This week in pop culture mash-ups: ‘Breaking Bad’ meets ‘The Wire’ & ‘Downton Abbey’

Senior Television Writer
12.14.12 7 Comments

Pop culture mash-ups are fun. Pop culture mash-ups are easy to do. (Says the man who cooked up a “Mad Men”/”Watchmen” Tumblr in about five minutes back in the spring, then forgot it existed within days.) Doing a really great one, though, requires real creativity and attention to detail.

Two recent “Breaking Bad” -related mash-ups illustrate this. On last night’s “Colbert Report,” Stephen Colbert had fun with reports that Michelle Obama had requested DVDs of “Downton Abbey” season 3 so she wouldn’t have to wait for the show’s American premiere on January 6. As payback, he said, he recruited recent guest Vince Gilligan and “Downton” co-stars Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter and Rob James-Collier to spoil the new season of “Breaking Bad” – or, rather, “Breaking Abbey” – for us.

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It’s a fun spoof, and what makes it work is how much it follows what we know about both shows: that Lord Grantham, even wearing the Heisenberg hat, would never deign to speak to a drug dealer unless he was formally introduced first by his butler. And at the same time, his aristocratic manner matches up very nicely with the haughty way Walter White has carried himself in recent seasons.

Meanwhile, earlier this week someone sent me a link to this a YouTube video attempting to refashion the “Breaking Bad” opening credits from each season to match the ones from the corresponding season of “The Wire.”

It’s cool not just because it ties together two all-time great dramas that dealt with the drug trade in very different ways, but because each sequence really does look like what “The Wire” would have used. There aren’t many of the iconic “Breaking Bad” scenes and images, but more mundane pictures of the day-to-day of Walt and Jesse’s business. And the use of the ice being smashed each season nicely matches how “The Wire” kept reusing that shot of Bodie throwing a rock at the security camera.

Nothing deep. Just amusing diversions on a Friday morning.

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