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Why All This Hatred Toward Skyler White on Breaking Bad?

Why All This Hatred Toward Skyler White on Breaking Bad?

As a writer, I admire the literary craftsmanship upgirding the television series “Breaking Bad,” of which I have been a diehard fan since receiving season #1 as a Father’s Day gift a month ago. One month. As the song goes, “Just one look, that’s all it took.” After enjoying the seven episodes of season #1 in a marathon viewing session that saw me repeat-watching the entire season twice more (Yes, that made a total of three times straight), I went to the neighborhood Wal-Mart, purchased seasons #2-#4, and watched them straight through too.

Now, the amazing thing about this marathon was that, because I am so selective in my viewing, I never watch TV on a regular basis except for sports.

To see what I want when I want, and to cut out the commercials, I have my favorite programs and series on DVD. Pretty much none of the newer stuff is in this group. Reality shows? Never. Not my thing at all. Well, maybe “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Ok, so what I’m a gambler? Stop judging me.

At first I turned my nose up at my son when I opened my gift, gave him the obligatory ’Thanks,” and proceeded to unwrap my other, better (I assumed) presents.

But the kid wasn’t going to let me get away with it that easy. He said, “Watch it now.”

“I’ll watch it later.”

“Do it now. You won’t hate it I promise.”

“I will hate it. You know that.”

“I’m going to sit right here until you watch it.”

“But I want to finish opening my good gifts.”

“Put them down. Watch this show. It will be the best gift you got this year.”

“No.”

“I’ll bet you ten dollars.”

“Ok.”

And the gambler set down his other petty gifts and proceeded to run the first mile of the aforementioned marathon.

Two hours later when I was on about episode 3, my son stuck his head out of his room. “Was I right?”

“Ass.”

“I knew it!”

“The ten bucks is in my wallet on the bed. “

“And one more thing. Game of Thrones.”

Groan. “We’ll talk about it.”

“You’ll like it I promise.”

Groan.

Fifty or sixty hours later, I am a certified “Breaking Bad” expert. Walt, Jesse, Hank, Skyler, Marie, Walt Jr., and all the villains are friends of mine. There are many posts I have set to write about the series after I do a bit more research—research through which I have discovered to my horror just how much one of my favorite characters is reviled. Skyler White.

Skyler? Why her?

I have some ides about the unexpected and undeserved reaction to our longsuffering heroine, but more on that later. First let’s read what the creator of the series has to say on this hatred towards one of my favs.

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“Breaking Bad’ Creator Vince Gilligan Calls Skyler White Haters Misogynists, ‘Plain And Simple’”

The most intense and exciting show on television, Breaking Bad, is due back in August, and the cast has been really great about promoting the show between the two parts of the fifth season throughout the year. In fact, the showrunner and creator, Vince Gilligan, did an interview with New York Magazine on Sunday (which was sadly overlooked by most in the flurry of upfront and Arrested Development news), but he had some interesting things to say about Skyler White, the character played by Anna Gunn. More to the point, he thinks Skyler haters are, well, woman haters.

This is what he had to say when Vulture asked him how he takes the fact that many see Skyler as a nag, a henpecking shrew:

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“Man, I don’t see it that way at all. We’ve been at events and had all our actors up onstage, and people ask Anna Gunn, “Why is your character such a bitch?” And with the risk of painting with too broad a brush, I think the people who have these issues with the wives being too bitchy on Breaking Bad are misogynists, plain and simple. I like Skyler a little less now that she’s succumbed to Walt’s machinations, but in the early days she was the voice of morality on the show. She was the one telling him, “You can’t cook crystal meth.” She’s got a tough job being married to this asshole. And this, by the way, is why I should avoid the Internet at all costs. People are griping about Skyler White being too much of a killjoy to her meth-cooking, murdering husband? She’s telling him not to be a murderer and a guy who cooks drugs for kids. How could you have a problem with that?”

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Well, this is going to get touchy, and nobody wants to take the side of the “misogynists.” Personally, I’ve never had that much of a problem with Skyler White — as opposed to someone like Winona on Justified two and three seasons ago, and Rita on Dexter — but I actually think that Gilligan might be missing a bigger point.

Undoubtedly, if, in real life, people actually thought a woman like Skyler White — who was telling her husband not to cook meth and murder people — was a “bitch,” then yes, you’d be rightly accused of misogyny. But this is a fictional show, and one where Gilligan has created this dark, dark anti-hero-turned-villain with whom we’ve developed a emotional investment. The people that hate Skyler — and I’m not counting myself among them — don’t necessarily hate her because she’s a “henpecking” shrew, but because she’s an obstacle to Walter White, who, despite ourselves, we kind of root for (although, not as much of late).

Ironically, Gilligan says that he likes “Skyler a little less now that she’s succumbed to Walt’s machinations,” and I think that’s the opposite of how many of us feel, mostly because she’s become a much more interesting character, now that she is unwillingly and passively aggressively going along with Walt. We also think it’s only a matter of time before she snaps.

Here’s the thing: the “Internet” doesn’t root for characters in dark dramas based on morality or lack thereof — I mean, look at Nucky Thompson or Dexter or Hannibal or anyone on Game of Thrones — we root for characters based on how dynamic or interesting or compelling they are. They are works of fiction. They are not reality, and our sense of morality is divorced from our desires to be entertained. Vince Gilligan has created one of the most complex, most interesting characters in all of television history, so naturally, we’re going to root against anyone that stands in his way. But, because we are human, we will also celebrate the person that ultimately takes him down, even if — and maybe especially if — that person is Skyler White.

Oh, and one other thing: Let’s not forget that she did f**k Ted.

By Dustin Rowles (5.14.13)

Read more: http://www.uproxx.com/tv/2013/05/vince-gilligan-skyler-white/#ixzz2ZmCqNdHV

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