Students in the Honors College at the University of Maryland were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this semester in the course "Deconstructing Breaking Bad." Not only were they able to participate in an innovative multidisciplinary course about the award-winning show, but they ended the semester with an exclusive Q&A with series producer Stuart Lyons.
Lyons contacted Prof. Scahill after seeing an article in Entertainment Weekly, which lauded the University of Maryland Honors course as an example of how academia could engage critically with popular culture. In "Deconstructing Breaking Bad," Dr. Scahill's class met weekly to discuss the series in 6-episode increments while engaging the series from a new critical perspective each week, including Health Care in America, the War on Drugs, Race Politics, Disability, and Global Capitalism. The class also deconstructed the series' complex web of genre references, including the Western, the melodrama, the gangster film, and the supervillain narrative.
This was the first "Talking Pictures" event Dr. Scahill has hosted, and given the success of the program, he looks forward to more programming in the future.