Open Forum Friday: Why Do Breaking Bad Fans Hate Skyler White?

Skyler White in Breaking Bad

I think it’s fair to say that with the final episodes of Breaking Bad currently airing on AMC, there is a lot more criticism and discussion surrounding this TV show than any of the movies that are playing in theatres right now. Last weekend, actress Anna Gunn sparked a new debate herself with an op-ed that she penned for the New York Times entitled, “I Have a Character Issue.” In the piece, she expressed concerns over the fact that so many of the show’s fans seem to despise her character and have even started to transfer some of their hatred to her personally. It’s true, this does seem to be a common sentiment among fans and some have taken it to extremes. The question is, where is all this hatred coming from?

Clearly part of the problem is that the show is set up to make you identify with Walter White as a protagonist, even though he is doing some pretty questionable things. Skyler, his wife, is in direct conflict with his secret life of crime, the “cool” side of Walt that viewers love. Anna Gunn, however, speculates that this has more to do with the fact that people “can’t stand a woman who won’t suffer silently” or one that could be considered Walt’s equal. I don’t know if it really goes that deep… I really think it’s more a case of viewers being unable to see Walt as a villain. What do you think? Are men unable to accept women who challenge the usual gender roles in TV shows and movies? Should Skyler White haters be labelled misogynists or is Skyler White just a poorly written, uninteresting character? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.

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  • bobbee87

    I’m a woman and I really disliked the Skyler character (not as much as I despised the Rita character on Dexter though). The actress was fine, the writing of her character was the problem. We were never allowed to really see things from her point of view. She was used as a plot device and nothing more. We know the writers had time to more fully develop her character but clearly just chose not to bother. There was a lot of stuff that could have been compacted to allow for that, for example the extremely long story arc of Jesse’s house becoming a crack house ( a whole lot of time spent ordering pizza). They had time to develop a strong, sympathetic female character and the writer’s simply chose not to, so for them to later whine that it is the audience’s failure, is disingenuous at best.

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