Blog 3.12 — Just a Player . . .

Name that Part . . .     

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      We all play roles; as Shakespeare says, we are all “just players.”  

     In class, I make the argument that there is nothing new under the sun — the same Will Ferrill bits you laugh at were popularized in Tin Pan Alley in 1894.  Therefore, based on our Vaudeville Lecture and our viewing of Breaking Bad, see if you can locate some old themes presented in a new way:

  • Mook — Dumb act, gains his identity from other people
  • Goon — Strongman, dumb, generally quiet, poses the threat
  • The Lovable Loser — The otherwise repellant character who exhibits redeeming qualities.  Takes a few different forms:
    • Stooge — 1/2 witted sidekick who finds himself in trouble the straightman needs to solve
    • Tramp — An undesirable loner who offers insight and street-smart wisdom from the outside
    • Drunk — The bumbling character who asks the deep questions the characters need to answer
    • Scared Cat — Neurotic, jumpy, OCD: makes the audience awared of the lurking danger, but most cries wolf
  • Straight Man — The common, stable character who solves the problems, gets the girl, and watches over the stooge
  • Rogue — Opposition to the straight man who exhibits all the qualities of a romantic lead, but does so for selfish gain


Make an argument for one of the characters in Breaking Bad as one of Vaudeville Archetypes.  (Hint: they could be several at one time, so you have to choose and explain why, maybe using how someone else might argue)

© Jeff Thomas,