Maybe not. Dig a little deeper, and it starts to make sense. Reread the original fairy tale and you’ll see that our man Jack is something of an anti-hero himself. He has more than one thing in common with Walter White.
1. They both make poor decisions.
Like Walter White, Jack’s got a money problem. Walter finds out he has terminal cancer that requires expensive treatment, but still turns down a good job (with great health insurance) when college buddy Elliott Schwartz offers it to him. For some reason, he thinks that accepting “charity” in the form of a job he’s actually qualified for is worse than cooking methamphetamine. He even turns down Elliot’s offer to pay for his cancer treatment, out of some type of misplaced pride. Jack has no such pride. but he does trade in a perfectly good milking cow for a handful of magic beans.
2. They both turn to crime.
Walter cooks meth. Jack steals.
It’s easy to think of Jack as a poor kid who triumphs over a brutish ogre, but really, he’s the one who starts all the trouble. Once he climbs to the top of the beanstalk, he begs a free breakfast from the giant’s wife, then steals some gold and scoots back down to his mom. What a way to show his gratitude.
3. Their criminal behavior starts small, then picks up steam.
Walter starts out as a high school chemistry teacher, and by the end of the first Breaking Bad episode, he’s already made his own illegal drugs and killed somebody.
Jack takes more than a day or two to get going, but when he runs out of gold, he goes back up the beanstalk and steals the hen that lays the golden eggs. Then he runs off with the giant’s harp, too, even though it doesn’t want to go and keeps calling out for its master.
4. They both get really, really rich from their crimes.
Walter goes from working at a high school and a car wash to earning millions from his illegal activities.
Jack not only lives happily ever after from a financial standpoint, thanks to the golden harp and his neverending supply of golden eggs, he uses his newfound wealth to score himself a princess bride.
That’s where their paths diverge. Things don’t turn out quite as well for Walter.
So yeah, I know we’re used to seeing really cute versions of Jack and The Beanstalk, like the 1947 version starring Mickey Mouse. But times have changed, and Vince Gilligan may be just the right man to give this tale the darker spin that’s always lurked beneath the surface.
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