One of the most controversial courses offered at UR this semester is “Symbolic Analysis of ‘Breaking Bad,’” taught by the English department.
Enrolled students thought they would be analyzing themes and objects that actually had to do with the plot, but on the first day of class, they instead talked about why the ketchup and mustard bottles were both pointing upwards in one of the dinner scenes.
Last class, professor Gale Boetticher marked up a scene that he thought was the most symbolic of the entire show, explaining how Lydia, Walt, and Todd all wore blue articles of clothing and how Lydia’s was underneath a business suit. Boetticher continued to say that it was a subtle reference to blue meth, and that Lydia’s blue blouse was underneath her suit because she is the most secretive about her true identity.
After that, Boetticher argued that it was not a coincidence that there was not one, but two flower vases near Walt: “Without a doubt, the two vases stand for the duality of Heisenberg and Walter White as his actions are both to feed his ego and to help out his family.”
The final object that Boetticher thought significant was the salt shaker closest to Lydia. He proposed that since it’s the same color as ricin, it was a foreshadowing of Lydia getting poisoned. Boetticher became aware of the student’s mockery of his own insight and went on to email actor Bryan Cranston for advice on improving the class.
Boetticher told Cranston that he thought the students would appreciate the in-depth genius of show creator Vince Gilligan, but Cranston replied, “Is that what you were thinking? Now we have identified the problem — you and thinking, that’s the problem.”
Borovcanin is a member of the class of 2014.