Frame by frame: This Twitter account is offering fans a whole new way to watch Breaking Bad – Screen Shot
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Frame by frame: This Twitter account is offering fans a whole new way to watch Breaking Bad

If there’s one thing you can rely on when it comes to gen Z, it’s that we love our nostalgia—especially when it comes to TV. So many of our favourite shows are ones that ended years ago, but which have found their own ongoing life on social media, kept afloat by the ability streaming services give us to dive back into our old faves at the click of a button.

Among gen Z’s favourites, Breaking Bad surely ranks near the top. For some of us (this writer included), the dramatic story of Walter White was our first taste of what proper adult storytelling could be. Sure, maybe some of the nuances of the show’s complex moral dilemmas might have passed over our heads, but even a teenager could enjoy the sheer variety of iconic lines of dialogue and dramatic moments Breaking Bad offered.

It’s become a huge source of nostalgia for the chronically online generation, whether you watched it all as it went down, or if you binged the whole series in all the years since. Heisenberg, Los Pollos Hermanos, the roof pizza: it’s all stayed within our pop culture, as memorable now as it was a decade ago. People don’t tend to just watch Breaking Bad—they want to revisit it again and again.

One simple way to do that is to sit down and stream the whole series again on Netflix, which would take about two and a half days of your time in total. Easy enough, but what if you took it just a little bit slower?

One such option is a Twitter bot account called @breaking_frames, which runs through the entire series of Breaking Bad literally one second per tweet, ten tweets per hour. The project, created by a teenage coder from Australia going by the handle @pigeonburger began in the summer of 2021, and is set to finish this July, meaning the 62 episodes of Breaking Bad will have taken two whole years to play out, frame by frame.

The bot has turned the events we’re all familiar with into a weirdly fascinating experiment in ultra-slow motion. Hours on the account can go by without anything significant happening. Moments even a slow-burning show like Breaking Bad usually breezes by, like establishing shots at the start of scenes or background dialogue from extras, are caught out and featured. If you’ve ever wondered who all those people are in the rapidly flashing end credits, there’s absolutely no chance of missing them at one frame per second.

What has really given Breaking Frames its minor social media fame (with 174,000 followers and counting), though, is the fun community it’s built up, almost by accident. Breaking Bad was famous for its wild twists and turns, but unless you’ve found a really large rock to hide under, those unpredictable moments are common knowledge now.

Like so many other things that are popular among gen Z, the iconic series has been mixed and remixed again into memes and reaction GIFs that have acquired a life of their own. One of the most famous images from the show—it’s even featured as Breaking Frames’ display photo—comes from a moment that’s shocking and surprising in context, but that has since then been mostly used as a funny meme by fans.

When any iconic moment from Breaking Bad shows up on Breaking Frames, it’s met by a cheering audience who treats it like their favourite team scoring a goal. The entire thing is very reflective of youth culture’s quintessential brand of ironic, self-referential humour, but there’s something sincere to the appreciation that fans bring to the account, too, beyond the jokes.

The anticipation that the bot’s slow progress builds up is part of the fun. There’s a weird reward in having been patient through all the frame-by-frame anticipation that you could never get from just searching for a specific scene from the show on YouTube.

For all the opportunities for jokes and irony it offers, the main appeal of the bot is the way it’s served as a reminder for a whole generation of fans about why they loved Breaking Bad in the first place. After a year of bad press for Twitter, it’s a reminder that there’s a reason we’re still hopelessly addicted to it.

Unfortunately, few things stay pure on Elon Musk’s platform these days, and even simple bot accounts are running into newly created problems. Automated accounts like Breaking Frames are reliant on access to Twitter’s application programming interface (API), a software intermediary that allows users to interact with the website’s code.

In the regular days, API access was free, but one of the Tesla CEO’s many attempts to milk more cash out of Twitter has been the introduction of “paid tiers,” which have forced users like the coder behind Breaking Frames to shell out $100 a month for features that were once open to all. The account is running smoothly at the moment only because its creator set up a GoFundMe page, which generated over £700 in income from fans. Inspiring in one way, depressing in another.

At the time of writing, the bot is inching through the tenth episode of Breaking Bad’s final season, with just five episodes to go afterwards. It seems like an ending, but the fun of the series’ universe is how it kept going so successfully, with six seasons of the acclaimed prequel spinoff Better Call Saul and the epilogue movie El Camino having been released since 2013. There’s plenty more content to keep this strange little Twitter community alive for years more—but that’s only if Musk’s whims allow it to keep existing.

If you’ve ever been a fan of a TV series, it’s a familiar experience: enjoyment of the show, mixed with the worry that the executives up above might swoop down and cancel it at any moment. Let’s hope this particular show keeps running from that axe for as long as possible.

10 of the most exciting A-list actors and actresses in the Barbie movie

It’s Barbie’s world and we’re just living in it. On 4 April 2023, girly pops everywhere were gifted with the official Barbie film trailer. The movie, due to be released on 21 July, and directed by certified creative babe and genius Greta Gerwig, has been one of the most highly anticipated productions of this decade and it’s safe to say that we’re all hysterically excited about it.

And while everyone is quite rightly still obsessing over the casting of Aussie queen Margot Robbie and Canadian heartthrob Ryan Gosling as the film’s premier Barbie and Ken, we’re also overwhelmingly shook at the rest of the Barbie star-studded cast, and it’s something worth delving into.

So, without further ado, let’s run through ten of the most exciting A-listers set to make an appearance in what’s likely to be the film of the year. From current rising stars to OG nostalgic besties, this cast truly hits the sweet spot.

1. Simu Liu

When Simu Liu isn’t saving the world in the Marvel multiverse, he’s splashing in the pool in Barbie Land and schmoozing his fellow dolls with his dazzling eyes and toned physique. The Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star will be playing one of the many Kens in the Barbie universe, and from the little we know about the upcoming film, it seems as though Liu will be competing with Gosling for Robbie’s (aka, supreme Barbie) attention.

2. Dua Lipa

One of the most unforeseen casting choices in Barbie has to be singer Dua Lipa, who’ll be gracing our screens as a mermaid Barbie. Lipa’s appearance in the blockbuster will mark her official acting debut. We’ve seen a number of artists sashay into the acting industry—Lady Gaga, Cher and Justin Timberlake to name a few (although, I’m not sure we can officially class Timberlake as an ‘actor’).

3. Will Ferrell

I can’t imagine there’s anyone on the planet who’s not a fan of OG actor Will Ferrell. Known for his iconic role as Buddy the Elf in, you guessed it, Elf, Ferrell is hanging up his jingle bells for the role of ‘unknown corporate boss’ in Barbie. Again, we’ve been kept very much in the dark in regards to the plot of Gerwig’s film and so all we can say is that Ferrell’s character seems to be some kind of business villain, but who knows? We’ll just have to wait and see.

4. Michael Cera

Any Juno or Superbad fans out there, this one’s for you. Michael Cera’s guest role in Barbie is as equally ambiguous as the rest, although in his case, we at least have a name: Allan. Fans have been going feral online, speculating what part Cera will play in the film, and reminiscing over the actor’s previous characters. Supposedly, Allan was a 1960s obscure Barbie doll created by manufacturers Mattel to be Ken’s best friends, but unfortunately, after not being received well by kids, Allan was never seen again.

5. Helen Mirren

Next up is British acting royalty, Helen Mirren. Heralded as one of this generation’s most celebrated and respected actresses, Mirren will take on the role as the coveted narrator of the Barbie film. With such a legendary voice, it’s no surprise that she was brought onboard to take us along the way.

6. Issa Rae

If you weren’t sure whether or not there’d be a President of Barbie Land, the news is officially in: yes. Not only is there going to be one, it’s going to be none other than American actress and comedian Issa Rae. Revered for showcasing the lives of actual women, Rae has been a tour de force in the creative industry for some time and it’s safe to say that fans were thrilled when it was revealed she’d be taking on the role of President.

7. Kate McKinnon

Not everyone in Barbie Land will be gorgeously tanned, with hair that always falls just right and an outfit tailored to perfection. SNL comedian and actress Kate McKinnon will be repping it for the slightly more unhinged dolls of the world. Described as the Barbie who is “always in the splits,” McKinnon’s costume is made up of a rather choppy and wild haircut, crayon drawings on the face, and a very chaotic pink outfit which looks like something you’d find at the bottom of the dressing up drawer.

8. Emma Mackey

The next three names are ones most gen Zers will be familiar with, all hailing from the iconic Netflix show Sex Education, these three British rising stars have been making serious moves in Hollywood circles. First up is Emma Mackey, a French-born actress who, over the past five years, has exploded in the acting industry. Her recent projects include a biographical drama, Emily, which follows the life of famed author Emily Brontë, and Eiffel, a romantic drama set in Paris. In Barbie, Mackey will play a Barbie who’s recently won a Nobel Prize in Physics.

9. Connor Swindells

Next up is Connor Swindells. Known best for his role as moody yet adorably innocent Adam in Sex Education, Swindells will now be portraying “an intern or something” in the upcoming Barbie. While it doesn’t sound like the most thrilling part, I can imagine Swindells will find a way to add some pizazz.

10. Ncuti Gatwa

Last but not least is our final Sex Education alum, Ncuti Gatwa, who will be playing another Ken doll in the summer flick. Gatwa has also had an incredibly busy few years, particularly as it was recently announced that he would be taking on the role of the next Doctor Who, with his first episode airing around Christmas in 2023.