"The thing is, if you just do stuff, and nothing happens, what's it all mean?"

Crucial Threads (Artistic Leit-Motifs)

My God, the universe is random, it's not inevitable, 
it's simple chaos. It's subatomic particles in endless, 
aimless collision. That's what science teaches us, 
but what does this say? 
What is it telling us that the very night that this man's daughter dies,
it's me who is having a drink with him? 
I mean, how could that be random?"
     -Walter White, 5x10, "Fly

You're wrong about this, Walter
-Mike Ermantraut, Approximation of a Phrase Repeated Often

Cats from academia refer to the above as the "Synthesis" of the Dialectic

What is the meaning of Breaking Bad? And, if the answer lies within humanity's overall quest to determine the meaning and value of life, how does it 

Specifically, this section gets at the more complicated themes that are the inextricably-linked cogs of BB's "Clockwork universe." 

See Cultural Precedents for more specific discussion about the external influences on the shows "symbolic order" (a fancy way of saying..."the archetypes, iconography,  historical context and theoretical resonance that is imbued within the fabric [link to something that explains metaphor] of the show).

In simpler words, what makes the show tick?

What makes the show succeed in something that James Joyce never could with the written word, and that filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein or showrunners like David Chase, David Simon, Shawn Ryan (not a David), and that guy from Madmen couldn't quite make apparent with audiovisual tactics?

That something, as plain and simple as I can muster, is this: a complete unfurling and unraveling of the very fabric of the existence of the relationship between subjective spectators ----> collective masses ---> works of art ---->. artistic vision-

This is the page where I'll try to use all the details and nuances found from studying the leaves and trees of the show, and try to step back from the confines of each episode to see what the entire forest. In the case of BB, the metaphor I'm mixing would work better if we think of the show as a jungle...something that has various interconnected eco-systems across at least 4 physical planes (the most pivotal plane--of any audiovisual "text"--will be discussed in detail here...time).

Here are the main "T.M.o.B.B.i.t.M.o.L" (i.e. The Meaning of Breaking Bad is the Meaning of Life) "threads." There will be more detailed "extrapolations" or ramblings added later; and probably more "threads" as well; this television serial is of the highest...."thread-count".

And, if this comes across as too intense, let me present a marketing phrase from Gildan Activewear (a commercial for it came on in the background as I was updating this)...
They will take the form of aesthetic truisms, separated across different Thread Categories (the thread count will be very high, as I may have gotten at already).

Ebony And Ivory Live Together In Perfect Harmony 
Side By Side On My Piano Keyboard, Oh Lord, Why Don't We? 
We All Know That People Are The Same Where Ever We Go 
There Is Good And Bad In Ev'ryone, 
We Learn To Live, We Learn To Give 
Each Other What We Need To Survive Together Alive
    -Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney, "Ebony and Ivory"

Dueling and Dual-ing Threads

  • Breaking Bad is life affirming
  • an absurd abyss
  • Breaking Bad is about grace
  • about damnation
  • Breaking Bad is a joyous series
  • a terrifying series
  • Breaking Bad is about community
  • about solipsism
  • Breaking Bad crafts a Western Universe, with God
  • ...crafts an Eastern philosphy, with Karma
  • Breaking Bad is about true justice
  • about the rampant injustices in the universe

Genre Threads

  • Breaking Bad is a moral fable about sin and redemption...
    • ...through the lens of a perverse Judeo-Christian viewpoint
      • one that
    • ...yet also delves into Eastern conceptions of karma...
      • ...though its presentation of reincarnation deals more with energies and stylistic echoes.
  • Breaking Bad is an absurdist drama...
    • ...that clearly understands the more bleak existentialism of thinkers like Sartre...
      • ...yet thankfully is more akin to the more slapsticky plays of Beckett
  • Breaking Bad is a Shakespearian Tragi-Comedy...
    • ...told in five acts

  • Breaking Bad is a Greek Tragedy
    • ...It literally taps into the origin of the term "Genius"
  • Breaking Bad questions the very fabric of reality...
    • ...through its Neo-Marxist Underpinnings
    • ...through its subversion of mythical archetypes
    • ....
  • Breaking Bad is a neo-western...
    • ... is a Spaghetti Western
    •  a Revisionist Western
  • Breakng Bad is a neo-noir
    • ...
  • Breaking Bad is a show with a creative vision that succeeds in winning the Joycean bluff, "Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race." 

Theoretical Threads

  • Breaking Bad is about the deconstruction of the Western conception of family
  • Breaking Bad is about fathers and sons, and all the holy fucked up shit in between

  • Breaking Bad is about time...
    • ....
    • ....
    • ...
    • ...

  • Breaking Bad is all about the ego...
    • ...
    • ...

  • Breaking Bad forces its audience to confront their own demons...
    • forcing cognitive engagement through its aesthetic
    • twisting allegiances
      • ...and by 
  • Breaking Bad asks the loaded question, what is family?
    •, what does psychoanalysis say?
    •, what does the market say?
    •, what does the

  • Breaking Bad is Chekhov's Gun, in a nut-shell
  • Breaking Bad is a moral fable
    • ...that uses a Judeo-Christian framework to ask..."What about the soul?"
  • Breaking Bad is structured like an amazing Technicolor dream-coat
  • Breaking Bad is the mandala
  • Breaking Bad is the phoenix


Since much of these are just projections made from my personal taste (maybe Gilligan and Crew were intending the parallels; but their intent is irrelevant to the common ties of the intertext)

These will be presented not as truisms, but as "simile similarities"

  • Breaking Bad is a show with a showrunner that is alot like another idiosyncratic artist...David Lynch
  • ....s like a Dickens novel
  • like T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland
  • like the anime Trigun
  • ...


BB is the story of a good man who breaks bad.
BB is the story of 
BB is about family relations, particularly a hybrid version of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalytic theories, codified in the thematic underthreads a,d

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