A typical audience tends to support the main character of a serial television show, which can lead to the viewers to be blind to the fact that the protagonist may be becoming the antagonist. Spectators begin to form special connections with the characters and root for their success or their demise, “fans will frequently develop sincere emotional attachments to characters”(Mitell, “Characters in Complex Television” 10). But for those of us who have not invested our time into the fictional world of certain television series like Breaking Bad, we do not have a special connection to any of the characters and do not have a deeper understanding of who they are as figurative people. In season 2 episode 12, “Phoenix”, the alienated viewers of Breaking Bad conjure up ideas of characters from the little bit of information delivered to them, and never experience the true meaning behind Smith’s idea of “engaging character”.
Engaging characters helps the fans to “connect viewers with characters, both within the storyworld and parasocially outside of it, as a series manages what we know about and experience with characters” (11). I do not watch Breaking Bad religiously, so I presumed that Walt was conscientious of his actions and deliberately carried out these acts to protect his family, despite the fact that what he has done in the past was detestable It was obvious that he not only cared to protect his family but also to guide Jesse out of his drug addiction. All he wanted was for him to be clean and become the man he was meant to be. We can understand that Walter feels this way by making sense of Smith’s idea of the three practices of engaging character, especially the concept of alignment, “consisting of two key elements: attachment to characters, where we follow the experiences of particular characters, and access to subjective interior states of emotions, thought processes, and morality” (11). It is hard for film and television to convey the internal...
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