Houston’s(1) states “viewing television the metapsychology of endlessconsumption,” television shows, and especially those that are partof a series, feed us in elemental ways thus, we become very much partof the process. In order to understand her concept, this essay looksat a television series drama “Breaking Bad” demonstrating how itincludes us making us part of the process. The show is about a highschool teacher, Mr. White who has found out he is dying of cancerWalter has a special needs son and his wife is pregnant, should hedie today, then his family will have nothing to sustain them(Breaking bad, Season, Episode 1). Thus, the chemistry teacherrealizes that making meth would be the best way out for his family’ssake, and all he needs is someone to sell the product. Mr. Whitelinks up with a former student of his who sells street drugs and thetwo make a great duo venturing in the upper-level drug trade.
Howdoes the show include us?
Inexamining the first two episodes of the series Breaking Bad, the showis able to include us due to a number of reasons. First, theprotagonist Mr. white is leading a double life he has to be theupstanding family man in one aspect, and on the other hand a drugproducer. Thus, he is living life as a secret drug dealer and hisfamily, and friends do not have the slightest clue he is living adouble life. This simply means Mr. White is ever hiding something (inevery episode (Breaking bad, Season 1), making the audience alwayswant to watch, as they are wondering if he is going to get caught. Asthe audience, we are always asking ourselves if someone is onto him,and what will happen in the case he is caught? Thus, the show makesus part of the process as we are absorbed in the double life of thecharacter (Breaking Bad 1).
AsHouston puts it, contradiction in TV series keeps the ego active thepanic ego in the audience, fearing desire cannot be endured, and yetit has to be silenced it leads to seeking more television thatrelates with psychological reality itself. In the show Breaking Bad,the creator makes Mr. White’s brother-in-law a drug enforcementagent (D.E.A) giving the show a dramatic irony and panic on theaudience based on the stakes should the brother in law find out Mr.White is dealing drugs he goes to jail for life. In addition, hisbrother is always around, and Mr. White is charter as the drug dealerkeeps climbing up the drug ladder.
Weare witnessing the transformation of Walter White from a regular highschool chemistry teacher to high rolling drug baron (Breaking bad,Season 1, episode 3). The drug business has turned a timid, stumblingchemistry teacher in an overly confident kingpin. The formallyreserved family man will now not hesitate in shooting someone in thehead. However, despite his increased violence, the attachment viewersgot from chemistry teacher from the word go making it for us theaudience to relate with his situation. This way the show has includedus the life of the characters, as we sympathize with the teachertrying to make a fortune to live his family before he dies of cancer.
Theshow includes us in the relationship of hate and love between theolder teacher and his former dropout student Jesse. Now and then theteacher gets agitated and frustrated with young inexperiencedchemistry fail student. However, as the series develop the twodevelop a sort of father son relationship bond, and Mr. White becomesmuch closer to Jesse than he actually is with his actual son. Thus,we see Jesse become very protective of his former teacher when othersthreaten him. However, the pair is extremely ironic considering it achemistry teacher forced by circumstance to go to one of his worststudents. Considering they are from two different social worlds, theyare always at each other, always in an argument or debate, and thisis always entertaining making us part of the process.
Desireto Expect More
Theaudiences to the show breaking bad are always made to expect morefrom the show. For instance, we know the show is going to turn themain character Mr. White a chemistry teacher with an expectant wifeand a disabled son into a huge drug kingpin. Given the diagnosis ofthe late-stage lung cancer, Mr. White has taken cooking meth tocreate a little something for the family and later on to pay hismedical bills.
WalterWhite has entered the drug business as an armature the audience seeshim panic when he wonders whether to kill a menacing thug. He evendoes refer to moral principles thinking to himself that murder iswrong, however, should he fail to kill the thug, he might come backand kill his entire family. Thus, the audiences are expecting morefrom Walter White as he matures into a drug Kingpin. The audiencesexpect him to be merciless as it is the case with the drug lords ontop of the drug ladder.
Theshow has an additive swing, whereby the audiences exposed tocliffhangers and visual flair. At once caring yet maliciously funny,it is full of ineradicable characters, these in clued Jesse, Mr.White’s former student turned street drug dealer, Hunk, Mr. White’sD.E.A brother-in-law who has no the slightest idea Mr. White is theholder of the greatest drug kingpin name the drug enforcementdepartment looks for. For audiences are able to expect more as eachnew episode arrives with foreshadowing betrayal on the way, makingthe audience anticipate what is to happen but they do not know how.Thus, by turning the Mr. White into a monster drug dealer, theaudiences dread and crave the show at the same time.
Theseason ends with Walter White outsmarting and murdering his enemy inthe drugs world, ‘Gus’, leader to an internally well connecteddrug cartel (Breaking Bad, season 1, 8). At this point, Mr. Whitewould have left the criminal life, however, he choose to continue.This way, the audience of the show Breaking bad, are left with adesire and expectation for more from the show especially know that amajor player had been eliminated paving way for Mr. White. Thecharacters plan to hide their meth cooking lab under the tents of apest removal company, allow the show to continue, at the same timegive its audiences a chance to expect more from the show.
Theaudience are also kept expecting more from the twist in Walter’sfamily life. His wife Skyler has discovered her husband’s newprofession and she demands a divorce. On the other hand cartelkillers are looking for Mr. White to avenge the death of theircousin. The series of events leads to the hurting of Hank, and hissister sensing his husband’s activities might be connected to theincident offers to pay the medical bills. The meth business developsconflicts that keep the audiences guessing what will be next, thisway the show is able to keep the desire of its audiences alive asthey expect more.
Thedecision to spare Jesse, after the many times he gets way over hishead, keeps the audiences desiring for more. From the beginning ofthe show Jesse the school dropout did not have much of a chance, heis first threatened to either help in the cooking and distribution byMr. White or he gets turned into the D.E.A. The audience are keptguessing if Jesse would go far before he is nailed by the police,however, he somehow always manages to survive, thus, his characterkeeps the audiences desiring more as they do not know what willactually happen to him.
Thescenes from the show ‘Breaking Bad’ makes us part of the show bytaking our emotions, empathy into the life of the main character ahigh school chemistry teacher Mr. White who is about to die fromcancer. The show makes the audience to sympathize with his situationhe has a special need son a pregnant wife and he has nothing saved upfor them when he is no more. Thus, when he decides to get intodealing drugs the audiences actually view this as a good course insaving something for his family. Thus, by watching the series we wantmore of the same to satisfy our curiosities on what we see, as Hustonargues in her article Viewing Television: the Metapsychology ofendless consumption.
BeverleHouston’s “viewing television the metapsychology of endlessconsumption,” television shows, and especially those that are partof a series feed us in elemental ways thus, we become very much partof the process.
Mr.White is ever hiding something in every episode. BreakingBad.2008. DVD.
Mr.White who has found out he is dying of cancer. Walter has a specialneeds son and his wife is pregnant, should he die today, then hisfamily will have nothing to sustain them. BreakingBad.2008. DVD.
Thetransformation of Walter White from a regular high school chemistryteacher to high rolling drug baron. BreakingBad.2008. DVD.
Walter’senemy in the drugs world, ‘Gus’, leader to an internally wellconnected drug cartel. BreakingBad.2008. DVD.