Monday, July 9, 2012

Angst Re-Initiate: Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad

It's a little silly I haven't posted more about Breaking Bad. It's my default response when discussing "Best Show on Television." And Jesse Pinkman was one of the earliest angst reports. With Breaking Bad returning this Sunday, I thought I'd do a bit of catch up. I decided I loved Breaking Bad at the end of episode two when the bathtub full of half dissolved human came crashing through the ceiling. I decided I loved Jesse when we met his family two episodes later in Cancer Man.

Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad Season One Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad Season One
Jesse starts the episode having a major meth freakout. At this point in the series, we don't know him all that well. He's basically the screw-up comic relief kid who has the criminal knowledge to get Walt the meth-selling hookup he needs. But as Jesse spirals into drug induced paranoia, he runs home to mommy and daddy where we're granted much character clarity.

Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad Season One Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad Cancer Man Season One
First of all, when he's at home, he sets the freakin dining table for dinner. I love that. I nod and smile and think layers layers layers! We also get a glimpse as to what he was like as a kid. Drawings and school reports - Mr. White even told him he should apply himself. Oh the mistakes of youth.

Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad Season One Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad Cancer Man Season One
We also meet his little brother, Jake. One of my favorite Jesse moments ever is when his mother comes in to check on them - making Jesse feel like a villain who can't be left alone with his own baby bro. Jesse says, "What am I, some criminal or something? Like, oh, we can't let that scumbag warp the mind of our favorite son." To which Jake replies, "I'm the favorite? Yeah right. You're practically all they ever talk about." I love that both brothers think their parents care more about the other. And Jake has been competing with screwed-up burnout Jesse. That kid has maybe three lines in the whole series and yet you totally get him and why he is the over-acheiver he is.

Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad Season One Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad Cancer Man Season One
And then the Shakespearian twist of it all. The rents find some pot and assume it belongs to Jesse. They kick him out. Of course, you know what they say about assuming. It wasn't Jesse's pot, but he takes the fall and keeps little bro's name clean.

Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad Season One Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad Cancer Man Season One
Jesse also trashes the weed, telling Jake it's skunk weed but really telling Jake he doesn't want to go down that path. Jesse leaves his family behind. The episode goes a long way in sketching out what a decent person Jesse really is. And basically making the case that a bunch of dumb, lazy mistakes as a teenager are what led him to the life he now has. Jesse may be good, but he's also weak. He's got a lot of arcing to do and it's some of the best television ever. I'm totally stoked for this Sunday!

No comments:

Post a Comment