What does Breaking Bad have in common with “Albuquerque,” Weird Al Yankovich’s epic, 11-minute homage to, uh, sauerkraut?
Well, seen from a certain bird’s-eye view, they’re both epic tales of social dysfunction and the warped and twisted reality that forms a stark contrast to the golden myth of the American dream. Breaking Bad relates the critically acclaimed tale of a high school science teacher who becomes a meth dealer in order to secure a better life for his family, only to discover age-old truths about corruption, power, and the nature of evil. And Yankovich, though he’s far more famous for trenchant spoofs like “Eat It,” may have found his satirical masterpiece in “Albuquerque,” which relates the rambling life saga of a boy who tries to escape his least-favorite food and ends up on an epic plane ride to nowhere spanning years and most of the American continent, and involving a dedicated search for donuts.
Oh, yeah, and they both take place in Albuquerque.
Inevitably, the Internet has unearthed from its depths an 11-minute fanvid of the two cultural phenomena that’s nothing short of brilliant. Rife with spoilers for Breaking Bad, “Albuquerque” is, like all the greatest mashups, a commentary that transforms its parts. And given the quality of the source material, that’s saying a lot. Yankovich was certainly impressed, tweeting the remix out to his 3 million followers:
This is probably the best Albuquerque / Breaking Bad mash-up you’re likely to see today: http://t.co/MhHkcxwOOr
— Al Yankovic (@alyankovic) July 27, 2013
Using clips from all five seasons of Breaking Bad, creator ibrews impressively entwines the innards of these two very different stories and reveals that on the inside they’re not that different at all. The heroes of both narratives embark on a doomed fool’s journey, a downward spiral that starts from a place of idealistic faith and ends in an ever more chaotic spree of mindless violence.
And the narratives converge at eerie junctures: At one point, a line in “Albuquerque” about a man walking around with only a torso accompanies a Buñuel-like fever dream from Breaking Bad: a decapitated head riding a tortoise.
At their best, both Yankovich and Breaking Bad frequently blur the lines between comedy and tragedy, mixing the malevolent and the macabre together in a surreal and well-nigh-Shakespearean blend of drama so high it’s almost a farce—or perhaps it’s the other way around.
Trying to puzzle out which is comedy and which is tragedy may not be a substitute for the long-awaited final half of Breaking Bad‘s last season.
But it may at least help you bide your time until the final eight episodes air in August.
Screengrab via ibrews/YouTube