Breaking Bad is indisputably one of the best television series of this generation. And Jesse Pinkman is one of the most memorable characters. Originally not meant to be such a major character, the chemistry between Aaron Paul, who plays the young high school kid turned right-hand man to the drug kingpin, and Walter White, high school science teacher turned Heisenberg himself, was off the charts.
And so we got episode after episode of Jesse trying to figure out how he ended up serving in the dark underbelly of the top-level drug world alongside his former chemistry teacher. Not used to dealing with anyone who wasn’t loitering around a back alley or playing video games in his basement, Jesse’s personality as a street dealer shone through. He called anyone and everyone “b****” any chance he got – one of the most quotable words from the series.
But Jesse spewed far more than just this one word insult. He was chocked full of hilarious commentary that brought some much-needed comic relief to the otherwise dark and intense series.
Updates on May 9th, by Matthew Wilkinson: Because Jesse came from such a different world to Walt, their vocabulary and the things they said were always so wildly different. That brought a really fun element to the show, as it was tough to predict just what Jesse would say next.
Sometimes he would be hilarious, other time he could be almost philosophical, which made him such a complex character. Here are 15 of his best words of wisdom.
“What good is being an outlaw when you have responsibilities?”
Jesse was a drifter for much of his adult life, choosing to flunk out of high school and focus his attention on selling and doing drugs, playing video games, and generally getting into trouble. While his ventures with Walter White were completely illegal and morally wrong, they were still run like a business that required responsibilities and accountability. And Jesse simply didn’t speak that language.
“This Is My Own Private Domicile, And I Will Not Be Harassed”
Jesse has never really been known to hold back in speaking his mind and sometimes it is helpful and other times it isn’t. The moment he and Walt and trapped inside the RV with Hank outside trying to get in and he tells him “This is my own private domicile, and I will not be harassed” was not.
It only made Hank even angrier as it then confirmed his suspicions that Jesse was inside of the RV. However, it didn’t stop the line being incredibly funny, especially as Hank and Walt’s reactions were so good.
“Are We In The Meth Business, Or The Money Business?”
Walter was meticulous about his blue meth, desperate to ensure that it was pure and perfect, every time. This is, after all, why he caught the attention of top drug lords, and why his product was in such demand. But, at first, Jesse only saw dollar bills. Screw quality! Mucho dinero is what this was all about.
“Would You Just, For Once, Stop Working Me”
Even though Jesse Pinkman and Walter White spent a lot of time working together, there was always an element of Walt thinking he was better than Jesse, controlling him to some degree. So the moment Jesse calls him out on it and proves he’s more than aware of what Walt’s doing is fantastic.
Jesse making it clear that he knew Walt was trying to play him with mind games was a brilliant moment in the series, and at this point it was clear Jesse was no longer going to be taken for a ride.
“We make poison for people who don’t care. We probably have the most un-picky customers in the world.”
Again, Jesse, at least at first, couldn’t have cared less about the quality of the meth they were producing. The customers were likely already high as kites when they bought and wouldn’t know the difference anyway.
He didn’t understand that for Walter, it was about having something to prove, and being better than anyone else. It had nothing to do with the customers.
“I’m not turning down the money. I’m turning down you.”
With Jesse beaten and broken inside the hospital, he finally makes his big stand, turning down Walt’s offer to keep working and $1.5 million in the process. He flips and makes it clear he wants nothing to do with Walt anymore after everything that he has been through.
It’s an incredibly emotional scene as Jesse is battered in his hospital bed, and goes on a two-minute rant towards Walt, making all of his thoughts and feelings perfectly clear.
“Like I came to you, begging you to cook meth. ‘Oh hey, nerdiest old dude I know, you wanna come cook crystal?’”
Jesse needed to remind Walter (er, Mr. White) that it was he who approached him, not the other way around. Of course, leave it to Jesse to do so in the funniest way possible, knocking not only Walter’s nerdiness (he was a brooding and bitter high school science teacher, after all) but also his age.
It’ll be interesting to see how Jesse fares without Walter in the upcoming Breaking Bad movie.
“Yeah, Mr. White! You really do have a plan! Yeah, science!”
Jesse had a great business sense, even though he used it to sell drugs. But he wasn’t exactly the most academic young man. He did eventually learn some scientific principles by watching Walter and learning how to make the signature blue meth.
But at the beginning, he had no clue what was going on and why as Walter poured one magic potion into a machine, something else into another, and voila! Drugs. “Yay, science!”
“Yeah, B****. Magnets!”
Jesse never had any problem screaming and hollering when he got excited, and the moment that his wild magnets idea actually works he lets out an incredible scream of excitement, “Yeah, bitch. Magnets.”
Because it was his plan for a change, rather than Walt’s for a change it was incredibly fun to see Jesse’s genuine reaction to his success. It was a perfect example of him showcasing his own intelligence and proving himself, and he was even amazed for his own success too.
“Mr. White…he’s the devil. You know, he is…smarter than you, he is luckier than you.”
Once Walter White showed his true, frightening colors, even his partner in crime felt his wrath, and began to understand just what this man, drunk with power, was capable of.
In this statement, we realize Jesse knows that Heisenberg, a.k.a. Walter White, will always be one step ahead of you.
“I uh… I eat a lot of frozen stuff… It’s usually pretty bad.”
Eating healthy, or sometimes at all, was the last thing on Jesse’s mind. He made one of the biggest mistakes any drug dealer could make (aside from, of course, drug dealing in the first place) which was to get hooked on his own merchandise.
As a young bachelor, he likely wasn’t going to be cooking up a storm each night anyway (other than meth, of course). So frozen dinners became his go-to…when he wasn’t grabbing some delicious fried chicken at Los Pollos Hermanos, that is.
“Coin flip is sacred.”
Jesse Pinkman believes in a lot of things very passionately, and apparently one of those is the coin flip. He and Walt do a coin flip early on in the series to determine who has to dispose of Emilio with acid and who has to kill Krazy 8, but Walt struggles with his job.
While Jesse gets on with business, and burns a giant hole in his roof, Walt can’t kill Krazy 8. This leads Jesse to flip out and let Walt know that the “coin flip is sacred,” informing him that it is something he cannot go back on.
“You Add Plus A Douchebag To A Minus Douchebag And You Get, Like, Zero Douchebags.”
You have to give Jesse credit: at least he demonstrates that he can pick up on some of the basic principles of mathematics.
Even if he is learning by counting douchebags instead of trains leaving the station and going different routes, the former teacher in Walter must have been proud.
“You got me riding shotgun to every dark recess of this state. It’d be nice if you clued me in a little.”
While Jesse was integral to Walter’s plans and activities, he often felt like he was simply being used, as evidenced from this statement.
Of course it’s much more Jesse’s style to make such comments about their travels rather than to simply say “where the heck are we going?”
“You don’t need a criminal lawyer. You need a ‘criminal’ lawyer.”
What did he mean by this statement? Well, what was needed was not a lawyer who specialized in criminal cases, but rather a lawyer who was a criminal himself, who knew the sketchy ways to handle sketchy situations, and wasn’t afraid, ironically, to bend the law. Thank goodness for Saul Goodman!