Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 110

106 Populär Culture Review Because W alter maintains socialized gender norms, he rejects the help o f others and perceives innovation as the only appropriate avenue for his success. Crime allows W alter to become the sole breadwinner of his household and he enters into the drug trade with this notion in mind. As he is told by Gustavo Fring, “W hat does a man do? A man provides for his family ...h e 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” (“M as”). Prior to his emergence as Heisenberg, W alter feels inadequate as a male defined by hegemonic masculinity: he fails as a successful breadwinner and he lacks an aggressive disposition associated with manhood. His own son calls him a “pussy,” and looks to W alter’s brother-in-law, Hank, as a role model (“Gray Matter”). Hank, a successful DEA agent, embodies the hegemonic masculinity W alter desires and often emasculates his brother-in-law in front o f his family. In the pilot, for example, Hank teases W alter for his ineptitude o f handling a firearm: “Hey, it’s not gonna bite you . . . it’s like Keith Richards with a glass o f warm milk” (“Pilot”). Ray Bossert adds, the entire first episode runs W alt through a gauntlet o f effeminizing experiences. He is forced to wash the luxury sports car o f a Student who disrespects him in d a ss . . . [and] W alt’s guests ignore him at his own party to watch a television news segment on Hank’s heroic drug bust. W alt’s left alone with his thoughts, apart ffom the guests, feeling inferior to his brazen, boorish, hypermasculinzed relative. (71) W alter’s only redeeming masculine quality, as suggested by Hank, is that he has a “brain the size o f W isconsin” (“Pilot”). However, W alter’s peers consistently challenge W alter’s intelligence and he fails to demonstrate his intellectual value as an overqualified high school teacher. The episode, “Gray Matter,” provides insight into W alter’s previous aspirations through flashbacks. Prior to the events depicted throughout the show’s five seasons, W alter was an influential chemist working alongside Elliot Schwartz and formed a successful pharmaceutical Company called Gray Matter. However, for reasons not disclosed in the series, W alter was pushed out o f the Company. He was thus forced to see his colleague surpass him as “scientific man o f the year” and gain all o f the attribution he wanted as a chemistry Student. Patrick F. Pamaby and Vincent F. Sacco argue,