Whatever happened to Aaron Paul?

We ask all the time about certain television actors – “what happened to him or her”? Today, I’m going to answer that question as it pertains to “Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul. Known for his role as Jesse Pinkman, an Albuquerquean meth-addict and street criminal with a heart of gold, Paul has already won Emmy awards, been nominated for Golden Globes and has turned into a pop culture phenomena. Yet the question remains: what’s happened to Aaron Paul?
With only a little over a year since Breaking Bad’s conclusion, it is probably too early to say, but so far, he hasn’t been too successful. His best-known role after “Breaking Bad” is Todd Chavez of “BoJack Horseman.” Chavez is imilar to Pinkman in being a delinquent, yet far less complex and interesting. Paul’s acting is underutilized for cheap comic relief, instead of being fully developed for audiences to care about.

He also guest appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons,” but still spent the majority of time on screen as Pinkman. It’s clear that in the public’s view, Aaron Paul is still directly linked with his “Breaking Bad” character.
Paul’s career post-”Breaking Bad” hasn’t been all underutilization and cheap misses. He was nominated for the Milano Film Festival’s Best Supporting Actor award for his role in “Decoding Annie Parker” as an unfaithful and impulsive husband trying to cope with his wife’s breast cancer. Paul was also the lead actor in the film, “Hellion,” where he was praised by Hollywood Reporter writer David Rooney for successfully portraying  “a widowed blue-collar father who has given up on life, all but abandoning his sons to fend for themselves”. Though both characters are still immature screw-ups like Paul’s other roles, they bring nuance in how they deal with being a husband and father – something not touched upon in Pinkman and Chavez.

I wish audiences could see Paul dedicate himself to mature lead roles. He is a 35-year-old man who had to play the young Joshua in “Exodus: Gods and Kings” and acted as another generic, hotshot criminal in the critically panned “Need for Speed”. The question is: does he have the talent to do so? Perhaps, but so far, the “Breaking Bad” star hasn’t quite broken through.


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