Opposites Attract: How Actors Break Away By Breaking Bad
These actors found a second life after TV stardom
However, actors like Ray Romano have recently turned this theory on its head. After nine seasons on "Everybody Loves Raymond," he's deftly crafted a new persona on "Men of a Certain Age" that, for all intents and purposes, is the anti-Ray Barone. As the second season comes to a close this week on TNT (and as we count down to the return of "Breaking Bad"), we take a look at other performers this summer who moved from a career-defining role to successfully portraying its polar opposite.
Take 1: The title character on "Everybody Loves Raymond." Raymond was easygoing and unwilling to take his family or his kids seriously. They were annoyances as he tried to avoid responsibility at all costs. Though his wife was neurotic, Raymond was the passive everyman.
Take 2: Joe, the divorced dad of two on "Men of a Certain Age." Joe is sensitive, still not over his ex-wife and reluctant to date, dealing with a gambling problem and his desire to get back on the pro golf circuit. It's a sweet, nuanced performance from Romano, entirely different from his laughtrack sitcom role what seems like all those years ago.
Connection: Both are generally awkward people, but other than that, nothing really. Romano is the prime example of a real TV transformation.
Take 1: Hal, the good-cop dad to Jane Kaczmarek's bad-cop mom on "Malcolm in the Middle." Hal was more like one of the kids than a father figure. He played Legos with the kids and set up strange domino contraptions in the kitchen. His strength was his ability to engage with the kids in his completely un-smooth way than it was to discipline them.
Take 2: Walter White, "Breaking Bad's" meth-cooking science teacher with terminal cancer. Like Romano, Cranston couldn't have chosen a more different show and different character than his first hit. Walt is a real absentee father, prone to flashes of anger and inconveniently missing important family events (the birth of his daughter). In fact, parenting is really the last thing Walt ever does, even though he claims he's cooking meth to make money for his family.
Get a sneak peek at the new season of "Breaking Bad" right here:A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.
Take 1: Scott Quittman, Amy's boyfriend and eventual husband on "Big Love." Yes, he was ten years older than her — not exactly a dream suitor — but he turned out to not only be caring, faithful and earnest, but he helped Amy escape the life she so despised. Theirs was a TV happily-ever-after.
Take 2: Jesse Pinkman, Walter White's meth-making partner on "Breaking Bad." Not only does Jesse cook and deal meth, his trademark baggy clothes and tattoos are the opposite of the gentle do-gooder Scott Quittman. Jesse has nothing — his family doesn't trust him, he doesn't really have friends — he's broken. As he told Walt, he's come to accept that he is the bad guy, and he's willing to play that role.