The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture


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Well gentle readers, those of you still checking this site that is, it seems time to post a brief message about our long absence here. This blog was an experiment started by two grad students looking for a way to elevate our procrastanalysis and give order to our meandering reflections on pop culture. It was a discipline of writing in new voices, for new audiences, and collaboratively with each other. We are so grateful that other friends joined in and amazed at the “real life” friendships that were cultivated in this online space. And most of all we are so grateful for the readers who found us, stuck around, and participated in the conversation. Along the way we got “real” jobs, had kids, and found our procrastinating turning in new directions. We’ve been on an unofficial hiatus for a year, but it seems time to make it official. We are no longer generating new content, but the archives of this experiment will remain on this site. Thank you for helping us take our unseriousness more seriously while making it all the more fun.

Kathryn and Natalie

Written by themothchase

September 1, 2014 at 11:48 am

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Just Get Me Home; I’ll Do the Rest

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Hi friends,

It’s hard to believe it’s all over. In some ways, I thought this episode was brilliant, in others I was disappointed and, in one, I’m just left annoyed. So first, the brilliant. For much of the episode I felt like it didn’t even know it was the finale. Breaking Bad’s storytelling mode is near genius in terms of pacing. In all the seasons leading up to this one, we all marvelled at how little time passes in this incredibly packed narrative universe. And this season, we’ve had minutes take hours to show and months take seconds – giving us some form of temporal whiplash at moments that nevertheless satisfied. The temporal confidence (I’m not sure what else to call it?!) of this final episode shocked me. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

September 30, 2013 at 10:18 am

Why won’t you just die already?

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Breaking Bad S05E15 Whiskey

Hey friends,

So, that was a change of pace. That episode was pretty much what I assumed it would be: checking in with all of the relevant parties in the aftermath of the fall of Heisenberg. I thought it was pretty beautifully handled. Beautiful in a dark, dark way. The depth of Heisenberg’s fallout was a sad place for everybody involved. Read the rest of this entry »

I did this. I did it alone.

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I am beginning to wonder if I have the emotional stamina to make it through the final two episodes. Whew! So that is how a meth empire ends: “Round the decay/Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare/The lone and level sands stretch far away.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

September 17, 2013 at 10:03 am

Blue is Our Brand

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Hi friends,

Sorry I didn’t get the chance to join the conversation last week, but to extend it, I’d like to pick up on one of Bryan’s points – that Walt has always had his meth cooking skills to fall back on and, without them, he’s left quite vulnerable. For all the incredible action and plot movement twists and gasp-out-loud moments this week, I think this simple point remains at the core of the current narrative: Walt’s the only one who can make the meth blue…it’s the perfectly simple truth that he is never going to escape his own creation.

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Mr. White, he’s the devil

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Breaking Bad - S05E12

Hey folks,

Well, I don’t know about you guys, but this episode felt like it was trying to get a lot of things in place for the last four episodes. Not a whole lot happened necessarily, but we got some interesting setups. Most notably, Jesse is cooperating with the DEA (I loved the moment when Marie Read the rest of this entry »

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September 2, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Be A Man

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Hi friends,

So now we know how the White house gets trashed. I just hope that after his arson escapade, Jesse turns himself in and becomes that crucial witness in the case against Walt. If last week focused on the women in the show, this week really took up the male relationships – so I want to say a few words about Jesse, and leave the Hank stuff and the dvd confession for one of you to take up.

The scene between Walt and Jesse in the desert was just stunning! We’ve all been waiting so long for Jesse to call Walt out on his father-figure bullsh*t, and that he waited so long to do so made the payoff even sweeter. I know you guys (or, at least, some of you) still, at least kind of, think Walt’s doing what he’s doing “for his family” – whatever that might mean. At this point, I just don’t buy that at all! I think his core motivation is the preservation Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

August 26, 2013 at 11:44 am

You’re Done Being His Victim

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Hi friends,

Well, if last week was all about Hank, this week was all about Skylar…at least for me. I was riveted and, yet, left wanting more – just what is going on inside her head? At this point, I’m not entirely sure if she’s protecting Walt, protecting herself, or just caught up in momentum that she can’t escape. But when Hank told her that she would no longer be Walt’s victim, I was struck not only by how wrong that language was for describing her, but also how incapable I was of coming up with something better.  Hank can list all the reasons why Skylar is a victim, and they’re all true. She was emotionally manipulated, faced borderline physical abuse and certainly emotional, feared for her safety, and so on. But in the end, all those reasons don’t quite capture why Skylar has and continues to go along with this plot. Walt has been utterly corrupted by power; Skylar, I wonder, has perhaps become, or is becoming, corrupted by the thrill of her own success. She got the carwash going. She hid all the money. She figured out that Hank’s got nothing. She might not be great on the spot when crisis hits like Walt is, but give her a few hours to mull things over, and she’s as much the brains of the operation as Walt. Perhaps all these years being married to a(n unacknowledged) genius has left her wanting her own smarts acknowledged too. I don’t know – do you guys have any further thoughts on her motivations here…because I’m still trying to figure them all out?? Read the rest of this entry »

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August 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm

If you don’t know who I am…

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Hello friends,

It’s both incredible and somewhat sad to be discussing the final episodes of Breaking Bad. What a twisty turn it’s been!

There’s so much in this episode, so I’ll focus on a few comments  and questions.

I think the psychological dimensions of the show — always present in Breaking Bad — reached a (literal) crescendo with this episode. The depiction of Hank’s realization of ‘who’ Walt is was incredible, as was the final showdown between them (Hank’s closing the garage door, Walt’s last words, etc.). Read the rest of this entry »

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August 12, 2013 at 8:35 pm

I Really Don’t Know Love…

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Dear Kathryn,

What a finale! I’ve chosen the line from the Joni Mitchell’s, Both Sides Now, as the title for this post because – wow! – what a brilliant choice for a closing song for this episode. Certainly we had a set of characters searching for love and finding themselves punished by their efforts (Pete’s mother (!), both Ted and Peggy, Roger’s family failures all around – with his first set of kids and with Joan, even though he gets to be with Kevin and, really, Pete too, forced to say good-bye to his daughter while she sleeps…or lies dead…I wasn’t quite sure?! Didn’t she look kind of dead to you??). But it’s the final lines of the song that pick up Don’s story so perfectly: “I’ve looked at life from both sides now, from up and down but still somehow it’s life’s illusions I recall. I really don’t know life at all.” After the first season moved away from the “who is Don Draper?” mystery, I wondered how crucial that story would be for the rest of the series. This season, via Bob Benson (who I’ve quite grown to like and hope sticks around for the final season) and his mysterious unfolding, we’ve returned to Don’s early self-creation. The slow seeping out of Don’s foundational lie has been so artfully done – in years of broken relationships, selfish decisions, a hubris that creates his own downfall and, finally, the shaking hands that reveal what we’ve all known all along but just couldn’t admit: Don’s a legitimate alcoholic, not just a cheery drunk. So the idea that it would come to a dramatic point when he’s asked to pitch a chocolate bar (!) felt so ludicrously true to me that I almost held my breath. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

June 25, 2013 at 9:25 am