambert,” as he was briefly called — watching TV in a New Hampshire bar with a shot of Dimple Pinch at his side. Up pop his former Gray Matter partners, Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz, on Charlie Rose, where the host confronts them with an accusation, leveled by Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin, that their recent launch of a drug treatment charity is an attempt to cleanse themselves of their past connection to one Walter White. Sorkin has now obliged by writing that column, which reads, in part:
Little known except to a small cadre of industry insiders, the Schwartzes have been scrambling in recent weeks to keep a long-running secret from being revealed. Gray Matter’s stock has sunk over the last week as speculation has mounted that the company could be tied to a drug kingpin in Albuquerque who has made national headlines: Walter White, the former chemistry teacher turned international methamphetamine dealer known as “Heisenberg.”
The disclaimers at top and bottom dull the joke somewhat, but considering how seriously the Times takes its reputation, that they’ve allowed satire of any kind is a mild shock. Perhaps Sorkin’s estimation of Gray Matter’s market cap at $2.16 billion seems a little high, but he’s enough of a Breaking Bad fan to write in a callback to the Eric Clapton guitar Elliott received in the first season, so kudos to him.
Read more: “Breaking Bad: The Gray Matter of Charity.”