The Intriguing German Connections In Breaking Bad

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“The writers seem to have a strange affinity for all things Deutsche, and by the end of this article I hope you’ll be convinced that these connections are no coincidences.”

 

Vince Gilligan changed the complexion of television drama when he came up with the idea of Breaking Bad – a show that depicts the transformation of Walter White from impotent, cancer-ridden high-school chemistry teacher to ruthless and insanely Machiavellian drug lord Heisenberg. With the final batch of eight episodes set to air starting August 11 on AMC, I wanted to highlight one of the many intriguing aspects about the show: the pervasiveness of German names and plot points scattered sporadically on air.

 

Yes, you read that right. The writers seem to have a strange affinity for all things Deutsche, and by the end of this article I hope you’ll be convinced that these connections are no coincidences. Whether these random threads have any major significance going forward remains to be seen, but if I’ve learned one thing watching Gilligan’s work over the years, it’s this: he is extremely detail-oriented and nitpicky, and doesn’t like loose ends.

 

(Warning: Full spoilers upto the end of the first half of Season Five follow.)

 

1. Madrigal Electromotive GmbH

 

Madrigal Electromotive GmbH

“Interestingly, “Madrigal” is also a common last name in Hispanic and Latino cultures.”

 

This diverse multinational conglomerate that was the parent company of Gustavo Fring’s fast food chicken (and meth) chain was first introduced in the prologue of ‘Kafkaesque’ back in Season 3. As the name indicates, it is based in Germany, where Peter Schuler (the head of the restaurant division) commits suicide in Season 5 episode ‘Madrigal’. Lydia however, Walt’s business liaison for international marketing and distribution of his famed blue meth, is still alive and figures to play a critical role in these last episodes. Interestingly, “Madrigal” is also a common last name in Hispanic and Latino cultures. Can the cross-references get any more insane that that?

 

2. German Names

 

Now I have no idea whether the demographic of the New Mexico area includes a lot of descendants of German-speaking immigrants, but the universe of Breaking Bad is overwhelmingly populated by German-sounding family names.

 

There is Walt’s brother-in-law DEA agent Hank Schrader (anyone remember his homemade beer appropriately branded “Schraderbrau”?). Retired beat cop and Gus’s henchman/fixer/head-of-corporate-security Mike Ehrmantraut (literally “man of honor” in classical German), first introduced in Season 2 finale ‘ABQ’, was a central character throughout the past two seasons before his untimely demise in ‘Say My Name’.

 

For that matter, if we switch a couple of letters in Gus’s full name, we get Gustav Fringz, a completely plausible German name. There’s actually more to this apparent coincidence, but more on this later.

 

Remember the nerdy chemist Gale Boetticher? Well, his last name is the anglicized version of common German last name Bötticher. Then we have Walt’s old friends from grad school: Elliot and Gretchen Schwartz. Schwartz is actually German for “black”, and the combination with Walter’s last name – White – was the inspiration for the name of the startup Walt and Elliot founded: Gray Matter Technologies.

 

Walter White and Elliot Schwartz

“The universe of Breaking Bad is overwhelmingly populated by German-sounding family names.”

 

Now the minor characters. Ted, Skyler White’s weaselly boss and illicit lover, sports a surname – Beneke – that’s quite common in Prussian and Polish regions, both of which were the heartland of the erstwhile German Empire. Another one: ASAC George Merkert, Hank’s white-haired, mustachioed DEA boss throughout most of the series until Hank replaces him in ‘Madrigal’. And Dan Wachsberger, the lawyer that Mike hired to manage the hazard payments of Gus’s former employees after Walt stylishly offed Fring in ‘Face-Off’.

 

Before we forget, what about Walt’s alter-ego Heisenberg? The real Werner Heisenberg was a badass German chemist most famous for discovering the Uncertainty Principle that forms the basis for the contemporary atomic model. Why was he so badass, you ask? Well, Heisenberg worked in secret Nazi labs before and during WWII (remarkably similar to how Walt toiled away underground in Gus’s laundromat-cum-superlab), and – I swear I’m not making this up – died of cancer in 1976.

 

U2

“I AM THE ONE WHO – er, postulates that you cannot determine the position and momentum of an electron simultaneously.”

 

3. Nazi Germany

 

Okay, so Nazism has become something of a modern pop culture phenomenon, finding ample use as a convenient metaphor to represent the pinnacle of supervilliany. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone when the odd Hitler (Jesse exclaiming “Well, Heil Hitler bitch!” to Walt back in the episode ‘…And the Bag’s in the River’) or neo-Nazi (Todd’s white supremacist relatives in prison, who come in handy for Walt when he decides to simultaneously murder 10 inmates in ‘Gliding Over All’) reference is dropped.

 

But there are an unusually high number of them, even for a show this dark and morally ambiguous. Badger, Jesse’s friend and former high-school bandmate in Twaughthammer – also a German-sounding band name, by the way – once explained the real terror behind the absurdity of Nazi Stormtrooper Zombies (“They’re not craving your flesh for the protein, they’re after you because they hate America!”). Even Hank explicitly refers to Nazi Germany in the ‘End Times’ episode.

 

You’ll find consistent references as far back as the first season, when Walt explained how the massive and seemingly invincible Nazi artillery piece Gustav Gun was destroyed using a bag of thermite. This was just after Walt had conceived the P2P cook method that would yield the famous crystalline blue meth, and (along with Jesse) was planning to steal his first barrel of methylamine from a chemical plant.

 

4. Gustavo Fring’s Mysterious Past

 

Gus, the shrewd and intimidating Los Pollos Hermanos owner and meth kingpin of New Mexico was one of the scariest villains on TV, and perhaps the only person who could match Heisenberg move for move and wit for wit. His successful fast food and drug distribution empire is successful not only because he hides in plain sight, but also because he deliberately keeps most of his checkered past secret.

 

Gustavo Fring

“However, very little – if anything at all – is known about Gus before he moved to Mexico in 1986. But we can construct a possible early history for Gus if we indulge in a little speculation.”

 

This is what we explicitly know from the show so far: before he immigrated to the U.S. in 1989, he ran a similar chicken restaurant chain in Mexico along with his business (and alleged homosexual) partner Max Arciniega, a chemistry graduate from Universidad de Santiago de Chile. Since the two also dealt in high-quality meth on the side, the Juarez cartel unceremoniously shot Max in front of Gus to teach him a lesson.

 

However, very little – if anything at all – is known about Gus before he moved to Mexico in 1986. For Fring was a Chilean national, but no record of his childhood exists: something the wily chicken man attributed to General Augusto Pinochet’s government being “notoriously unreliable” with record-keeping.

 

But we can construct a possible early history for Gus if we indulge in a little speculation. After the Second World War, several prominent intelligence and state security officers sought refuge in Chile along with their families. Once there, they set up a secret mini-colony/pseudo-enclave of German immigrants in Parral of Linares Province, calling it Colonia Dignidad. The colony has a shady history of human rights and child sexual abuses as well as criminal and occult activities, and I’d readily wager that this was where Gus was born and raised.

 

It makes perfect sense. This is why there are no official records of Gus’s early life: no sensible government would put its international prestige on the line by acknowledging rampant abuse and wrongdoing within its borders. It explains his near-German name, and also provide clues as to the origin of his longstanding relationship with Madrigal Electromotive.

 

If you have a little extra time on your hands, I seriously recommend checking this out. It’s a chilling description of what must have been a nightmarish childhood for Gus, shaping him into this cold-blooded businessman we became familiar with on the series.

 

5. Random Tidbits

 

Like the show, this analysis has turned dark, depressing, and intense very quickly. Let me change the mood before we disappear into a black hole of our collective morally wrong choices. How about Gale Boetticher attempting a hilariously awkward cover of seminal 80s hit Major Tom?

 

 

Here’s the original, written and performed by German pop star Peter Schilling:

 

 

What do you think? Is there a genuine German undercurrent in the imaginarium of Breaking Bad? Have I missed other hints or clues pointing to an unusually significant role of German-derived artifacts in this show? Or am I reading too much into this concept and need to lay off the “blue stuff”?

 

 

 

Responses (60)

  1. Jerry Hazard says:

    You are reading too much in to it. There is a significant German demographic here in Albuquerque. If you remove the demographics of Spanish, Latino, South American, Native American… you are left with this:

    13,854 African-Americans
    1,416 Sub-Saharan Africans.
    60,676 Irish
    5,148 Welsh
    13,742 Scottish
    9,197 Norwegians
    8,682 Swedish descent.
    3,810 Danes
    11,211 Polish ancestry.

    and…

    86,000 Germans

    Seems Vince's attention to detail is spot on…

    (link: http://www.examiner.com/article/albuquerque-stats-and-demographics-ethnicity-and-religion)

  2. This has been a very interesting take in it, however… I can't say if it's true or not. Only the writer can. Haha.

  3. Ian Rasmuson says:

    "Gustav Gun was destroyed using a bag of thermite".

    Couldn't that also be synonymous with Walter killing "Gustav" (Gustavo Fring) with a small bomb?

  4. yep and Hector was the paratrooper

  5. Jerry Hazard says:

    So… just saying – IF there is a "German undercurrent", what are you saying that means? You must have an opinion or you wouldn't spend so much effort on the data.

    What do you think it means?

  6. Stefan Gallotti says:

    Heisenberg A CHEMIST? surely not!

  7. I think it means that in Vince Gilligan's opinion, Germany is the root of all evil, and the element that converts good people into morally ambiguous or outright villainous characters. No idea why.

  8. You're right, Heisenberg was more of a theoretical physicist, but a lot of his work greatly influenced physical and atomic chemistry as well. Perhaps it would be unfair to pigeonhole him as a physicist, especially since the title of "chemist" sounds so much more badass! (I know that's a circular argument, but point has been noted.)

  9. Hmm… wikipedia lists 9.8% of all New Mexicans claiming Germanic ancestry. Still well below the pervasiveness of German-sounding names on this show. If I knew nothing about NM demographics, I would have guessed 30% at the very least. Kind of like a German version of Minnesota Scandinavians.

  10. If true, that would be an epic case of foreshadowing from Gilligan. Smart as he is, I have a hard time believing that he was planning as far ahead as Season 4 in the first batch of episodes.

  11. The history of Organic Chemistry has its foundations in the science and scientists of Germany, so it doesn't come as a surprise to me that this influence would naturally spill over into the series (especially as the science in the series is pretty accurate, so someone is doing their homework).

  12. There are no coincidences in Gilligan's writing.

  13. LOL, Beneke is by no means a common name in Poland.

  14. Lucas Hoffmann says:

    So for me as a German citizen, this is somehow honouring, but it also means that Germany is… well, the origin of all evil :D I understand why gilligan could have used us to symbolize the bad guys, the rough language etc, but why in SO MANY ways as it is in the show :)?

  15. Coming from a Norwegian heritage I probably am more sensitive than others, but all the German names and connections, as well as the obvious allusion to Gus being the offspring of escaped NAZI war criminals in Chile was not lost on me.

  16. Hasan Abdul TawabThat's why they have Mexican beer and play the Hohner button accordions. That's why Mexican music is just a slowed down polka.

  17. John Parsons says:

    Hey Breaking Bad fans. I have a very strong opinion on what we will see happen this season! Here is my list of "clues" that I think fore tells what to and more importantly who to expect. Of course this is just what I am noticing and you might not think this important at all. If anyone can explain all these "coincidences" I would love to hear it. I am open to any criticisms!

    Season One
    Ep. 1. How did Walt kill his first victim?
    Ep. 3.Jessie and Walt in Jessies driveway. "Oh well, " what "Bitch"?
    Ep. 7. Making the thermite in kitchen. What was the example of thermites effectiveness did Walt tell Jessie?

    Season Two
    Ep. 7. DEA office in Texas. What does Hank say you don't wear when trying to catch "somone"?

    Season 3.
    Ep.5. Gus telling Walt in the lab what a man does. ( Ya, that's a stretch).
    Ep.7. Young Hector on the cell phone. Who is the "Big Generalissimo"? What makes
    South Americans "dirty, dirty people"?
    Ep.9. What is the trademark at the bottom of the TV ad?
    Ep.10. Jessie and Walt in lab. Jessie says " I don't have to take orders from you, WHO?

    Season 4.
    Ep. 2. At Jessies house. Badger and Skinny Pete. Their not just zombies their what?
    Ep 4. Hank talking to Walt about a case he is working on. Who is the "mystery man" and.
    what was he?
    Ep.6. How were the truck guards killed?
    Ep.7. Hank in DEA office. Who owns Los Pollos Hermanos?
    Why wasn't Madrigal Electrmotive paid for air filter?
    Why did Madrigals lawyer ask Hank for his badge number?
    Why is there no info on Gus before 1989?
    Pinochet?
    Ep. 8. Mike, nothing on Gus before 89.
    At Pool. "They don' look like brothers to me"?
    At pool. Don Eladio" I know who you are" Who? " You're not in Chile" So?
    Ep.11. Hank and Walt in car. "Madrigal owns laundry too".
    What all does Madrigal own?
    What was "3 Days of the Condor" about?
    Ep.12. Marie asks Hank why he can't make Walt come to house. His answer?
    Maries response to Hanks answer?
    Gomez says the laundry is clean. Hank "So he says"?

    Season 5.
    Ep. 1. When Hank and Gomez are in the burnt out lab why does Gomez not recognize what Hank points out on the wall?
    Ep.6. When Walt, Jesse and Mike were discussing what to do about Todd what was Jesses "nickname" for Todd?
    Ep.8. Who finally showe up? Well new school anyway!

    Season 6.
    Ep 1 What are the "moving parts" or people that Lydia speaks of Walt doesn't know about?

  18. John Parsons says:

    Royce you are right! Gus is the son of a Nazi war criminal. You are the very first person I have heard say this.

  19. The Star Trek pie eating contest makes more sense than this theory, especially considering many of the character and place names come from friends and family of Vince Gilligan.

    Unless you are saying …. are you saying…. that Gilligan is a … FOA ( friend of Adolph?)

  20. Oliver Geiger says:

    Deutschland liegt in Neu Mexiko.

  21. Royce Lerwick'"Mexican music is slowed down polka…" lol, you made my day

  22. I am Polish and I and I hold no grudges, but somehow one guy made one whole country full of very violent people that hated "inferior races"… I think we have to use technology and support as much as possible, in China it's good they have a 1 child per parents rule, maybe it would be nice for the whole world for, for example, one, five, or, max, 10 years? 50 or 100 years would be too cruel, and I think 5 and 10 is a bit too much too… just limit to one child and see what happens, if two or more children at the same time do not, at all, terminate. What do you think?

  23. IF you want, discuss it with me now or on private, whatever you want sir :) one love!

  24. Joshua Flores says:

    All heil Heisenberg!!

  25. It's all about the Physics. Heisenberg and Schrodinger's Cat.

  26. Martin Pritchard says:

    Ethan Faidley Ding ding!

  27. Jimmy Parker says:

    A man provides for his family. When you have children you always have family. They will always be your priority, your responsibility and a man….provides, and he does it when he is no appreciated, respected or even loved. He simply bears up and he does it. Because he's a man.

  28. Andre Bue says:

    And "Deutschamerikaner" are the largest group in the United States in general. 50 million Americans, more than 17% of the population are of German origin.

  29. Denise Berry says:

    Hmmmmmm…………………………..

  30. Hasan Abdul Tawab He may have not thought that far ahead but he knew when he got to season 4 that he had mentioned that in the first season

  31. Alex Peppurs says:

    Some of the things are farfetched imho…black in German is "schwarz" by the way without the "T".

  32. Alison Duncan says:

    There is a lot of German reference, for the reason you stated, to indicate the degree of evil. The very transition of Walt to Heisenberg is the jumping off point of Walt's humanity.

    I think Hank is of German heritage to more easily accept him turning in his family to the authorities.

    Mike is named Ehrmantraut to both demonize and inform the curious about his honorable side.

    Vince and his writers are using the German references to increase the uneasy gutt feeling.

    I'm sure other genocidal maniacs have had similar impact on their race. Give us a few thousand years and the holocost will one another of many human atrocities.

    Being one of the more recent and extreme atrocities will keep it in the media for a few hundred more years. No point in being offended and I sure wouldn't be feeling honoured if I were German.

  33. Cicely Alaska says:

    I really love to find people more freak than me. :) I love you all.

  34. Steven Bristol says:

    Bartosz Sharky Szyma?ski Sorry, everyone else – this has nothing to do with Breaking Bad, but I needed to reply to this person. Let me get this straight – you're talking about Hitler, correct? You're talking about how he "made a country full of violent people who hated "inferior races"? Let's just start with that, because I'm American, raised in the public school system my whole life (save for 2 years of homeschooling, but even I know that's wrong. The ratio of World War 2-era Germans to German Nazis was exceptionally slim. Nazism was not pervasive in Germany. Hitler was in power, and appreciated at the beginning of his political career for the good he did for Germany – and he DID do good for Germany, but no-one talks about it, because no-one wants to sound like they support his antisemitism and 'ethnic cleansing'. Regardless, the amount of Germans who supported him and his actions during the Holocaust was very low. If you want sources, I'll attempt to find them, but a little bit of research should prove this to you. Secondly, why would you support parents being forced to have only one child? In today's world, it does seem unreasonable to have a lot of children. As recently as 100 years ago, my family members often had 10 or more children, because they lived in Idaho (USA) and were farmers. They needed the children to help run the farms and many children died at birth or shortly thereafter. As I said, I think it's unreasonable to have a large number of children, and I think it's unforgivable if you have children you can't afford, but China does it because they have such a huge population (approximately 1,353,000,000 people over 3,747,879 square miles, or 9,706,961 square km – so there is a density of 140 people per square km or 363 people per square mi) but are not a wealthy country. Here, in the United States, our most populated city is New York City. It is small ( 302.6 sq mi or 784 sq km), but has 8,336,697 people – a density of 27,550 per square mile or 10,640 per square km. This is thousands of times more dense than China – but NYC is much more wealthy than China, and so people can afford to have children. Noone should be forced into how many children they should have. The intelligent thing to do, when your country becomes overcrowded and poor, is to leave. Unfortunately, most Chinese people can't afford to leave. Regardless, the Chinese population control program is not "good." I can't think of a worse way to control population. It may surprise people, but there is plenty of room on the planet for all of us – and for billions more!

  35. Daniel Kirk says:

    Hasan Abdul Tawab I'm certainly intrigued by the connections you've made here, and it's an extremely well put together piece, but to go so far as to say that Gilligan is saying that in between the lines, so to speak, is something I just don't think he's aiming for. Why is Germany the root of all evil when the names of characters working for the DEA, and Walt's co-founders of Gray Matter.

    There is of course the massive connection where basically everyone from the methamphetamine underworld has a German sounding name. I'm guessing Salamanca didn't turn up much or it would have been mentioned, but Mike Ehrmantraut, the "man of honor," kind of throws a wrench in the entire Germany is the Root of All Evil Theory. Yes, Gus most likely had the most horrific childhood a person can experience, and there is definitely something shady going on with the higher ups at Madrigal Electromotive, not just Lydia and Schuller.

    I do have to give you enormous credit for making the excellent but just awful connection between the fucking asshole Nazi's who forced their way into Chile, and then used their money to buy power and influence enough to abuse and basically do whatever the fuck they wanted. I did not know that was how it worked, I thought they were a lot less… I guess flagrant is the word I'm looking for… than that. I thought the Nazis that escaped to South America were by themselves and kept hidden by rich nobles they paid or something. This is just so fucking terrible, now I won't even be able to sleep.

    Sorry for the tangent, my only argument against your claim would be that since the German names are included throughout the show, they're simply a narrative anchor. And maybe I'm making that entire term up, but it's like the German stuff is just a way to hold the story down and tie it together at the same time.

    I can possibly explain this better tomorrow, after I get some sleep.

  36. Kay Wherever says:

    Steven Bristol Hitler was mentally ill, paranoid, psychopathic narcissist. German citizens, Nazi party members or not, kept a blind eye to the genocidal concentration camps existing in their communities which provided products to them which they bought like human skin lamp shades.
    As for the Russians, Stalin was as evil as Hitler & more indiscriminate in his targets for genocide.
    As for the Chinese 1 child rule, it's a violation of human rights & cold-blooded, premeditated murder by the state…viable fetuses 32 weeks or older are "aborted" just prior to being born. So child-hater Bartosz Szymanski, why don't you use some of your wages to buy a conscience & some morality since you don't appear to have been born or raised with either.

  37. Kay Wherever says:

    BrBa could've easily been set in Cincinnati, given it's Germanic heritage.

    Your hypothesis has credence; nice work, spydistrict.

  38. Mary Vance says:

    Because of the one child policy in China the ratio of young women to young men is extremely unbalanced. Most are aborting if they think they are having a girl so they can have a son. Now young men can not find anyone to marry. And I'm not even going to mention how this policy was barbarically enforced during the cultural evolution.

  39. Simon Decrouy says:

    you, sir, are saying bullshit. I dont know where you study, but the german people did love hitler in this time. In 1933 half of the country had vote hitler. The people that were not ok with him were in camp or were beating in the street in the years that followed the election.
    He was bringing a lot of war loot, and all the children since 1933 had a nazi education.
    And since you drop numbers, did you know how the gestapo raid system worked ? It worked on delation, 99% of the time, that's mean a very large amount of people did collaborate with the nazis, in every country where they send jew, homsexual and gypsis in camps.
    I re-state this : since 1933 hitler did a political and social clean up, so in 1939 they was no one left to dare oppose him or even think thats he was not doing the right thing for germany. Ho, and only 7 people knew the true of the camp, so no one was able to be not ok with it.
    Stop saying shit just for the pleasure of looking smart, it is not a topic for that; the german people during the WWII lived sumptuously on the blood and wealth of others, and you think they were not ok with it ? are you stupid or what ? and nobody give a fuck about what you think of the surpopulation issue ! Jesus !

  40. Lucas Hoffmann says:

    I didn't want it to become this kind of history talk again.. :D hitler was a complete fuck up we all know that, just like stalin, bad times and they are over, for nearly 70 years. It was about breaking bad and the symbolization of germany as the place where evil grows. That's all :) we now have different evils in this world

  41. Claudia Schwarcz says:

    Me pareció muy bueno este artículo, porque me llamaban la atención siempre tantos nombres alemanes. Ine Castellano Albi Castellano Hugo M. Castellano

  42. Joe Vapes says:

    What about skylers maiden name Lambert?

  43. Seems pretty coincidental to me. Why isn't he Walter Weiss or Jesse Rosamann?

  44. Brandon Seymour says:

    In this weeks past episode, Jesse picks up a big "Deutsch" book from Hank's shelf. Looks at it briefly before setting it back down.

  45. 'Tod' (Todd) is the German word for 'death'.

  46. Daniel Data says:

    They were my original thoughts.

  47. I don't ever recall having met a character of the racial background of Gus, either in Mexico or even less obvious in Chile …although there has been an underground connection between Germany and Chile , where supposedly many of the Nazi refugees took refuge after the war. Their "colonies" as they refer to the enclose and hermetic German communities of Chile, are still around I think..Mexico also has its connection with Germany..some known German descendant is Frida Khalo….

  48. Ryan Bax says:

    Heisenberg was a physicist.

  49. Marion Stein says:

    I'd add a big one — think about to the pilot . The first murder is committed by Walt's creation of phosphene gas.

  50. Lee Adama says:

    Dass Mike mit Nachnamen Ehrmanntraut heisst wurde sogar noch vergessen bei den Namen^^

  51. Ronny Bläß says:

    I have been pondering this wealth of allusions to German history and culture myself for quite some time now (I'm German myself) and I wholeheartedly agree with your findings here. Let me add some more:

    Gretchen Schwartz – Gretchen is an old-fashioned but famous German first name. It was used by Goethe in the most well-known of all German plays: Faust. In Faust, a scientist who is unsatisfied with his life makes a pact with the devil to finally achieve happiness and a sense of purpose. (Just like Walter …) Gretchen is Faust's girlfriend (whose life he ruins …)

    Gustavo Fringz – actually, Frings (the German surname) comes from Severin – meaning strict. Gustaf was one of the most common German first names in the Nazi era (and before). Its meaning is not quite clear, it could mean all of honour, friend, glory or 'scepter of God'. Gilligan seems to like telling names – it's not that hard to look up meanings and some etymology and use that knowledge. What's uncanny is how well everything works together.

    I would definitely NOT say that Germany/German culture is supposed to represent pure evil in the series. Many 'positive' characters have German names, think of Hank or Gretchen, etc. The Germans themselves, of course, are represented as rather cold and scientific – Madgrigal comes to mind, Heisenberg of course, etc.

    Walter himself of course transitions from English and innocent (White) to a more shady place – grey, if you will. The other end of the spectrum would be the cold-hearted and – German – name Schwartz (schwarz being German for black). According to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle you can never precisely pinpoint Walter's location. He is merely – grey matter.

    So (to finish this here) I would suggest that the German references are supposed to juxtapose the emotional side of Walter, the father, the family-man, the teacher. Germany represents cold science, Walter's pragmatism and Machiavellianism, his effectiveness and coldheartedness (is that even a word?)

    Sorry for any weird sentences, English is not my native language.

  52. Stefan Finke says:

    Interesting interpretation of a seemingly clandestine motive line in the show! Just two or three remarks by a native German speaker, who is a writer of radio plays and prose. Fringz, as you construct it, is surely not typical German, it's a spoof of a certain imagination of German, inspired by WW II spoofs. To German ears the softer version Frings, with s, would sound more natural. The same with Schwartz. The translation of black into German is not schwartz but schwarz, without that t. Both are just slight differences, but they may give a hint that modern German can be much more poetic and musical – and less militarily – than it is obviously still received through some old clichés. Btw., for German ears Madrigal is a foreign word too, it sounds more Spanish or Italian than German, and this is because Madrigal designates – as it does in English – an Italian lyrics or song form.

  53. Don't forget Walter White Jr, aka Walter White, II, aka WWII, aka World War 2.

  54. Doc Tor H. House says:

    In fact, there are a lot of German connections to Germany. But do not forget, german culture always was part of USA, has to do with all the german immigrants in 17th and 18th century. There are lots of little towns in the US that are named after towns in germany.

    What names like Ehrmantraut, Wachsberger and even Schwartz are concerned, these are jewish names, they are given to the jewish by Austrian governement during the jewish emanzipation in the 19th century. (of course they have german meanings). But you will find these names more in the US than in Germany, cause many more jewish peolple live in the States. (prominent example is Spielberg … translated Playmountain)

    What i wonder ist, if german language and origins play such a big role in BB, why didnt they get native German speakers for germen roles? All characters at Madrigal, who speak german, are not native speakres, you clearly hear an american accent in them!

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