By ALICIA RANCILIO
NEW YORK — No matter how bad life gets for Aaron Paul’s character on “Breaking Bad,” it’s hard to hold it against him.
He plays Jesse Pinkman, a drug-dealing slacker turned (spoiler alert) murderer in the show’s fourth season.
He works with his former high school chemistry teacher Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, to produce meth. Cranston’s character has cancer and turned to the drug trade to provide for his family after he dies. As a job in meth would have it, he’s gotten increasingly sinister over the course of the show, too.
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Many fans find something very good about Jesse, and he’s someone they’re rooting for.
“When Jesse’s introduced they see him just like `OK, he’s a bad kid drug dealer,’” says Paul. “As the show goes on, more layers are revealed … you see he has a heart and he cares. He’s just a mixed up kid that got lost on this path and he’s constantly struggling to kind of find his way and to keep his head above water and they sympathize for this character. People are rooting for him.”
Critics and Emmy voters are also rooting for 31-year-old Paul.
He has been nominated for an Emmy twice and won in 2010 in the Best Supporting Actor category for his work on the show. (The show was ineligible for this year’s Emmys because the new season returned after ballots were due.)
Where Jesse lacks direction, Paul knows what he would like to see happen on the show. He wants his character to realize just how negatively Walt has impacted his life.
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In season 2 his girlfriend Jane died from a drug overdose witnessed by Walt, who opted not to save her.
Paul believes if Jesse found out, it would turn their relationship upside down because he looks to Walt as a mentor.
“If Jesse finds out the true story of that … I mean heads are going to roll really. So maybe that might be the end of the show? I don’t know,” Paul said.
What Paul does know is that when “Breaking Bad” ends, his experience on the show has raised the bar for the kind of television he would want to do.
“There’s really good TV out there now but where you’re seeing most of this good television is on cable or basic cable. Nothing against the big network shows, but a lot of them are kind of predictable.”
“Breaking Bad” airs Sundays on AMC at 10 p.m. Eastern time and 9 p.m. Central time.
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