Reflecting back on the final events that end the mid-season break of Breaking Bad’s fifth season it occured to me that the AMC series is essentially the television equivalent of the sociology study known as strain theory. Everybody’s favorite meth cooker Walter White begins the show as little more than your average joe. He’s forty years-old, belongs to a lower-middle income class, teaches chemistry at a high school, and works a second job at car wash. His life is boring, average, and at this point, uneventful. But when Walter learns he has lung cancer he realizes that the way his life is going he’s going to leave nothing behind for his family and die a failure of the American dream he once saw in his grasps. It is then he decides it’s time to stop conforming to society and instead start innovating, even if that means breaking bad in the process. Average American Walter White begins cooking meth and starts his transformation into drug lord known as Heisenberg.
NOTE: This is an essay I wrote for my World Since 1914 course, which had me write a paper on anything dealing with well the world since 1914. Naturally I picked Mad Men as my topic and decided to discuss how the series reflects the changing times of the 1960s.
Cigarettes, sex, and advertising. Typically these are not the thoughts that come to mind when the 1960s are brought up, yet in recent years they’ve become defining terms. This way of thinking is largely due to the phenomena that AMC’s flagship series Mad Men has become. Premiering in 2007, the series focuses on the lives of middle to upper class advertising agents throughout the ‘60s. On the surface the show’s time period exists to give the series a glamorous set design; an excuse to have the men in tailored suits and women in elegant dresses. Yet the show’s time period does so much more then just add stunning visuals, rather it defines the entire series. Mad Men plays out as an intellectual study of people’s lives in the 1960s as they attempt to survive and adapt to America’s radical social and cultural revolutions. Continue reading