Breaking Bad Breaking Televisual Boundaries

Breaking Bad is a drama/thriller series that began in 2008. From then there has been a total of five seasons, with a total of 62 episodes. The premise of the show is the main character, Walter White, is diagnosed with lung cancer and in order to pay for his cancer treatment and save money for his family, he began to run a meth lab.

This particular scene is from season three, episode 10, titled “Fly.” The scene takes place in the meth lab and begins with Walter White trying to figure something out. Then the viewer is first introduced to a fly by hearing a somewhat unsettling buzz amongst the silence. Then the camera angle is positioned to put the viewer in the same perspective as Walter. This technique makes the audience feel as if they are right there with Walter, and experiencing his frustration.

The entire scene takes place in one room, however, the audience does not get bored of the visual aspect of the scene because we get many different camera angles and movements. In classic television shows, such as sitcoms, the audience generally sees only a few different angles and little to know camera movement. Breaking Bad takes advantage of the different possibilities of shooting a scene such as the slightly shaking camera during Walter’s attempts at killing the fly, moving the camera to follow his path through the lab, a point of view shot from Walter’s perspective, and from the fly’s perspective on the ceiling. These different uses of filming results in a much more visually appealing style that will keep the viewer wanting to watch more.

What is most interesting about this scene is the lack of dialogue. In classic sitcoms a program’s only method of keeping an audience intrigued is through the script. However, this scene shows that with no dialogue (besides the accounts of Walter mumbling phrases to himself), visuals play a very important role in telling a story and reflecting the tone of the narrative. The viewer understands a sense of complexity of the situation as the camera follows Walter as he wanders through the lab. The viewer also feels a sense of frustration from the closer shots of Walter’s face as well as the emphasized sudden movements and sounds in an otherwise still and silent lab. This scene shows how the televisuality and styles that has emerged and evolved since television was first introduced have a large influence in the quality of television and keeping an audience intrigued.


Privacy Statement