Aaron Paul has a lot to celebrate. In the span of one week, Albuquerque’s favorite meth prodigy won his third Outstanding Supporting Actor Emmy for Breaking Bad and then followed it up with the 35th anniversary of his born day. Not a bad run for a scrawny kid from Idaho.
But, it wasn’t a straight shot to the top of the television acting heap for the son of a retired minister. Mr. Paul had to scratch and claw his way through commercials, music videos, and of course, that highly energized game show appearance that was frenetic enough to make the Tasmanian Devil burst into an epileptic seizure. Here’s a comprehensive look at Aaron Paul before he became Walter White’s, well…bitch.
That Time He Got Outclassed on 90210 By An Older Dude
The soon-to-be Jesse Pinkman knew he wanted to be an actor when he was in the eighth grade, but it wasn’t until the age of 17, when he graduated high school, that he decided to move to Hollywood. In one of his first gigs, Paul cozied up to a fine female specimen for his first foray into the land of the awkward screen kiss. This was quickly followed up by a highly inappropriate interaction between an acting teacher and a seemingly underage girl.
That Time He Used His Mind Powers To Reveal A Sad Set of Man-Boobs
Commercials are fine way to carve out your acting chops (for more evidence of this check out Walt White’s hemorrhoid cream ad). You probably only work for a day or two and unless it’s a highly viral and successful marketing campaign no one will really remember if you stunk up the set.
Case in point: this Juicy Fruit advertisement from 1999 which features a young Paul using his Charles Xavier-like powers to reveal a gorgeous set of man-mammaries. Also, look for what may be considered a crazy-faced prelude to that moment before Jesse shot poor Gale.
That Time He Had To Have His Pops
Prior to meth, Corn Pops were his addiction of choice.
That Time He Almost Swallowed Bob Barker With a Rush of Cocaine-like Energy
While some say this clip from The Price is Right is from 1998, IMDB lists it as occurring in 2000. The details don’t really matter though, as the important thing here is that Paul—credited by his real name, Aaron Sturtevant—goes absolutely ballistic when he gets called to be a contestant.
Paul utilizes a variation of The Stinky Leg dance on his way to the podium, appears to go into a brief coma, all the while professing his love for the leathery host skeleton known as Bob Barker. This is classic.
That Time He Popped Up In 3rd Rock From The Sun In A Horrible Red Suit
In a blink-and-you-missed-it moment, Aaron Paul briefly appears on stage to make an announcement in this clip from 3rd Rock. Of note here is the fact that Christopher Nolan’s future Robin, and Jesse Pinkman clearly have not hit puberty yet with voices shrill enough to alert all the dogs in your neighborhood.
Skip ahead to 2:50 to see Paul in a get-up that’s worse than his Beastie Boys inspired Breaking Bad gear.
That Time He Played “The Dude’s” Son
The 2001 film K-PAX, which stars Kevin Spacey as a man that may or may not be an alien, is one of these films you either love or hate (or didn’t see). It also holds the distinction of being Aaron Paul’s first real crack at the silver screen. Fast forward to the end of this clip to see Paul—who is already developing the look for his Breaking Bad character—stare lovingly into Jeff Bridges’ eyes.
That Time On The X-Files He Accidentally Pancaked His Friend’s Head
If you cycle through Paul’s resume on IMDB, you’ll see that he starred in a bevy of TV series before eventually settling into Breaking Bad. What’s significant about this 2002 appearance in The X-Files, is that BB creator Vince Gilligan was part of the creative team for this groundbreaking TV show.
Bryan Cranston also starred in an episode of X-Files titled “Drive”. So, I guess you can thank The X-Files for helping to align one of the greatest television forces of all time.
That Time He Got The Crap Kicked Out Of Him In A Korn Video
Back in 2002, Korn seemed like a cutting-edge band with a lead singer that was awesome at screaming out scat-like gibberish. Now? Eh…not so much. But, Paul liked them so much he agreed to star in their video for “Thoughtless.” In Breaking Bad, Jesse got his a** kicked. Like, a lot. Some things never change.