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Theory - Every Major Bryan Cranston Role Is The Same Character (From Seinfeld To Breaking Bad)

Go ahead and scoff. Doubt, if it makes you happy. They laughed at Victor Frankenstein, too — they called him mad! — but who's laughing now?

Still, maybe it's a tough sell. No one would blame you for your skepticism. To say that every notable character played across a monumental career in show business is somehow connected, that their disparate lives, stories, and inhabited worlds are all part of some grand design? It probably sounds like poppycock.

But it's not poppycock. It's not poppycock at all. Step back far enough and squint with the right kinds of eyes, and you'll see, like we do, that every one of Bryan Cranston's major roles in the last 30 years have followed a single ribbon of continuity, cutting through time like a shark through water. Every piece fits, and every tale lends itself to this one, ultimate truth. Follow us on a journey to see Bryan Cranston characters in ways that you'll never be able to unsee. Witness the last great truth in Hollywood storytelling, a conspiracy of moving parts commensurate to the clockwork of a fine Swiss watch, where no detail is too small to matter deeply.

The man who would be Walter White began as a humble dentist on Seinfeld

Our journey begins with Dr. Tim Whatley, dentist to the stars, and the terrible darkness that hid inside of him. It wasn't enough that he was a re-gifter, or that his invitations to events were a little vague. No, Whatley had another sin. A greater sin. Whatley was a man consumed by darkness.

In the eminently quotable "Seinfeld" episode "The Yada Yada," we see the good doctor for who he really is after he hears a dentist joke that Jerry made. Instead of brushing it off, he uses it as an excuse to cause the comedian as much discomfort as he can during a dental procedure.

Now, for this theory to work, Whatley's downfall in "Seinfeld" must take place off-screen. However, the big city can be an awfully small place when you start to develop a reputation, and it isn't long before Whatley's behavior starts to draw the attention of local law enforcement and — worse yet — the American Dental Association. Before action can be taken, Tim leaves town, driving meanderingly towards the center of the country. There, he changes his name to Hal Wilkerson and, through the use of posthypnotic suggestion during states of drug-induced stupors (achieved via the administration of leftover dental anesthetic), he convinces a woman named Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) that he's lived a whole life as a poor little rich boy. From there, they share a love that will last a lifetime.

Dr. Whatley goes from sinister dentist to lovable family man

Things go well enough for "Hal Wilkerson" and his newfound family ... for a while, at least. They raise five boys together. One, named Malcolm, is in the middle. The erstwhile Dr. Whatley becomes more and more nervous as time ticks on, always afraid that his past will catch up with him, which accounts for some of his zanier behavior in this time period.

In the closing moments of the story, viewers learn that Lois Wilkerson has become pregnant yet again, a revelation which leaves Hal screaming in abject terror. Having only just sent two of his children off on the next phases of their lives, he's understandably feeling trapped and afraid. Old habits kick into gear. The boldness of his younger days as a dental scoundrel returns.

He switches modes and runs, the way he always has, full of the confidence that a man only possesses when he knows that there's a horizon between him and everything he wants. It's not long before Hal Wilkerson is back in the arms of the secret family he's been keeping in New Mexico ... oh, wait, we didn't mention that part? Buckle your seatbelt. 

Science man Tim Whatley turns himself into science kingpin Walter White

Okay, so in order for this proposal to work, we have to assume that loving husband Hal Wilkerson had been running off to Albuquerque regularly enough to keep and raise a child without rousing the suspicions of either Lois back on "Malcolm in the Middle," or Skyler on "Breaking Bad." Skyler probably would have missed some stuff — it took her until what, Season 3, to figure out that her husband was a drug dealer? But Lois was pretty sharp. Hal would have needed to drug her food to keep her foggy.

In any case, on learning about the forthcoming birth of his sixth child, Hal picks up a Pontiac Aztec on trade through Craigslist and drives to New Mexico, where his alternative persona, Walter White, is excited to share with his wife and son that his "work" that's been "keeping him on the road" is finally over, and he's taken a job as a chemistry teacher at the local high school. This accounts for his restlessness in that flashback scene where him and Skyler buy the house, remember? 

However, an ambitious egomaniac like Tim Whatley can only be happy as a simple family man for so longer. Blah blah cancer, blah blah amphetamines, blah blah blah the monopolization of the meth market in the southwest United States. "But wait," you say, "He dies in the finale!" 

Not so fast. Because even while Whatley was running New Mexico's meth market, this unparalled scientific genius was also experimenting upon his own body. What, you didn't think he really had cancer, did you? 

Following years of experimentation, Walter White transformed himself into Zordon, Power Rangers leader

Walter White fakes his death at the end of "Breaking Bad." What, considering how much else he has lied about, at this point, does this surprise you? After the show's closing moments, he stands right back up, goes into hiding again, and his true journey begins. 

Throughout "Breaking Bad," Walter White keeps developing newer, better drugs, leveling up his chemical expertise, and then dabbling in the creation of stimulants designed to improve brain function. With his intelligence amplifying exponentially, White moves on to more ambitious projects — life-extending drugs, stretching his life expectancy into the hundreds of years, then thousands, then nearly into infinity. He experiences the death of the universe and comes out the other side, as a new Big Bang undoes entropy as the unimaginable cycle of existence begins anew. 

Now possessed of a new perspective on the rareness and preciousness of life, Tim Whatley is redeemed, and he renames himself Zordon. He seeks out life on other planets, promising to protect it against those who would cause it harm. He utilizes eons of experience in order to become a more perfect champion of the weak, forging borderline-supernatural, color-coded armor for himself and a small band of followers, similarly dedicated to the preservation of the vulnerable. Even when his physical body succumbs to the attacks of his former friend, Rita Repulsa, he mentors new, virtuous warriors across generations. "Go, go, Power Rangers," he and his team seem to say to would-be evildoers. "Get out of our territory."

See, it all come full circle! It all makes sense. And then somewhere in there, you know, he's Trumbo or whatever. This is exhausting.