Aaron Paul is not Jesse Pinkman
(Lainey: Ready for the final season of Breaking Bad? The recaps are coming. But first, every week leading up to the premiere, Maria’s posting previews. Then we’ll be recapping the new episodes.)
Aaron Paul is not Jesse Pinkman. But in my mind he is. Because I want him to be.
Aaron Paul doesn’t do a ton of press; I don’t know if that’s by design or by demand, but this two-page New York Magazine piece gives me lots to work with. How cute is this f-cker? I keep reading a few paragraphs at a time then have to stop to swoon.
Do you watch Breaking Bad? If you don’t, I beg you, catch up before season five starts on July 15. There are not enough adjectives to describe this show: brilliant, complex, provocative, smart, unpredictable, harrowing, funny, tragic. And it lends itself to locking yourself in the house for the weekend with takeout and four seasons of brilliance. (Lainey: Breaking Bad is my secret place. I can’t talk about it. It’s like an affair that I have to keep to myself. But on all those previous points, agree, agree, agree.)
So the article is pretty paint-by-numbers, but because it’s about Breaking Bad every word is worth pouring over. It goes into his early career, the pre-success struggle (producers worried he was too good looking to play Jesse) and character insights from showrunner, Vince Gilligan. Pinkman was supposed to be killed off season one; he was a means to Walt’s end. Bryan Cranston said, “We got younger with him in it. So there was a balance there from a network point of view.” Do I think they kept Jesse so AMC could skew younger and sell video game ads? I really don’t. And I don’t think that’s what Bryan Cranston meant. The relationship between Walt and Jesse is so layered, their chemistry is so captivating, it’s the heartbeat of the show. And the way Bryan throws him some shade throughout the article, then pats him on the head, is so Walter White. Defending Aaron for a wayward tweet about Albuquerque, Cranston says, “That really hurt his feelings. He doesn’t want to hurt people.”
And of course there’s the requisite quote from Aaron on Jesse:
“He couldn’t be less like me” when it comes to the drugs. But when Aaron’s handing out set props to the journalist, like here man take this tote bag, do you not see shades of Jesse letting meth heads crash in his house? I do. Even Gilligan concedes that it’s a grey zone. “A lot of Aaron’s personality—and it’s not to say Aaron is Jesse—but the cadence of his voice and his decency and vulnerability, leached into the writing of the character. You want to protect him.” This isn’t to say Aaron just has to show up and be himself; it’s really a testament to how multi-dimensional and evolved Jesse Pinkman is. There’s not an ounce of fiction in how he’s portrayed.
As for Aaron’s private life, his fiancé is described as a “a pretty anti-bullying activist with a high-gloss pedicure.” Sh-t, that worries me. There’s a full discussion about his romantic relationships, which apparently are very intense (or so Bryan Cranston says). He dated one of the 90210 girls (don’t’ make me Google her name, it really doesn’t matter which one) and, like Jesse, seems to become attached pretty quickly. A month after he met his fiancée, they had each other’s EKGs tattooed on their ring fingers. (Lainey: ew!) Usually this would be an automatic eye roll, but instead I’m just concerned he’ll get hurt. I want to do his laundry and bake him cookies. It’s mental, I realize.
But how can I get a pack of “3 Strike” matches that say “Better Call Saul”? I need them in my life.
Attached - Aaron on Conan last night showing off that EKG.