The Culture of Breaking Bad

The premiere of the final season of Breaking Bad is less than a month away. That fact makes me very, very happy. If you’ve been reading TDYLF for a while, then you know I can’t go very long without mentioning how much I love Breaking Bad. It’s my favorite show on TV right now, and it’s going to wind up as my favorite show ever unless Vince Gilligan and crew completely fumble the ball in the final season. But I’m not alone in my admiration for the show. Breaking Bad has a following that borders on cult-like. It manifests itself all over the place. The show’s creators have helped fan the flames with some really ingenious marketing materials. Here are some examples of Breaking Bad’s entry into the zeitgeist.

But first, a movie scene that perfectly sums up my feelings about the return of Breaking Bad:

The video that actually prompted this article is a mashup of clips from the series with Ennio Morricone’s “Ecstasy of Gold” from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly soundtrack. I discovered it over the weekend. And it is amazing. If it doesn’t get you stoked for season five, I don’t know what will. Fair warning- there are spoilers for every season so far, so I strongly recommend that you don’t watch it if you haven’t seen the full series to date.

One of the best parts of the show is the humor. Part of that humor comes from Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), the sleazeball lawyer who represents Walt and Jesse. AMC realized they had something special on their hands, so they created a series of fake “Better Call Saul” ads. An example:

The genius marketing of the show began before the series had even aired. Before and during season one, you could send a specialized message called “Walt’s Wisdom” to your friends. It featured Walt chiding your friends for being slackers and not living their life to the fullest. Actually, the site is still up. It’s posed as a fake blog from Walter himself. Before season two, it was a similar video, this time called “Walt’s Warning”.

A few months ago, College Humor took on the show’s massive popularity when they created a spectacular video of a fake NES game themed around Breaking Bad. The depth with which it sends up the show is spectacular, forcing you to choose characters that are neither good or evil (only morally ambiguous); poking fun at Jesse’s gratuitous use of the word “bitch!”; giving Walt “lie” as a weapon; spoofing the glorious “Hola, DEA” scene; a very quick but gut-busting gag about Gale Boetticher; and much more. Again, there are spoilers here, so proceed with caution. Fortunately in this case, it’s progressive, and will let you know which season is about to be spoofed.

Last October, some fan of the show created a fake Hector Salamanca Twitter account. It’s a one-note joke but it’s a great one. The Hector account tweets “DING DING!” over and over again, occasionally with hashtags or links related to the show. I lost it the first time I saw it.

Also last fall, illustrator Jon DeFreest created some Breaking Bad-themed Chuck Taylors. Bryan Cranston even wore a pair.

Artist Kyle Hilton has created a series of Breaking Bad paper dolls. The accessories are nothing short of perfect.

To celebrate the upcoming season, Breaking Gifs has started a Breaking Bad art project. A series of very impressive artists are creating unique designs that will make your jaw drop, and speak to your inner-Breaking Bad Geek. I’d love to post one of the images but it doesn’t seem right since it’s VERY original content. Instead, I implore you to go check it out.

With the next season so close, Breaking Gifs isn’t the only site reporting on fan-created goodness. io9 reported earlier this week that someone had created a Breaking Bad Lego set. Tremendous.

Before season three, AMC created a series of excellent minisodes. During season two, Jesse was romantically involved with Jane, a comic book artist (amongst many other things). AMC played off of this fact in their viral marketing by creating a comic book-themed minisode from the mind of Jesse Pinkman. All of the minisodes are worth checking out, but my favorite was Jesse’s comic book because of the humorous peek it gives into the psyche of Jesse at that point in the series.

Somewhere along the line, I stumbled onto this fan video that re-imagines Breaking Bad as a sitcom. It’s good stuff.

After season 3, a fan compiled this video of a bunch (maybe all?) of Jesse’s comebacks involving the word “bitch”. There are very soft spoilers:

This article would be incomplete without two other items. The first is Gale Boetticher’s karaoke video from season four. The humor translates best if you know the character, but I think it’s sort of funny even if you haven’t seen it and don’t know the name “Gale Boetticher”. The second is the “Negra y Azul” video from season 2, which is definitely a spoiler for the first season and a half of the show.

I’ll have more soon about the show because I can’t contain my enthusiasm. But hopefully all of that stuff will tide you over until it returns.

The fifth season premiere of Breaking Bad airs July 15th on AMC.

14 Comments

Filed under TV Shows

14 responses to “The Culture of Breaking Bad

  1. Oh my God, that Breaking Bad RPG made me laugh really damn hard. So spot on.

  2. Still catching up on season 4. Looking forward to season 5 too! Thanks for passing on the addiction. :)

    • How far into 4 have you made it, G-Lo?

      • Not far. Between Netflix being a hold out and just 3 episodes being available via On Demand as of last week, and a busy schedule at work and home, I am only 2 episodes in. Hope to catch up over the next couple weeks.

        • I’ve got good news and bad news. OnDemand has put a TON more episodes up. That’s the good news. I think they have six more up.

          The bad news is… you may have missed the boat on episode three. The first three episodes are gone.

          I guess I should say, on my Charter OnDemand, that’s the case. I suppose it could be different regionally.

          • Grrr! Gonna have to check my Netflix queue to see if it’s available yet. Thanks for the heads up! I guess I should have paid the $30 and bought the DVDs. Wait… there’s always Amazon Video On Demand!

            • That’s EXACTLY what I was going to recommend- hit up Amazon. I did that for the last two episodes of The Wire because I got sick of waiting for Netflix.

              Also, AMC has been running the series each night. Last night’s episode: season 4, episode 4. So if you can fire up your DVR, you can get the rest of season 4 in the next week or so.

  3. Phil

    Tight! Tight! Tight! Tight! Or…. Tucker! Tucker! Tucker!

  4. Oh man, as if I needed any more reasons to be pumped for the new season! Awesome post, man. I am especially grateful that you included that Morricone mashup — that’s freakin’ brilliant!

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