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Breaking Bad (2008-2013)


“From Mr. Chips to Scarface”: The Legacy of Breaking Bad

4 Mondays, October 23 to November 13, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Instructor: Paul Wright, Ph.D., Department of English, Cabrini University
Location: Multimedia Room
Cost: $100 for members, $125 for non-members
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“The chemistry must be respected.”
—Walter White,
Breaking Bad

In the most recent “golden age” of television, Breaking Bad looms large for many reasons: its consistently inventive writing and ground-breaking cinematography; the rare coalescence of an ensemble cast, writing team, and director lineup that would be the envy of any production; and a dramatic lead performance for the ages by Bryan Cranston. And yet, the series is often misconstrued, even by some of its most ardent admirers, as a wish-fulfillment exercise in immoral criminal fantasy. To the contrary, Breaking Bad is among the most seriously moral works of art in the American tradition. In its unsparing look at Walter White’s tragic fall—an arc famously described by creator Vince Gilligan as the protagonist’s transformation from “Mr. Chips to Scarface”—Breaking Bad is about the nature and consequences of choices that we all face every single day.

Blending the genre conventions of the gangster film, the western, and the family drama (with some healthy doses of macabre comedy), Breaking Bad depicts the moral equivalent of the “butterfly effect” with a relentlessness of craft that would be appreciated by Sophocles or Shakespeare. In documenting the seductions, rationalizations, and perverse charisma of evil, Breaking Bad is a tragic drama that somehow fuses classical sensibilities and a richly contemporary take on how we live today. As our course assesses the many dimensions of the series, we will also tap into a range of cinematic, literary, and philosophical inspirations that play into the “chemical formula” of its unique achievement.
Sessions · Click to add to calendar
  • Monday, October 23
    6:30pm 2017-10-23 18:30:00 2017-10-23 21:30:00 America/New_York “From Mr. Chips to Scarface”: The Legacy of Breaking Bad http://brynmawrfilm.org/education/class.php?id=2125 Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Monday, October 30
    6:30pm 2017-10-30 18:30:00 2017-10-30 21:30:00 America/New_York “From Mr. Chips to Scarface”: The Legacy of Breaking Bad http://brynmawrfilm.org/education/class.php?id=2125 Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Monday, November 6
    6:30pm 2017-11-06 18:30:00 2017-11-06 21:30:00 America/New_York “From Mr. Chips to Scarface”: The Legacy of Breaking Bad http://brynmawrfilm.org/education/class.php?id=2125 Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Monday, November 13
    6:30pm 2017-11-13 18:30:00 2017-11-13 21:30:00 America/New_York “From Mr. Chips to Scarface”: The Legacy of Breaking Bad http://brynmawrfilm.org/education/class.php?id=2125 Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr, PA