this is a post-season 2 Breaking Bad spoiler.

I feel like all these people who hate Skyler on Breaking Bad* are completely missing the entire point of the series. Walter White is not the hero of this story, kids.

*and extend that childish hatred to Anna Gunn, who is a tremendous actor, playing a complex and compromised character.

16 thoughts on “this is a post-season 2 Breaking Bad spoiler.”

  1. Ugh, no kidding! Just because Walter White is the protagonist, does NOT make him a good guy. Remember, kids: Meth is bad. And Walter has made a *crapload* of meth. And he (spoilered) a little kid. And the longer the series goes, the worse he gets.
    Skylar’s just trying to do the best she can with an unforgivable situation. And Anna Gunn has done a fantastic job with the character.

  2. I agree that Anna Gunn is a great actress. I don’t think she gets why I dislike Skylar. I dislike her not because of how she behaves since Walt got sick, but for how she behaved before. What kind of idiot thinks it’s economically sustainable to live on one income when that income is that of a high school teacher? She should have been working all along, and if she had, there would have been a higher probability (although by no means a certainty) that Walt would have never needed to cook meth.

  3. Problem is that the writers basically threw Skyler under the bus in episode 2 of season 1.
    Walt told her that he bought some weed from Jesse, which she took as an invitation to not only crawl up his ass (the shows words) but also to go to a freaking drug dealer and chew him out.
    So she couldn’t handle that her husband smoked a little weed now and then. She wouldn’t give that to a man who worked two very hard jobs, while she hadn’t been working for years, for no discernable reason.

    Ofcourse it was all a lie. But her actions were pretty horrible anyway.
    It’s really hard to come back from something like that. I think she did come back from it, but naturally it took a while.

    Also if people don’t like Skyler, it doesn’t automatically mean that they love Walt. I think most people see by now what a monster he is. You can hate more than one character in one show. :D

  4. I didn’t know about the Skyler haters until this weekend. Anna Gunn’s op-ed in the Times was well written but I doubt it will change many minds.

    Of all the characters people hate, the only one I can understand the animosity towards is Betty Draper, but I think the real problem is she’s one dimensional and that’s the fault of the writers.

    1. I actually like Betty Draper; I might be the only one in the whole world. Or, more to say, I am intrigued by the character. I’d *like* to believe that as sharp as the writers on Mad Men are, her characterization is intentional, and most people just don’t get it. She reminds me very much of Nora in A Doll’s House. I think she has been sheltered, smothered, and infantilized by the men in her life, and that has created emotional immaturity and an unrealistic view of the world. Also, I think is self-loathing, probably because her mother was so domineering, and that makes her overcritical and unforgiving of flaws in her own daughter. You don’t see her behaving in the same manner towards her sons. But, I digress.

      I don’t hate Skyler, and I think the Anna Gunn is amazing! People who are criticizing the character for not working seem to forget, she has a son with cerebral palsy! I always assumed they made the decision as a couple that it was more important for her to be home for him, even if it meant Walt working two jobs. That’s kind of the unfortunate reality of life for parents of kids with disabilities: financial comfort and stability get sacrificed in favor of caring for the child. They didn’t plan for the second baby or for Walt becoming terminally ill. All that aside, have her reactions really been unrealistic for someone whose HUSBAND HAS BECOME A FREAKING METH KINGPIN? Fear. desperation, uncertainty, suspicion at the beginning, all make sense. Busting his nuts for weed, a bit overreactive, but still, he’s terminally ill, she’s worried for him, and she’s not used to irresponsibility and secretiveness on his part. Feeling enraged and betrayed when she finds out the truth about him? Who wouldn’t. Acting out by having an affair? Not her finest moment, but I think it’s clear at this point that she’s not feeling all that emotionally stable. Selling her soul, so to speak, for financial security. Most of us, faced with the choice, probably wouldn’t be strong enough to resist either. Fearing for her children’s lives? Seems sensible. And hating him for it all, especially when confronted with who he’s become, what he’s done? Who wouldn’t?!?! Anna Gunn has embued this character with so much depth. Everyone on Breaking Bad has turned in an amazing, game-changing performance, and deserves accolades for it.

      The sad part is that fans can’t separate a character from an actor. Love or hate the character–a well-played character should elicit strong reactions in fans–but realize that a great actor is who is creating this gut reaction in you, and respect the actor for that. If, for whatever reason, you HATE Skyler White or Betty Draper, then thank Anna Gunn or January Jones for that.

  5. Breaking Bad … certainly a guilty pleasure. But it’s TV – fiction. Great fiction at that. I agree, viewers will always try to relate to and forgive the protagonist.
    As for me, I’m watching the carwash down the street very closely. Yes, very closely, indeed.

  6. Hating the actress is stupid. But Skyler has never been written as anything but self-centered and unlikable from the opening scene of the pilot when she could barely be bothered to giver husband a handy on his birthday. She’s an adulteress and she turns her support for Walt’s enterprise on and off as it suits her personal desires. So lets not pretend she is a good person, feminist hero or mother of the year. She hasn’t killed anyone directly like Walt but she absolutely is written to be hated The only thing near to criticism I will offer about Anna Gunn is that I find it really odd now to find she doesn’t realize what the character she played really is.

  7. Wil, I think it’s great you are commenting on this. When I read her Op-Ed, the first person I thought of was you.

    I hated, hated, hated the character of Wesley Crusher on TNG. (I think it mostly had to do with the writing in the early seasons than anything else). However, I find you to be awesome.

    It is frightening how many people conflate the actor with a character they portray.

    I also hated the character of Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Kai Winn on Deep Space 9, but I find Louise Fletcher to be great actress. The fact that she made me hate those characters so much, just goes to show how good of an actress she is.

    Like Matt above, I was blissfully unaware of the Anna Gunn haters until quite recently. The strange part is that I don’t even get the hatred toward the character of Skylar. If anything, throughout the series I’ve pity for the character.

  8. I think the evolution of Walter as a reprehensible villain was meant to take the viewers by surprise. His early depiction as a hapless high school teacher who got some bad breaks (see what I did there?) in his life was designed, as I see it, to get the viewers on his side, at first, because what dying man wouldn’t go to extreme measures to make sure his family is provided for after his demise? And Sklyar, well, whether with purpose behind it, or by some early uncertanties in fleshing out the character, was meant to be another person in WW’s life who just didn’t support his hopes and dreams. We were supposed to root for Walter, and against anyone who stood in his way. But, wait! The better we got to know him, the more we found out what an arrogant, prideful, vain and angry man he is. His greed, ambition and ruthlessness aren’t results of his illness or of his foray into the illegal drug manufacturing/selling business. THIS IS WHO HE ALWAYS WAS! Having nothing to lose, he was free to revel in being the megalomaniac that probably always dreamed of being. Sklyar is no saint, surely, and she’s not Lady Macbeth, either. But, she has two children to protect and a husband who has completely abandoned any pretense of being a “good guy,” so Sklyar has had to adapt to the situation. In her complicity, willing or not, she is in this mess pretty deep, and stands to lose everything. And, having charge of a big pile of cash, too, isn’t likely to bring out the best in a person. I will admit to being an early Skylar hater, but now I root for her to get out of this mess as best she can, thought it cannot end well for anyone. This is what good writing does, folks, it makes you have to rethink everything and reevaluate character and motive as you go along for the ride. And what a ride it has been!

  9. The Actress does a pretty good job.

    The Character Skyler… well.. she is a bitch… really.. i mean her husband does all the working, then he gets sick and all he wants is to make sure his family is provided for after he dies… something every good husband would like to make sure… so he makes the worst choice of his life with starting the criminal career.. he thinks he is going to die anyway. the way he developes is pretty bad… but skyler is just nagging and bitching around about everything. who would like to be married to such a woman?
    walter is loyal.. skyler feels itchy between heir legs and has an affair with her former boss… how she becomes to be the good person at the show? no way.. never.. ever…

      1. Walt was sympathetic at first. You felt sorry for him, you rooted for him even though what he was doing was criminal. You were with him in his quest to secure his family’s future before he died–in any way necessary–and then get the hell out. Early forays into the dark side of the drug business, you still sympathized; he was protecting himself, Jesse, his family… I think when he really lost my sympathy was when he allowed Jane to die. His first impulse was to save her, but he smothered his conscience in favor of self-interest in a manner that, at that time, was uncharacteristic for Walt. And over the course of the series, as he has become less the bumbling Walt and more the Machiavellian Heisenberg, he has become more and more reprehensible and less and less redeemable. When he killed Mike, he was utterly vile to me at that point. What is most fascinating to me now, as the series wraps up, is watching as a trainwreck unfolds and being unable to root for the protagonist. In fact, having a protagonist that you are growing to hate. That is a rarity in any drama; in fact, I am at a loss to think of another example. (Richard III, maybe?) At any rate, it is a first for me, loving the show, being a slave to the characters and the writing, yet despising the protagonist more and more. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

        1. i read your comment after i wrote mine…

          as long as he had standarts like “no one gets hurt” he still was more a good guy, than a bad guy…

          when i started watching the show, “breaking bad” as name for the show seemed ok.

          now at the end.. i feel like “breaking bad” is the most fitting title i could imagine… brilliant

      2. At first I thought: He was miserable… His son is a good kid, but it has to hurt to see him having difficulties where others donĀ“t. His wife is kind of that annoying type, somehow no fun at all. His work at school seems a waste of talent. The job at the carwash humiliating. He had a chance to avoid this situation back when he was with his former partners, the one was named Heidi or Gretchen. And if this wasnt enough for a good guy with high IQ… He gets cancer, while his wife is pregnant. How does that feel? Knowing you wont see your baby grow up.
        He becomes concerned how his wife is going to provide for the kids and pay their college without him. Until this moment i believe everybody can sympathize with him.
        He is a good man until then. He also is a proud man, which becomes his main problem. His ego.
        He doesnt want help from others, he wouldnt ask Gretchen for money or help.
        Noooo… he wants to do it on his own. With the idea to make his product and sell a little bit of it.
        Thats when his life gets out of hands. He wants to have control and believes he is in control, but he is not. It just gets from bad to worse. He cant tell his wife he started a criminal career… he has to hide it, because he loves her and does not want to dissapoint her or even lose her.
        His ego turns him into a greedy, conscienceless bad guy. He drops his standarts piece by piece time after time… until he is the ultimate bad guy

        The real hero is Hank… he is a racist asshole once in a while, but he is the good guy. (With an annoying wife)

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