“I Did it for Me”: Breaking Bad and the Politics of Entrepreneurial Life

By Matthew Huber
La Jicarita: An Online Magazine of Environmental Politics in New Mexico

huber_lifeblood coverWhat does AMC’s “Breaking Bad” have to do with oil? Not much, you say, and you’re probably right. That said, on a surface level, you can easily see that much of the show centers around a certain depiction of oil powered automobility. Walter White’s 2004 Pontiac Aztek was a kind of character in the first four seasons. The SUV-like car stood as an extension of Walt’s growing power over the landscape of the meth trade. Most spectacularly, the Aztek played a central role in Walt rescuing Jesse from certain death by plowing into rival drug dealers (Se3Ep12, “Half Measures’). On a more banal level, Breaking Bad depicts the soullessness of much of the American suburban landscape made possible by oil. In Albuquerque, strip malls, economic decline, and four lane highways provide much of the backdrop to Walt and Jesse’s adventures.

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