• Breaking Bad and the intersection of critical theory at race, disability, and gender

      McDonough, Matthew (2020-12)
      Thesis Abstract: The television series Breaking Bad (created by Vince Gilligan) is considered by audience and critics alike as one of the greatest television series ever made. It tells the story of the rise and fall of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a mild-mannered chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin. He turns to a life of crime after having been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and he sees meth manufacturing as the most lucrative way to provide for his family. It has been nearly a decade since the series finale, yet it endures through sequel films, spin-offs, and online streaming. My thesis investigates the series’ staying power, and I would argue that lies in its thematic content. Breaking Bad is not just a straightforward story of one man’s descent into a life of crime, but it is also a mediation on dominant, repressive power structures. The series offers a look at these structures through the lens of race, gender, and disability through the actions of characters and their interactions with one another.