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10 of Television’s Most Memorable Bathroom Scenes

If you strip the cliffhanger details from the Breaking Bad mid-season finale, you’re left with… a man reading Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass on the porcelain throne. The AMC drama is all about things hiding in plain sight. Still, we never expected the doggedly determined Hank Schrader to uncover his biggest clue regarding a string of meth crimes while on the pot. Then again, we never figured a high school chemistry teacher would gain a reputation as one of the most feared drug kingpins between lonely frozen dinners, chemotherapy, and feeling like half a man. The finale’s bathroom scene, in which Hank finds a copy of Walt’s book with a telling inscription from Gale Boetticher, is one of the show’s most suspenseful moments. In anticipation of the Breaking Bad season 5.2 premiere tomorrow, we combed the annals of television for other memorable scenes that took place in the unlikely setting of the bathroom.

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Hannibal’s The Shining homage

Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller has expressed his admiration for the work of Stanley Kubrick many times. Shades of the late master’s oeuvre are felt throughout the NBC series, but one film’s influence is most notable: The Shining. The 1980 film and Hannibal tell the tale of a man losing his mind, with a different psychological unraveling at the story’s center. Fuller recreated the movie’s red and white bathroom for one scene:

“What’s so remarkable about it is it’s a purely psychological space. You were inside this secret corner of Jack Torrance’s mind where the ghost of Overlook’s past has cornered him and is having a conversation about killing his family… That impressed me the most and had the biggest impression on me. I understood watching it as a 10-year-old that this was psychological storytelling. He wasn’t concerned what was real or what was not real.”

The set is striking, and offered fans another reason to stay tuned and spot Fuller’s references to the horror greats of the past.

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