Breaking Bad was a pretty good show. I’d say, though, that it was missing a key element: Neither Jesse nor Mr. White ever got fucking swole. We never got to witness the duo pumping iron, or getting into peak physical shape together. Fine, maybe the meth and the cancer meant that this didn’t make sense as a plot point, but wouldn’t you still have liked to know what Heisenberg would have looked like as a bodybuilder?
In a series of viral TikToks by several different artists, people are reimagining episode arcs of their favorite shows in which someone starts lifting after undergoing a rejection, becoming powerfully buff. In the Breaking Bad version, artist @sillynormalguy depicts Jesse’s girlfriend Jane telling him she’s breaking up with him because the meth has made him too effeminate. All drawn in strikingly accurate charcoal, Jesse then goes crying to Walt, who says, “Jesse… we need to lift.” Next, Jesse and Walt are shown doing dumbbell curls, followed by illustrations of them with young Arnold Schwarzenegger bodies.
Another rendition of the trend by @icheban features Patrick Star of SpongeBob asking Sandy Cheeks on a date, who tells him she prefers guys like Larry the Lobster. Naturally, we next see Patrick hitting the gym, transforming into a rather terrifying strongman version of himself that towers over Sandy. Similarly, another video from @damianvisualarts shows Marge Simpson leaving Homer. Determined to one-up the ripped “stupid sexy Flanders,” Homer discoveres what a gym is and becomes scary, buff Homer. All three of these videos are paired with the song “RAVE” by Dxrk ダーク, a dark electronic dance track.
The whole illustrated revenge bod trend appears to have been started by artist @nebuio in early April, who began sharing drawings of characters like the Among Us crew members with preposterously cut human bodies. In the Breaking Bad clip, @sillynormalguy tags him as his inspiration. In addition to Among Us, @nebuio has also done revenge swole fan art for Scooby Doo, Shrek and more.
Surely as these videos continue to rise in popularity, with many of them already amassing several million views, this trend of depicting familiar TV show characters as chiseled lifters will continue to grow. For whatever reason, there’s something enthralling about seeing these familiar figures in such a burly light, as well as witnessing the talents of people who are able to show them to us with only a pencil.
Perhaps the creators of Breaking Bad left no room for this alternate universe, but on the drawing pad of a TikToker, Walt and Jesse live out our muscle-y fantasies.