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Sun Oct 6, 2013, 03:23 PM

 

"Breaking Bad" and the Vanishing Middle Class

Breaking Bad just ended a 5-season streak of awesome recently, and after last week's finale, "Felina," I had some time to think about the show, and why it was such an addiction.

Right now, being in the Middle Class in the US is a tenuous spot. As Sen Elizabeth Warren pointed out, most families are one layoff away from bankruptcy. It's not because we are spendthrift. Quite the opposite: they money we did spend went to furhtering our carreers, making ourselves more competitive and we engaged what Suze Orman would have called "good debt." That is, debt for school. training or something that would boost our earning power.

Enter Walter White. He was born at the cusp between Boomer and GenX. He has a little of both.

Master chemist and a modern day alchemist. Working a steady but unfulfilling day job as well as a second shift at a car wash.

He is now given that "event" that could send his family into bankruptcy.

How could someone so talented, so intelligent be in such a position?

That's what all of us are asking as we open new credit cards to pay for food, as we, college graduates and and trained professionals are now rendered useless by this economy.

Walter White's pain was our pain, and in that first season we understood what Walter was going through.

Throughout the seasons, Walt became darker, more sinister, more evil.

Yes he took an unethical path, but he wouldn't be alone in that desire.

It is like the modern middle class homeowner says

"GODDAMN IT! YOU'VE PUSHED ME TOO FAR!

I've done the 'good' thing and you see where it gets me?

FUCK the good thing. I am doing the WRONG thing because it pays better!"

Add to that how Wall Street Execs made billions, even after pushing the world into recession. Life ain't fair - so why play fair?

Yes he was given the option of kowtowing to an ex-partner who screwed him over. Walt's ex business partner offers to pay for all of his treatment.

But this would be the final insult to Walt. We don't know what happened in the past, but his pride would not allow that.

As a result he uses EVERY one of his cards at once.

Brilliant chemist? Make meth and make money

DEA Brother-in-law? You know what the feds are looking for - play this connection.

Ex-Student knows the meth biz? Blackmail him into being your assistant.

This is the middle class grasping for all our straws.

Walter White is the personification of the middle class.

He IS us.

He is every thought we have had while ripping our hair out doing the books.

He is every threat we've made partly in jest to our significant others.

And what happens in the end?

The house ALWAYS wins.

Yes, he was able to financially secure his family's' future, but at the loss of his family's love, respect and trust.

Bitter irony.

The irony that we GenXers have been seeing since we joined the job market.

The irony that Boomers are now seeing, as all of their hard work has been systematically devalued.

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Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply "Breaking Bad" and the Vanishing Middle Class (Original post)
Taverner Oct 2013 OP
lunatica Oct 2013 #1
ScreamingMeemie Oct 2013 #2
Taverner Oct 2013 #3
ScreamingMeemie Oct 2013 #9
Taverner Oct 2013 #11
Blue_In_AK Oct 2013 #6
ScreamingMeemie Oct 2013 #10
sendero Oct 2013 #13
Taverner Oct 2013 #14
Initech Oct 2013 #4
Taverner Oct 2013 #5
jtuck004 Oct 2013 #8
Taverner Oct 2013 #12
PCIntern Oct 2013 #7

Response to Taverner (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 03:35 PM

1. We all identify with all the characters

It's not just Walter that we 'understand'. Every character is a reflection of us. We're a messy bunch. The more conscious we are of ourselves the more we understand we all have a dark side. It's just that most of us don't unleash it on humanity. But enough do, and unfortunately those who do seek positions of power over others.

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 03:57 PM

2. "Weeds" did a far better job, within believable parameters.

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Response to ScreamingMeemie (Reply #2)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 04:00 PM

3. It may very well have - but BB had the audience

 

And my personal viewership

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Response to Taverner (Reply #3)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 05:17 PM

9. Tad too over the top.

And the final season was rubbish.

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Response to ScreamingMeemie (Reply #9)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 05:21 PM

11. I loved it

 

I also loved the Six Feet Under show

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Response to ScreamingMeemie (Reply #2)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 04:08 PM

6. And Nancy made it out alive, thank goodness,

although there was no other way for BB to end. I think Taverner makes excellent points with this OP.

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Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #6)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 05:19 PM

10. We will have to agree to disagree.

Not relatable at all in this household... Although we enjoyed the first two seasons for entertainment value.

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Response to ScreamingMeemie (Reply #2)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 08:42 PM

13. Weeds..

.... was a bad joke. It's unbelievable you'd compare it to BB, not even close.

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Response to sendero (Reply #13)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 09:22 PM

14. It had a great premise, but turned into a game of charades

 

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 04:04 PM

4. We are all Heisenberg.

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Response to Initech (Reply #4)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 04:05 PM

5. ...and Walter White

 

That was the point.

We all have this in us, this "I've been pushed to my limit"

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Response to Initech (Reply #4)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 05:13 PM

8. Heisenberg was a fantasy. The reality will be mostly Walter White's, broke, bitter, and bankrupt.

 

Last edited Mon Oct 7, 2013, 02:38 AM - Edit history (1)

Then dead. While the people who own the assets make out like bandits, and their toadies in a broad swath of political offices and business make out better than everyone, if they just keep their noses up the bosses collective asses and don't sneeze.

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #8)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 08:37 PM

12. Unfortunately, yes

 

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 04:16 PM

7. Excellent post. Thanks! nt

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