intertextuality in breaking bad


It is only because a group of Mexican bandits attack, leaving Cody fatally shot, that they are exempted from the guilt of committing the actual act. Elliott Logan's article also notices a shift in the stylistic and narrative progression of television which "moves away from 'zero-degree style' and towards what have been called 'cinematic' modes of visual and aural presentation" (148). And we'd most likely have to pay him to keep quiet. Rebecca Williams comments on how technology changes a viewer's consumption of a series, stating how DVD and Blu-ray box sets affect the pace at which a fan of a show can watch (including the option to wait until a series has ended to view the show in a singular and compressed time span) and noting how "ontological security can be felt differently when watching a series unfold or when watching via box sets" (152). While the narcocorrido addresses a particular aspect of Walt's rationalization and self-mythologizing, "El Paso," broadens the psychological portrait of Walt and how his romanticized vision has become fully incorporated into his identity. "Understanding Stuart Hall's "Encoding/Decoding" Model through TV's Breaking Bad" In Communication Theory and Millennial Popular Culture: Essays and Applications. The "Ozymandias" episode of Breaking Bad essentially functions as the octave portion of a sonnet. He has to be the same Marshall Dillon next week" (25). I would counter that television is particularly well-suited for incorporating multi-media influences and therefore able to use intertextuality as an integral aspect of Breaking Bad's theme of Walt's psychological split. While Ozymandias had at least an artifact, though one partially eaten away by the sands of time, Walt has even less of a legacy: only graffiti as a reminder of his previous life. The cross-modality of visual, aural, and linguistic signifiers available to film and television allows for a broader range of meanings from which the viewer, or, rather, the reader, can extrapolate. As M. Jimmie Killingsworth puts forth, "Overall, scholars are reluctant to see the poet at odds with the science of his day" (156). Intertextuality specifically is a product of this postmodern fetishization of Paraliterature, and they "no longer simply 'quote,' as Joyce or Mahler might have done, but incorporate into their very substance" (55). Examining how different cultural codes influence and alter the meaning of a text becomes a useful methodology for interpretation, especially when these cultural codes are read with an eye towards the patterns inherent in a serial narrative where traces and echoes of not only previous works, but also previous episodes and installments, are considered. The hegemonic uniformity ascribed to popular culture, and in particular television, is commercially unviable and therefore not a dominate strategy (which is not to say that such examples do not exist, only that it does not exist as a uniform strategy). The search for meaning in a text is itself a revolutionary act of active decoding. Walt believes in the supremacy of his own intellect to the point where he fails to take into account just how truly random the violence of the drug trade is, or does not care how violent it is, because despite his overconfidence in his mental abilities, Walt's greed triumphs over everything, just as it does for Cody. It's money for groceries, gas, for birthdays and graduation parties. The film is very much a Western in its tone, relying on the genre conventions of an adventure film set in Tampico, Mexico. The refracted appearance of Walt's image in mirrored or glass-like surfaces, and even the distant camera angle when Walt and his family clash violently and he sees his frightened son Walt Jr. (R.J. Mitte) trying to protect his mother, embody the more objective or distant nature of the octave section of the sonnet (5.14). Examining the functions of the narcocorrido, the self-presentation of the narco-trafficker, and its correlations to Walt's rise as drug kingpin provides insight into the thematic message of the series. Walt, however, has no actual frame of reference for his eventual bravado in his Heisenberg persona and, as such, appropriates hyper-masculine images from cinema (Scarface. Cumulatively, these incidents of copying act as an indicator of how Walt's toxic environment is affecting his character. In Shelley's poem there is at least a trace of sentimentality with the lost artistry of the Ozymandias' monument. A guy opens his door and gets shot and you think that of me!? Cultural texts do not exist as simply monologic constructs with singular, transcendent, and universal meanings or interpretations, but instead they exist in a continuum of ever-changing interpretations. Now option three would be my choice. Logan addresses this concern in his article: "Even as the term 'quality' points towards a presumably coherent grouping of programmes of an identifiable type, it seems unavoidably to involve making an evaluative claim" (147). Dialogism as an opposition to the monological resides more in prose, according to Bakhtin. The unnamed gunslinger of "El Paso" falls head over heels for a Mexican cantina girl named Feleena, a fateful encounter which draws the gunslinger into a life on the run when he fights another cowboy for her affection 4 : I challenged his right hand for the love of this maiden Down went his hand for the gun that he wore My challenge was answered in less than a heartbeat. Walt's myopic view of his own circumstances and his own inability to examine the conditions that precipitated his suburban banality rather than the scientific glory he had envisioned in his youth are analogous to the myopic view neoliberalism has of its own principles. However, the multichannel period started to open up the possibilities of available content, and now with the wider array of digital services, the medium is able to operate in an artistic mode with attention to detailed and complex narratives. In this manner the novel, with its myriad characters, its various idiolects and registers, makes everything relational and essentially in media res. Whether these intertextual sources are of a declared origin (as is the case with Breaking Bad), or an indeterminate origin (clichs, folk wisdom, etc. Turner, however unfortunately, was not incorrect when he stated, "The frontier is the line of most rapid and effective rapidization of Americanization" . The emphasis here is on television as a novelty predicated on twists and surprises to keep the distracted viewer interested.

It's done! Television, by contrast, is a domestic activity where all sorts of distractions can occur. The issue here is one of class distinction, with quoting being the providence of high art and intertextuality being relegated to the domain of popular culture. Whitman spent most of his writing career perfecting and revising Leaves of Grass, just as Walt on. Walt can the finally, if reluctantly, admit to himself that instead of being the hero of his own narrative he has indeed become the villain in his family's narrative. Their role became crucial during the bloody war of independence in 1810. The quantity of media that Adorno and MacDonald are critical of is indeed a cause for concern, but in the current media climate where subscription services can offer material targeted at a niche audience and not have to rely on ratings and advertising for their profit means that specialty cable channels and streaming services have less risk in offering unconventional material. Neoliberalism's misguided faith in the individual at the expense of social support systems fits in with Walt's own hubris and greed. 1 Improvements in the hardware are, I believe, one of the reasons television shows such as Breaking Bad became what can be called "appointment television." Dialogism, then, is in continual dialogue with other works of literature and builds on those previous works. If the broadcast channels that persisted from the network era (NBC, CBS, ABC) did not provide diversity in their content, then a viewer could switch the channels to one of the newer, cable options, such as , , and . Reader interpretations to this unitary language are irrelevant to the creative inspiration of the poet, who is presumed to be speaking in his own authorial voice. Popular culture is by nature cross-sectional and often invokes media from a disparate range of influences, both so-called high culture and a more accessible popular culture. In the episode "Gray Matter" we see a young, virile Walt being romantic with his first girlfriend Gretchen while discussing the chemical basis of the human body (1.5). In narcocorridos the narco-trafficker persona constructs and disseminates a narrative of the oppressed and marginalized, and he epitomizes a Robin Hood-like figure of resistance against American law enforcement whose encroachment on the border is viewed as an extension of capitalist ideology. The transformation of Walt into a ruthless drug kingpin forms an essential theme of Breaking Bad: Walt's metamorphosis into an anti-hero. In this manner intertextuality becomes an effective tool for closing the gap between the author and reader, between the acts of writing and reading. So while Walt might empathize with the idea of a cowboy on a mission of vengeance and the highly romanticized iconography of the western film, he is living in a world with moral and psychological consequences. What allows a dynamic dimension to structuralism is his conception of the "literary word" as an intersection of textual surfaces rather than a point (a fixed meaning), as a dialogue among several writings. I would contend that despite the proliferation of media, even in a media landscape where there is quite a significant amount of content providers, whether it is YouTube, network television, cable subscription services, and/or streaming services, there are a number of shows that do produce content which lends themselves to being read and not just watched. While.

As John Corner, in his essay on the nature of television criticism, has pointed out, "The various forms of criticism have a long tradition of wrangles over quality, but few bodies of writing can rival that on television in regularly seeing not only individual works but, often, the medium itself as deserving of negative judgement" (364). While Walt does receive a death sentence at the beginning of the series with his cancer diagnosis, it is ultimately a ricochet from the M60 that Walt has in the trunk of his car that spells his doom in the final episode (5.16). 3 By extension narcocorridos rely on a deliberate crafting of self-identity to justify their violent activities in the drug trade as morally legitimate. Intertextuality redefines the process as two aspects of a continuum, a dialogical process where each of progression of art builds upon the previous work, as well as each reading of a text builds upon our interpretation of the material. As with many film genres, the Western is replete with variations and sub-genres within the genre itself (spaghetti westerns, revisionist westerns, comedic and horror variations, even niche sub-genres like the drug-fueled surrealism of acid westerns, Mexican-made Charro westerns, and the martial arts focused Eastern/Western Wuxia).

In It is in this vein that I repeat Sturgeon's Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense against the attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud. Alex Hunt argues that the regionalism of New Mexico is evident in the cinematography of the series, with its wide open spaces and desert landscape: "Such scenery often implicitly invokes language of the Western genre, as when Walter White and Jesse Pinkman find isolated scenes of canyon and prairie, notably To'hajiilee, in which to cook methamphetamine" (35). The crossmodality of visual, aural, and linguistic signifiers allows for a broad range of meanings and interpretations across a wide demographic of viewers, or, to use an appropriate terminology, readers of the show. I just wanted to sit there patiently while [Walt's lawyer Saul Goodman] is gesturing and figuring it out." He does attempt to extricate himself from the drug trade and from producing "Blue Sky" methamphetamine, but the international profits generated by Madrigal Electromotive, the company that lures him back into business, prove too alluring to resist for long. When Walt is finally without the support of his family his psyche finally cracks and disassembles, much in the same way the colossal titan of American neoliberal policies crack and disassemble without social support systems (such as unions, affordable health care, welfare, unemployment insurance, etc.) The Western, with its nostalgic glossing over of U.S. imperial and genocidal relations, is endemic of the same mentality that gave rise to unregulated capitalism. Without constraints, moral or familial, Walt is free to become what David P. Pierson identifies as a rational economic actor who, "exemplifies the tenets of neoliberal entrepreneurism" (23). Taken together these examples of popular music in the series provide a portrait of Walt's narrative trajectory from a meek, emasculated individual to the power-obsessed drug kingpin personality of Heisenberg. Now that the impetus for Walt's criminal career is negated by his desire to claim some sort of legacy in a selfish act of hubris, any claims of freedom and disenfranchisement have to be weighed against the violence of his actions and the parties involved in those actions-all without any selfjustifying rationalizations. When, during the flashback sequence, he says to Jesse, "The reaction has begun," he is not only referring to the chemical reaction, but to a causal chain of events reaching a point beyond even his capacity for self-denial Ozymandias' statue cracks, leaving only the "colossal wreck" (310). The series, which did not gain significant ratings until its third season when it premiered on Netflix in a "bingeable" format, was able to incorporate many divergent media influences and experimentation into its narrative because of AMC's need to meet their newly acquired status as a programmer of original content in much the same way as HBO before them. I mean, this is way back in the fifties. Visually this idea of absorbing the negative aspects of an interconnected world where every atom belongs to everyone is rendered on screen by Walt adopting the traits of the people he has killed, even if he has not witnessed these characteristics personally, such as when he unconsciously imitates Gus' habit of laying out a rolled up towel at the base of the toilet before vomiting in a later episode titled "Salud" (4.10). Fiske notes that this is difficult as the economics of the industry preclude such a narrow targeting: "Television is, above all else, a popular cultural medium. The next section addresses the show's intertextual references to poetry. Jason Mittell instead offers up an inversion of the glance-versus-gaze model by making the claim that the seriality of television allows for "extended character depth, ongoing plotting, and episodic variations," which in his determination, "are simply unavailable within a two-hour film" (32). Cody and Dobbs exist as the two poles of Walt's personality: the rationalist who can think his way out of anything, whether that means avoiding seemingly impossible no-win scenarios or compartmentalizing guilt, as well as the Walt who has been thoroughly corrupted and, as such, is prone to fits of anger when his empire is threatened. This time, however, the painting is dingy and in the den of the Neo-Nazis that Walt is working with. But because it happened, am I supposed to just lie down and die with him? The text is polysemic because, as Bakhtin states, it contains "a multitude of concrete worlds, a multitude of bounded verbal-ideological and social belief systems" (288). The narcocorrido as a cultural signifier of social stratification and class struggles functions as a tool for Walt's self-mythologizing.

What if he just mentioned it in passing?" The viewer is introduced to an affable, yet meek, individual who has to moonlight in a car wash in order to make ends meet. The popularity of the narcocorridos resides in the singer's "truth-telling capacity," as Hector Amaya points out, to lend credence to the notion that any extreme acts of violence and depravity reflect a particular social reality and power differential (232). The study of television is a relatively new and emerging phenomenon, and therefore does not have the established vocabulary as the study of film has. Walt's subconscious copying of the traits of his victims is an example of the negative consequences of Whitman's collective philosophy of interconnectedness and an absorption of the toxicity of his criminal underworld, as well as emblematic of a power dynamic. While many of the series' musical selections provide clues and insights into the world of Breaking Bad and Walt's psychological unravelling, these two songs are notable for how they inform the duality of Walt and how he has changed from earlier seasons to the final episode.

In this moment in the pilot the viewer sees the duality of Walt/Heisenberg, his chirality, where his noble intentions eventually give way to his negative impulses. Its initial appearance in the doctor's office, like the mirrored reflection that signifies the beginnings of the schism, appears here to signify Walt's complete isolation from his family . Gale's proposed justification is that at least he is offering methamphetamine users a clean, unadulterated product without any extra toxins, or, rather, toxins that are not natural to the process of making methamphetamine, while ignoring that he is essentially producing a product which requires the disguise of an industrial laundromat to cover up the heavy chemical smell. Well, so too, organic compounds can exist as mirror images of one another, all the way down the molecular level. Worse. Breaking Bad spends much of his time perfecting his "Blue Sky" meth formula. Moreover, it is not until the moment of observation that a subatomic particle's reality coheres-the classic example being the photon's simultaneous existence as both a wave and a particle. Skyler, that money is for this roof over your head. By using intertextuality in this manner the series writers are refuting the criticism that television only caters to what Ellis characterized as the distracted glance of the audience. The Western, then, resonated with audiences because of its historical and mythological relationship to the American expansion of its borders and the inherent views of exceptionalism associated with colonialism. The passions of the sculptors achieve distance from a purely historical reading of the colossi in much the same way that Heisenberg became a legend in the drug dealing community.

Evaluating Breaking Bad on its own merits and how it interacts with the long-form narrative, particularly in both how it builds the gradual progression of Walt into the Heisenberg persona and how it uses intertextuality, provides a valuable metric for evaluating television as a medium capable of narratively challenging material. Both selections also work well within the Neo-Western genre the series is operating in and because of the Neo-Western's connection to the border it also acts as a social commentary on neoliberalism. However, as the series effectively illustrates, once stripped of the social support systems that would help pay for his cancer treatment, it becomes an insurmountable task for Walt to prosper until he does engage in duplicitous and criminal activities. voices heleen