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Jesse Pointing a Gun refers to a GIF of the Breaking Bad character Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul) pointing a gun directly at the camera. In 2019, the GIF gained prevalence in GIF caption memes on iFunny and is often captioned with the phrasal template When the X War Starts and I Have to Kill Y. The format shares similarities to the Wesley Snipes Crying meme.
On June 13th, 2010, episode 13 "Full Measure" of the third season of the drama series Breaking Bad premiered. In the final scene of the episode, deuteragonist Jesse Pinkman is ordered by Walter White to kill the character Gale Boetticher, which he hesitantly does. The episode ends with a shot of a teary-eyed Jesse pointing a gun at the camera and pulling the trigger (scene shown below).
On May 2nd, 2013, a GIF of Jesse pointing the gun at the camera was uploaded to GIPHY, where it accumulated over 4.5 million views in nine years (shown below).
On August 4th, 2019, iFunny user Kornbread posted the earliest discovered GIF caption using the GIF, a Reddit Moment meme, with the post gaining over 180 smiles in three years. Earlier GIF captions based on the GIF are likely to exist.
Starting at least as early as August 2019, GIF captions based on the snowclone "When the X War Starts and I Have to Shoot Y" (itself based on a viral October 2018 tweet), with many examples employing misinterpretation. For example, on August 17th, 2019, iFunny user Dakidnextdoor posted a meme that received 11 smiles in roughly two and a half years (shown below, left). On February 11th, 2020, iFunny user CleanandPristine posted a GIF caption that received over 1,400 smiles in two years (shown below, center). On June 19th, 2020, iFunny user nikolas posted a meme that received over 4,500 smiles in two years (shown below, right).
The GIF maintained prominence on iFunny through 2020 and 2021, with multiple examples going viral. In November 2021, the GIF gained virality in the GIF caption subreddit /r/whenthe. For example, on December 15th, Redditor NevGuy posted an image caption that gained over 15,500 upvotes in five months and received viral spread in the following months (shown below), prompting the further spread of the meme on Reddit and Twitter.
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