Breaking Bad and Dignity: Unity and Fragmentation in the by Elliott Logan

By Elliott Logan

An bold interpretation of the significantly celebrated and largely renowned crime drama Breaking undesirable , this booklet argues that not just may still the sequence be understood as a convey that revolves round the dramatic stakes of dignity, yet that to take action unearths - in new methods - principal points of serial tv drama as an artwork shape.

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Additional info for Breaking Bad and Dignity: Unity and Fragmentation in the Serial Television Drama

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The choice of routine and its presentation here is suggestive: Walt’s static exercise shows him exerting effort while staying in place. The scene then connects this image with a long arc of professional and personal stagnation when, after Walt’s coughing brings his tired movements to a slow standstill, we are shown a plaque that hangs on the wall. Awarded by the Los Alamos Science Research Centre, it recognises Walt for his contribution to Nobel Prize-winning research; an extreme close-up focuses our attention on its date: 1985.

57 The deep historical context of industrialised society, with its attendant technological mentality, provides such a way of reading how Breaking Bad handles its plastic stylistic elements in relation to serial form and dignity within the two sequences described above. Across the sequences – separated by five seasons of television – sound, framing, texture, performance, and dramatic structure each craft links that through points of difference express significant development. The first moments of ‘Buyout’ reach back to ‘Bag’s in the River’ through a musical echo, recalling the earlier scene’s opening note while deepening its pitch to achieve a more grave resonance.

It is in this stance he is able to effect the most complete cleavage between his prior state of humiliating vulnerability and his emerging one of more dignified toughness. This transition seems to happen in a brief gesture akin to the moment in which an actor assumes character before alighting the stage. After sucking in several breaths as if preparing to submerge for some time, Walt shuts his eyes and shakes his head a little as he sharply exhales, and settles into a newly relaxed command of his body.

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