So this time we’ve generalized the possible symbolic meaning of the colors on the show a bit, and introduced a couple of new ones. You can also see other notable examples of color symbolism from the past episodes by clicking on the links embedded in the following titles.
YELLOW for delight and abhorrence (or joy vs. hazard)
- Spooge’s place is tinted with yellow, representing the lingering doom in the air. Similarly the cozy restaurant (Greatly contrasting Spooge’s ramshackle house) where Walt and Gretchen meet has yellow-tinted walls. Notice Jesse’s t-shirt and headgear which also resembles that of Drew’s in 5.05.
According to Kaylee’s note in 5.02, Yellow is bad
GREEN for growth and decay (or fertility vs. greed)
Green is mostly associated with Walt as hinted by the show’s producers. It symbolizes his greed as well as his growth (or you could say decay) into a drug lord. Notice that in 1.03 during the flashback with Gretchen he also happens to be wearing green, reflecting the positive meaning as opposed to this episode’s grudge and envy.
According to Kaylee’s note in 5.02, Green is nice.
- PINK for innocence and deceit (or innocent yet cunning),
- ORANGE for elation and distress (or energetic yet alarming),
- BROWN for fortitude and cowardice:
- Gretchen appears in innocent pink as fittingly, Walt sarcastically tells her: “You are always the picture of innocence, just sweetness and light!”. Yet in the 1.03 flashback, she’s wearing orange perhaps symbolizing excitement (somewhere between the passion of red and the delight of yellow) related to her research with Walt.
- Walt’s wearing a brown jacket (among his other brown/khaki clothing items) over a greedy/decaying green shirt. Notice how Walt is projecting both authority and cowardice at the same time when he confronts Gretchen. This contrasts Elliot’s brown v-neck in 1.05 resembling fortitude and self-confidence.
PURPLE for wisdom and arrogant ignorance:
This is best known as Marie’s signature color as literally everything about her and around her is in shades of purple! The color is traditionally associated with nobility, royalty or even the supernatural, but in the show it could also symbolize a rather dark side of intellect and wisdom, which is arrogance accompanied with ignorance. Marie seems to be the perfect candidate for that: she’s a genuinely nice person but at times gets too self-centered (and slightly arrogant). Also she’s mostly ignorant towards her kleptomania issue. However midway through Season 3, following Hank’s disability, her arrogance and ignorance are substituted by patience and consideration. In fact, she becomes so reliable that even Skyler, who used to be the prudent sister, seeks her advice and consolation. In either ends of the spectrum purple conveys a specific part of the symbolism associated with pink.
- Moreover we see Spooge in purple, with purple counters in the supermarket, symbolizing his ignorance regarding the armed robbery. Gretchen drives a dark purple Bentley (or so it seems), and she’s got no clue what Walt might be up to. Mrs. Pinkman wears purple when forcing Jesse out of the house. You could say despite appearing arrogant in Jesse’s eyes, she’s more or less thoughtful in 2.04. Walt too, is seen wearing a purple shirt in 5.02 when he carefully plants a fake cigarette containing the ricin inside Jesse’s Roomba; a prudent move from his perspective.
GRAY for neutrality and confusion:
While black and white tend to highlight the extremes of an emotion or a mental state (depending on the dominant colors in the preceding or subsequent scenes) gray could symbolize neutrality, indifference, or on the flips-side, one’s confusion. Skyler wearing Gray over white, symbolizes her confusion following Gretchen’s call later in the night, while Carmen, who also shows consideration for Walt wears black with hints of gray.
(Click on the links to see examples of other recurring colors)
RED for passion and apathy (or Eros and Thanatos)
BLUE for safety and confinement
According to Kaylee’s note in 5.02, Blue is good
BLACK / WHITE for the extremes
Next: Observations Leftovers