“Breaking Bad” star Anna Gunn broke the fourth wall to write an op-ed in Saturday’s New York Times about why she thinks so many people hate her character, Skyler White, with a sometimes vicious passion. Her answer: misogyny.
“My character … has become a flash point for many people’s feelings about strong, nonsubmissive, ill-treated women,” she writes.
There is no doubt that there is a great deal of truth in this assessment. But as a strong, nonsubmissive woman myself, it caught me off guard. That’s because I really don’t like the character of Skyler White, either. Hate is a strong word, but at times as I have watched her sit ashen-faced and angry across from Walt at the dinner table, I have wished that her character would just disappear.
Needless to say, Gunn’s assertion sent me into a navel-gazing tailspin about my feelings. Am I secretly a woman who reviles strong women? Is my negative reaction to Skyler the result of social programming that I’m not even aware of? After sweating these questions for a day or so, I have decided that, no, that’s not the case.
I don’t like Skyler White because she’s no fun as a foil to Walt’s wickedness. Her hatred for Walt has become one-dimensional. I love the writing on “Breaking Bad,” which Gunn rightly points out “made Skyler multilayered and, in her own way, morally compromised.” But I would argue that that's just not the case anymore.