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Breaking Bad Essay

1377 words - 6 pages

In many ways the inception of television has been a growing phenomenon in our history, cultivating many moments that changed the view of how we preserve what influences us. Television has since become so important in people’s lives showcasing films, news, shows, commercials, etc. estimating a whopping 96% universal presence in U.S. households (Croteau, 2014) one can wonder if what is shown on television is a product of the environment or the product of the viewer. This brings me to two major themes in media, women and violence, and how it might have a connection towards what viewers seem to relate to. For the purpose of my research I’ll concentrate on the critically acclaimed show Breaking ...view middle of the document...

That is to say that woman and man may feel equal but alas are not (Guantlett, 2008). Are we still in the same situation as 1950s? No, but the closer we get to making equality possible the more it’s in our faces when it’s not equal. Which brings me to the golden age of television or the anti-hero era as many has coined it. With shows like The Sopranos, Dexter, Mad Men and Breaking Bad seems the villain has taken over our home dramas. In many ways the male lead has gotten stronger over the years and Author Brett Martin explores this idea of the male anti-hero, it leads him to ask the question “where are the women?” Breaking Bad seems to have given a female (in this case Anna Gunn) a strong lead in the show, but she still revolves around her male counterpart.
For starters Breaking Bad is about a high school teacher, Walter White, who is an elderly man with a family. The man’s life is turned upside down when he hears the news that he is diagnosed with cancer. Knowing that if he were to die today his family would end up with nothing, he decides to join the profession of crime. Leading him to his former student and small-time dope dealer, Jesse, although skeptical at first he later changes his mind (due to the money involved). Both become engaged in the business of drugs and both their lives would be changed, forever.
Breaking Bad essentially is successful for many reasons (writing, acting, etc.), but I feel the show has a great blend of character and action. It also works around the concept of secret identity, similar to a comic character. Walter White lives a double life filled with action, like Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne, Walter White has a secret identity known as Heisenberg. Unlike the heroes mentioned, his secret identity is a villainous one. This brings me to Croteau and Hoynes, who they suggest “violence is universal and easily understood in any culture. Producers conscious of the increasingly important international market, therefore, are likely to continue to produce violence-filled programming.”(Choteau,) So why do we watch shows like Breaking Bad? It’s filled with violent characters and innocent people who are align with violent people and end up in very bad situations. Perhaps John Fiske, author of two very popular books (Meenakshi Gigi Durham, 2006) be correct? It would support, Croteau and Hoynes, as he suggest that “Pop Culture is made by the people” in short, is suggesting that we the audiences interpretation ultimately determines what becomes popular. (Guantlett, 2008).
In which case the themes of masculinity and the roles violence and woman in Breaking Bad are themes which the audience has some sort fascination. Much of the themes used in Breaking Bad are used in older films, literature and other shows like Macbeth, Moby Dick, Bonnie & Clyde, The Godfather, Goodfellas, The Sopranos, The Wire, etc. all of which span decades to now. All these...

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