Marie is DEAD ON for Iowa!!!
In our continuing pursuit to explain to outsiders "what is Big Ten football," and, more importantly, "why is the Big Ten football," we turn to the world of metaphor. Or simile. I forget.
We look now at the Big Ten through the prism of the characters of Breaking Bad. Minor spoiler alerts, of course, but the series has been over for almost a year, so if you haven't seen the series GET ON THAT. Totally worth the time
Self-assured to the point of arrogance, but his brash exterior belies a deep-seated insecurity. He's not used to losing, so when stuff starts blowing up around him, he gets rattled. Everything started to go wrong when this upstart “Heisenberg” fella started to upset the order of things. He proceeded to pour unprecedented resources into chasing Heisenberg, like tailing people for weeks on end or spending $850,000 on a new offensive coordinator. He experiences successes, and occasionally seemed set to take down his quarry, but in the final confrontation with Heisenberg (who is, it turns out, family) he ends up busted and bleeding.
Walter White (aka Heisenberg)
He spending years – nay, decades – as the doormat for those around him. But then through a series of unlikely events, Walter finally found himself on top of his world. He is suddenly the one who knocks. He IS the danger. Still, his inferiority complex shines through from time to time, and he spends as much time trying to prove he isn't the man he used to be as he does being Heisenberg.
Some would call them “sleazy. ” They would prefer to think of themselves as calculating. They have a very well-oiled system and the resources to make it work. He occasionally gets punched in the mouth by Walter, and is threatened by Hank, though Goodman always stays just out of reach of the law. Also, of everyone in the show, he's the guy you really want to see get punched in the face, and you'd be like, "yeah, he probably deserved that, if not for this then for other stuff."
Careful. Almost boringly careful. Nothing is unnecessarily flashy, which is what makes him effective. At the end of the day, you realize he’s probably a step ahead of you. He will run the zone stretch six times in a row until you think “I’ll jump the zone stretch and take over the drug empire,” which is when he goes play action for 36 yards. Then goes to the zone stretch.
I suppose I could have gone with "Badger," because, well, Badger. But Badger was a chubby white guy who somehow survives. Wait...
They were there at the beginning, and for a while they kinda fit with the whole scheme. It was full of fumes, had terrible accommodations, and was in the middle of nowhere. And usually there were only a couple of people there. If you get stuck there for a couple of days, it will probably turn into the worst weekend of your life unless you can figure out how to MacGyver a battery out of some brake fluid and pocket change to get the everloving hell out of there.
She used to be a major part of the drug empire until some turmoil threw that into doubt. Despite being marked for death a couple of times, and seemingly being on the cusp of being pushed to the side several times, she continues to find ways to be relevant. She's also conspiratorial as hell; she always thinks someone is out to get her. And while sometimes that's true, it's because she did some really, really bad things.
As soon as she shows up in an episode, your immediate reaction is "ugh, this is gonna suck." She's a somewhat major character, but she does absolutely nothing to drive the plot. Instead, you just get caught up in small and annoying side-plots that just make you hate that you're spending time watching this. There is no depth to her character; she's pretty much a one-note kind of gal. But all things considered, her character flaws are pretty minor, especially when compared to some of those around her, so it could be worse.
It isn't really his fault, per se, but his arrival signaled an epic shit-storm that made everyone around him not want to be there anymore. Plus, Tortuga means "tortoise" and a terrapin is a turtle. Which is like a tortoise. So it fits.
The plucky, scrappy little guy. Historically a f*ck-up, but occasionally pulls his act together enough to pull off a train heist or something. You root for him, largely because he's the lesser of however-many evils. His style is kind of refreshing, and often acts as a nice alternative to the heavy, dour roles played by everyone around him. Also, does a lot of meth.
No one likes you. We get that you are good at some (limited) things, but that doesn't mean we want to see you ever.
"Tio" Hector Salamanca
He seems like a pretty bright guy, and despite his quirkiness you find yourself rooting for him. But then one day, someone is like "you know, with the way things are going, YOU could run things in the West Division." And he starts to get all excited, and then BLAM.
In a way, he should have seen it coming. He isn't the type to lead. He's a born middle-of-the-pack type. Nevertheless, even though the natural progression of the plot needed him to... uh... exit the plot, we felt a little bit bad that it had to happen like it did. Also, tell me this pose doesn't look familiar:
A chubby, gumpy-looking white guy who somehow manages to survive the whole damn series. He's not really a protagonist or an antagonist. You find yourself happy when he wins, but in the same way you're happy for your dog when he finally finds where you put his water dish. Sure, his accomplishments might not be impressive in the objective sense, but give the little guy a pat on the head anyway.
What is this? Wait, this is it? This is what we're doing? WHYYYYYY?????
was a great character. Once they figured out that she was not interesting enough by herself to carry full on sub-plots I thought she was a very effective character. She actually ended up being the "moral compass" of the show, kind of crazy after her shoplifting endeavors.
Agree, even down to the strong ties to a feminine color (Marie's love of everything purple vs. Iowa's pink visitor's locker room).
that fly episode was terrible.
The show was way overbudget at the time, so they needed to film an episode that took place in one location and used few actors. Hence, the awfulness that was the fly episode.
a good episode. The Ebola bit. "Can you please tell me how a disease that originated in Africa made its way into our lab in New Mexico?" Good stuff.
I also liked the Fly episode.
Plus, you have to consider it not as a stand-alone episode but in respect to the entire series.
Walt's dagger to Jesse's heat in the third(?) to last episode wouldn't have been as impactful without the intense suspense in the Fly episode of whether or not he would spill the beans.
Vince Gilligan admitted the budgetary issues, but also stated:
Even if financial realities didn't enter into it, I feel as a showrunner that there should be a certain shape and pace to each season, and the really high highs that you try to get to at the end of a season — the big dramatic moments of action and violence, the big operatic moments you're striving for — I don't think would land as hard if you didn't have the moments of quiet that came before them. The quiet episodes make the tenser, more dramatic episodes pop even more than they usually would just by their contrast.
I'll note, though, that when I was watching the Fly episode, I was doing so on Netlix and could immediately start the next one.
I think it's easier to stomach a slow, non-plot-developing episode when you can immediately watch the next one.
If I had waited a week in anticipation for that episode and then had to wai another week for the next, I might have different thoughts. But I'd hope I'd have the patience to give it a second chance and consider what it did do as opposed to focus on slowness of it.
was also really one of the only shows that focussed on just the monotony of their work and that when it came down to it, they were pretty much just co-workers who irritated the hell out of each other, like most colleagues do. Not everyday was spent plotting ricin poisonings or getting into shootouts with scary gangsters. Sometimes they just "went to work," and you really only saw that during "Fly" and a couple of the episodes when they were moving from house to house as the exterminators.
I did like that it pointed out that this was largely a workplace drama as much as anything else. But you don't need to take an entire episode to do that. Let SOMETHING else happen.
that episode felt like a 1-act 2-man off-broadway play that was adapted for the screen. like "the big kahuna"
What THING would have fit, though?
Is it really good story-telling to have shit happen for the sake of shit happening? I think the answer to that is clearly no, so I legitimately ask what would have been a good plot development that didn't mess with everything else?
Some people didn't like Gus Fring's backstory episode because it didn't advance the New Mexico plot. I thought it was a brilliant episode that accomplished so much with respect to the characters.
was a major plot development. For the first time, Walt really came to terms with the fact that there really was no going back from where he was. He discussed that there had to have been "that one moment" where he could have stopped the train, where he could have gone back, where his "plan" could have been a short term success that he could just opt out of. It was really during that episode where he realized that there wasn't any reason to stop at that point, even if he thought on some level he still could. There was nothing to "go back" to. It was kind of the final step toward full Heisenberg.
And the episode was fine. It was a bottle episode, and a perfectly decent one. It just wasn't what I (or probably most fans) want with a series like that. I liked the Gus backstory episode because it combined some force-fed character development with just enough action and plot advancement to make it interesting. Not so much with Fly.
Just a personal preference, I guess, but one shared by most BB fans: http://graphtv.kevinformatics.com/tt0903747
like one where most people either love it or hate it. I am not in either camp, I just thought it was a good episode. People who put it in the same category as "And the Bag's in the River," "One Minute," or "Ozymandius" are crazy though. It was certainly not one a top tier episode.
Just once I'd like to see Jack Bauer take a shit or eat a bowl of cereal. It's supposed to be 24 consecutive hours of his life, right? and you're telling me he never eats anything or takes a leak, or maybe takes a little nap? Or how about getting stuck in traffic? I figure he does those things during the commercial breaks.
I know, wrong show, but that's always bothered me. I did finally watch Breaking Bad over the holidays when AMC showed the entire series in a week long marathon. It took me about 3 weeks to go through the whole series.
what else bothers me. Why does everybody in movies or shows go into a diner and order pie? Who sits down at a diner and just orders one peice of pie? How many diners even have pie? But when you watch anything you would think that there are bunch of people just sitting around diners eating pie. I don't get that.
"Walt's dagger to Jesse's heat in the third(?) to last episode"
Whoa! Spoiler alert!
I liked the fly episode, it also had great cinematography, really odd shots.
You are comparing two unlike things without using a linking word such as "like" or "as". Therefore, this be metaphor city, trick.
So you're telling me Tom Crean used magnets to make Jordan Morgan miss the putback for their outright Big Ten title? I believe it.
Tortuga for Maryland is a fantastic choice
Purdue as the Winnebago is really unfair to the Winnebago. I know the Winnebago served as a meth lab and a scene of violent death, but West Lafayette is much nastier.
The Winnebago was far less likely to break down.
Surely they're not THAT bad?
I feel like Nebraska should get a little more explanation for why they're Skyler.
Maybe something like "You sort of think you're the best at everything and are highly sanctimonious even though everyone knows your shit stinks too. You haven't really done anything in a long while other than pass judgement on everyone else and refuse to appreciate what you have."
My reason was that SOMEONE has to be Skyler, and I don't like Nebraska very much.
be UM a little bit. Although we don't have much to appreciate (football speaking) at the moment.
Yeah, but I meant it for Nebraska more because Pelini hasn't lost more than 4 games a season and fans still want him gone.
I was kind of thinking Nebraska as Skylar because both walked into an already well established successful machine expecting to start running the show. You also cackle with glee everytime they become overwhelmed and things don't go as smoothly as they expected... and the more established parties run them over and continue to control them (Hank/Michigan, Walter/MSU, Saul/Ohio State).
if we beat them every once in a while I could see that.
i heard dave brandon is trying to get a liquor license to sell schraderbrau at the big house
You mean...to make MONEY?!
Iowa State is Huell Babineaux. The rest of the show just left him sitting in that room, waiting for all eternity, hoping that someone comes for him.
I'm not on board with the Skyler hate. Walt was a great character but also a guy who put his family in a terrible position. Skyler's reactions to that were justified.
It was crazy how much my girlfriend at the time would defend Walt, and she wasn't the only one from what it seems with discussions online. He did a bunch of terrible things but it was always like "Poor Walt, what are you thinking?" And hating on Skyler for being upset about everything.
hate is not really directed at how she reacted to what Walt did, but how she preferred him demasculated but held contempt toward him for the same reasons. She demanded his subservience but believed him to be less than because he gave it to her. She was like a reverse misogynist.
She was an annoying bitch, just like her sister, maybe one or both of them had reasons to be, but doesn't change the fact that i hated every moment they were on screen.
To me Rutgers is the meth. You just want to get rid of it and make your money, and never see it again.
although, there's no way rutgers is even coming close to heisenberg purity levels.
Jim Delaney is Huell. Fat, bald, can put on a good act of being a tough guy, but when it comes down to it he just gets pushed around.
If we're Hank, who's Uncle Jack, Todd, and the rest of the merry Nazi bunch?
The SEC is Uncle Jack, Todd, etc. They just happened to be in the right place at the right time regrading population shifts and exhaustive funding for college football. They are ruthless and will knock-off anyone that is witness to their less than legal activities, even if they are just looking around for spiders in the desert. They are good at stealing away resources/recruits for their own purposes. Kentucky doesn't exactly own, but they do have a good record against Jesse Pinkman all-time and in the tourney. The SEC is able to seemingly orchestrate things close to murder within the system (NCAA) and get away with it. We hope Michigan can take them down and restore order in the world, but if it comes down to it, secretly we want MSU to do some trickery and annihilate them in a football playoffs.
This is a fantastic post. Well done.
as more of a jesse pinkman. his character is the epitome of little-brother syndrome, always trying to prove himself while riding along the coattails of walt.
i also feel like we are more of a walt-like character--incredibly smart, nerdy and definitely chalked full of arrogance to the point of having many psycopathic tendencies.
I agree with the intelligence and arrogance, but we need to beat some rivals first. We aren't yet in a position to tell Sparty or Ohio to tread lightly.
"You find yourself happy when he wins, but in the same way you're happy for your dog when he finally finds where you put his water dish."
The entire post was fantastic, but that line there did me in with the lols. Nice post!