Let Jesse Live: Getting Over the Loss (?) of Your Favorite TV Character
In nine short weeks, it will all be over. That’s when one of my favorite shows, "Breaking Bad," will be gone for good.
I have no idea what’s going to happen. Like most fans of the show I suspect that it can’t end well. It’s been a wild scary adrenaline-filled ride. I am prepared for almost anything they can throw at me. Except this: if Jesse Pinkman is not okay I will not be okay.
All I want is for Jesse to escape this life with his good heart intact and I just can’t be certain that is going to happen.
I’ve been worried about him for a while: (spoilers here from past seasons, but if you are reading this I suspect you know them and if you don’t you’ve had plenty of time to stop, so don’t complain) the first time he did heroin, when his house was overtaken by drug-addled masses and he didn’t care, his reaction to his girlfriend ODing and all the death that surrounds him.
I have also rooted for him. I shouted at the television triumphantly when he showed those drug lords that he is a true chemist. He has an incredible kindness toward children, seems to like brunettes and in spite of everything still respects “Mr. White.”
But last season, some time around the dinner scene with Skylar and Walt, I realized I need this guy to make it. I need to believe.
You see I love him. I mean really truly love him. I don’t know it it’s a sexual love or a maternal love. He is so young. So young and so cute. I haven’t quite figured out if my fantasy is to dry hump him in a back seat or gently rock him to sleep. I suspect it’s a weird combination of the two.
I know I’m fixating on him because I don’t want this to end. I guess this is why people write fan fiction. They want to find a way to connect with the characters. They want the story to go on and on.
But it never goes on. These shows always end, like people who you care about who just kind of drift away. The first time I ever felt this way was with a little show called "Firefly," a futuristic Western with strong female characters that you should really watch. There weren’t many episodes and when it was over I got a little depressed. But luckily I wasn’t the only one and they made a movie. Except the movie meant that I had to say goodbye to one of my favorite characters, Wash, (you leaf on the wind, you!) so maybe it would have been better to just let it go.
For years I heard about "The Wire" and how good it was. There was no way it could be what everyone was always on about it. But I binge watched that while pregnant and it was beyond good. I yearn to retire so I can rewatch the whole thing again and revisit those characters, albeit with the bittersweet knowledge of their destinies. There are character deaths from the show that I try not to think about because they make me tear up. It was a whole world that is nothing like the one I experience yet still very real to me. I wasn’t sure what would ever fill the hole when "The Wire" ended, but luckily I had a baby to occupy me.
Maybe I should stop getting invested in these shows. I was just on vacation with a bunch of people who opened my eyes to a world of disposable television. Shows like "House Hunter" and "Say Yes to the Dress" and "(TBD career here) Contest." These are shows I can just watch and enjoy without feeling something real for the participants. Without imagining a world where Jesse Pinkman whispers ever so softly in my ear, “You’re even better than smack, yo” after I fling myself between him and harm’s way.
Anyway, I’m sure Aaron Paul, the actor who plays Jesse, is a lovely human being who will go on to do wonderful things. When this is all done, I’m going to check out that addiction movie, "Smashed," he’s in and follow his career closely. He’s certainly an amazing actor and I am a reasonable, rational fan of his. But I don’t have a crush on Aaron Paul. It’s Jesse Pinkman I love. Forever.
I just need him to get through eight more hours and not have to worry about him dying. He can’t die. Not on my watch.
How do you deal with the end of your favorite show? Do you have inappropriate attachments to make-believe characters? What should I watch next? You see I do this to myself. Help!