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Breaking Bad (AMC,
2008-2013) dramatizes the rise and fall of Walter White, the
popularity of the TV series can simply be attributed to the excitement and
pleasure surrounding an average high school chemistry teacher’s secret life as
a drug kingpin. It boasts a perfectly created atmosphere of dissipation,
criminality and that omnipresent shady part of the everyday life that most of
us never notice or pretend that it does not exist. This show convinces the
audience that they are peeking through a keyhole at a dangerous and vicious
world.I contextualize and conduct a textual analysis of this acclaimed television
series as a case study that demonstrates the increasingly complex construction
of complex identity in contemporary television. This study refers to the
reception of specific characters among critics and audiences, as well as
investigates the ways in which the setting and depiction of ethnicities
influence representations of masculinity. Calling for attention to the apparent
lack in complex studies on television, the male representation in Breaking
Bad suggests that men are not merely experiencing a crisis of their
masculinity in contemporary society, but demonstrates that there is a problem
with uniform white, heterosexual representation of masculinity on TV.The
intense atmosphere is masterfully complemented by camera work. When watching
the first episodes of season one, I was amazed by the configuration of scenes,
the choice of shooting points and foreshortening, colours, forefront and background
work, and the different components in the frame.The storyline is another huge
advantage of “Breaking Bad.” A story of a regular chemistry teacher whose measured
and blurred life was ruined in one day by the news that he has incurable cancer
changes him into being a chemist. Walter White believes that a human being is
nothing but a layout of molecules, with all the respective consequences: no
heaven, no hell, no afterlife retribution, no real significance of humanlife.
Nothing to lose too; the title of the show hints at what is going on in
Walter’s head after he learns about his disease and the understanding that his
life is going to end soon, and that he has always lived in a way he didn’t want
to. What comes out of it is told in five seasons, and this story is theatrical
and attractive. Yet another component of “Breaking Bad” is its characters.
Perhaps you are already fed up with one-sided, clichéd vanilla heroes, or
insane, evil masterminds that Hollywood inserts in almost every movie it
produces. Such characters have no depth,no inner conflict, no plausibility as
well as their actions basically triggers the plot forward, and allows movie
directors to demonstrate new stunts and effects.”Breaking Bad” is different;
each character is a personality, with his or her own motives, problems, thoughts
bugging them, life situations demanding their response, and so on. Each of
these characters, even if he or she is secondary and appears only for a couple
of episodes, is thoroughly exposed, so the show makes you believe he or she is
real. Moreover, each character is complex, meaning that good and evil
intentions, desires, motives, and thoughts constantly intertwine and interact
within them, defining their behaviours—like all of us. Within television
serials, viewers are often reminded of their past feelings of empathy in previous
episodes through starting new episodes with recaps, which, however, can also
hold certain memories and thus manoeuvre viewers to assume a certain approach
to characters. Thus, the finale of Breaking Bad’s fourth season begins
with a “previously on Breaking Bad”-sequence, in which Jesse, an
assisting character, witnesses drug lord Gustavo Fring visit his old enemy,
Hector Salamanca, at the nursing home where he lives due to being paralysed, to
ridicule him: “All dead. As is your grandson”. The viewer is  instantly evoked of the vindictiveness of Fringe’s
character re-establishing him as the rival.The former scene of course proves to
be relevant to the episode as it shows the situation where Walter is the bad
guy as he oppresses Jesse into killing one of Fring’s employees, the skilful
chemist Gale, because he poses a threat to Walter’s superiority within methamphetamine
production. A dynamic relationship is maintained between the viewer and the
character.The more insight we gain into the character, and his/hers
inspirations, opinions and moral values, the more interest we take in him/her.
Character engagement is crucial to television serials, since the span of the
description is much longer than in films, and thus calls for characters urging
enough to make viewers return each week. Moreover, narration plays an important
role in terms of guiding the viewer response as the “ultimate organizer” ,
which can work to both stopping the viewer from engaging in a character through
withholding information about him/her, as well as encourage engagement through emphasising
certain lookout of a character to make him/her more favourable than other

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