Just in case you missed my last PSA, let’s refresh:
You gotta love a good bad boy. That quintessential television character always seems two-dimensional on the page until they get fleshed out into living, breathing, brooding boys who don’t want your heart but you’re still compelled to yank it from your chest and give it to them anyway. It’s up to the actors who play them to let their softer side show through just enough to make you love/hate them and look forward to the next time they grace your screen. I shuffled through my long list of favorite shows in my head and realized that almost every single one had one of those leather jacket-wearing, motorcycle-riding, look-me-in-the-eyes-and-swoon kind of guys. So this topic is going to be broken into segments and we’re going to explore it over the next couple PSAs. (Because I said so.)
Jesse Pinkman | Breaking Bad
Played by Aaron Paul
Jesse broke bad alright, the very instant he decided to let Walter White sweep him up in a blue haze of thug deals and crystal meth production. A drug-dealing addict, Jesse was kind of a low life to begin with and Walt didn’t exactly help matters much—instead, he turned him into a murderer. While his literal partner-in-crime had next to no redeeming qualities by the end of AMC’s smash hit series, at least Jesse had the decency to show remorse and a desire to leave the biz in his rearview mirror—leaving me cheering when he finally did.
Spike (William the Bloody) | Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Played by James Marsters
The biggest bad around, or so Spike was prone to think. He rolled into Sunnydale in the second season as the latest thorn in the slayer’s side and finished the season as her greatest champion. The complete role reversal was a fun journey to watch, especially since he was a vamp without a soul and still managed to fall for the one woman who, on more than one occasion, tried to drive a stake through his heart and in so doing, shot an arrow straight through ours. Angel who?
Jess Mariano | Gilmore Girls
Played by Milo Ventimiglia
Jess, the sarcastic, quick-tongued foil to good Gilmore girl Rory, threw viewers into an unfortunate triangle in the second season of the WB’s darling mother/daughter drama. Dreamboat Dean was no match for Jess’ literary witticisms and the way he seemed to just know Rory, better than she even knew herself. He was the only one to pull her out of her I-stole-a-boat funk when he called her out on dating the type of guy they used to mock (lookin’ at you, Huntzberger). His character arc was made all the more poignant when we saw what Rory didn’t—how he so desperately wanted to be the type of man she deserved and just couldn’t find his way to becoming that man until it was too late.