Monthly Archives: September 2013

Rick “The Model” Martel is back?

Remember these vignettes from late 80’s, early 90’s  wrestler Rick “The Model” Martel?

 

Well it looks like he’s back….and he’s black?

 

 

And before you ask, yes I do a lot with my free time.

Advertisements
Tagged , ,

Breaking Bad Showdown: Walt vs. Jesse; Why I choose Jesse

As Breaking Bad nears the middle point of the second half of the final season, the line has been drawn very clearly in the sand: Jesse Pinkman versus Walter White.

Fans of the show are more divided than ever over these two pivotal characters in television history. Who is right? Who is wrong? Is Walt truly evil? Is Jesse really “good?” Some fans are referring to their showdown as reminiscent of Batman versus The Joker. Although I can see a point or two, the more accurate comparison would be Robin versus The Joker. A former sidekick decides to take matters into his own hands against the most evil of the evil. Jesse connecting the dots about the swiped ricin cigarette was the moment in his mind, where Walt was confirmed as the source of Jesse’s emotional pitfalls. Robin is attempting to thwart The Joker’s plans, but will he succeed?

While there are many fans rooting for Jesse to get his revenge, there is a strong contingent of fans rooting for Walt. This group sees Jesse as annoying and ungrateful. Jesse wouldn’t be where he is “without Walt.” While there is some truth in that statement, you could also switch the names around without clouding the meaning. It’s Walt who keeps talking Jesse back into the game. Sure Jesse is weak, he’s supposed to be. There are two types of people in this world, leaders and followers. To understand why Jesse deserves fan sympathy more than Walt, you have to understand the difference between leaders and followers.

Followers always have an excuse…
Leaders always have an idea…
Followers always blame others…
Leaders fix the situation….
Followers make promises…
Leaders keep commitments…
Followers let it happen…
Leaders make it happen…
Followers say, ‘Why don’t THEY do something about it?’
Leaders say ‘Here’s something I can do.’
Followers live in the past…
Leaders live in the here and now.” ~Unknown

When I see Jesse making brash decisions such as throwing millions of dollars out of a moving car, instead of seeing the surface(a guy doing something 95% of people wouldn’t do) I see the interior. What do we know about the character of Jesse Pinkman that has never wavered? He’s emotionally unstable. He doesn’t go through the same process of thought as Walt does when making a decision. He’s been the wild-card since day one that Walt has to help guide along.

Jesse fits no description of what it means to be a leader. When working and dealing with Walt, it is Mr. White who makes the decisions and deals. When Gus Fring wanted to do better business, he tried his hardest to convince Walt to cook without Jesse. Gus saw from the very beginning the weaknesses of Jesse because they’re not hard to find. You would think with the money Jesse has made, he would at the very least be able to put together a decent furniture setup in his home. Instead, calling his home a “pigsty” would be a disgrace to pigs as he’s done nothing but throw parties and listen to elaborate Star Trek theories from his friends. The one time he thinks he’s found an opportunity to escape the game with a girlfriend and a young son, Walt schemes him back in.

So when someone is frustrated by Jesse’s “stupid and ungrateful” behavior, I ask you this, what do you expect from him? He is a representation of most people you will ever meet, weak-willed and easily manipulated. He’s been in a funk because he’s living a life that he doesn’t know how to escape. He realizes his only way out is death. It’s hard for me to dislike someone who is behaving the way their character says that should act. I’ll have a problem with Jesse when he starts behaving out of the ordinary and ordering hits on people. While Aaron Paul has already received two Best Supporting Actor Emmys, I will argue that his work this season should be hard-pressed not to earn him a third statuette.

waltjoker

Walter White on the other hand, knows very well how his words affect others. He understands the influence he has on Jesse, being his former teacher. Walt casually underestimates the cognitive abilities of Jesse as he has tricked and lied to Jesse on more than one occasion. Walt’s understanding of how to bend the will of those in his way is what makes him closer to evil than good. No matter the situation, Walt has a lie, scheme or a formula to free himself from trouble. What he lacked in street smarts, it seems Walt has gained to go along with his brilliant chemist mind. Watching Walt try and convince Jesse in their desert conversation that he isn’t such a bad guy reminds me of what goes on in many forms across the world. Whether it’s a gang member convincing young kids to join in or the roided-out baseball coaxing another player into doing something to advance his career. A person in a position of power bending the will of a weaker person. It’s sick and it’s a character trait of a bully. You can try and argue that the point of the lily of the valley was to make Brock sick and not kill him, but the fact that he even thinks of that leans towards the evil side of the spectrum.

The beauty of this show lies in creator Vince Gilligan’s ability to create compelling characters who go against the typical story arch of a hero and a villain. In his rise from naive science teacher to meth kingpin, Walter White has transformed from a follower into a leader. He has become every bit of Gustavo Fring the chicken man that he once feared, right down to the car wash cover as his version of Gus’ chicken restaurant. In the progress, he has destroyed every relationship in his life outside of his bond with his son. Once he’s either caught by his brother-in-law Hank or killed and his life is uncovered, he will lose that relationship also. Jesse is hell bent on taking down Walt for poisoning a child however he can, with or without the help of Hank. Will he take down Walt? Ask comic book fans what happened the last time Robin met up with The Joker.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,