Breaking Bad (7/31)
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|Mon, 08-01-2011 - 10:34am|
A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do—but a woman’s gotta do it better. So we learned this week, as Skyler out-maneuvered Walt in the Great Car Wash Swindle of 2011, and Marie crumbled under the pressure to play the good wife. Between Jesse's breakdown, Hank's powerlessness, and Walt's uneasiness over Skyler's scheming, it was an episode that asked some big questions: What does it mean to be a strong man? How does a man's strength affect his wife? And what sane person could ever mistake Fritos for Cheetos?
For many of the guys on Breaking Bad, masculinity has always been inextricable from work. Hank and Walt both seem to believe what Gus said last season: "A man provides, and he does it even when he's not appreciated, or respected or even loved. He simply bears up and he does it. Because he's a man." When that episode aired—at the height of what economists were calling "the mancession," a time when men were being disproportionately laid off and women outnumbered them in the work place for the first time in history—that quote tapped into a very of-the-moment anxiety: If Walt and Hank couldn't provide for their wives, what kind of men were they?