Breaking Bad has many devoted fans who religiously follow the show and claim to love its myriad of colorful, complex characters. But over the last five years, one character has been a polarizing figure among fans. Skyler White, wife of the show’s anti-hero Walter White, has quite a lot of haters online. One one side there are people who call her an “annoying bitch”, while her defenders claim the haters to be dumb misogynists.
Now Anna Gunn, who plays the character, has addressed the issue directly in NYTimes. In a piece titled “I Have a Character Issue“, she writes:
But I finally realized that most people’s hatred of Skyler had little to do with me and a lot to do with their own perception of women and wives. Because Skyler didn’t conform to a comfortable ideal of the archetypal female, she had become a kind of Rorschach test for society, a measure of our attitudes toward gender.
I guess she stumbled upon a few message boards and read some of the nasty comments. Someone should tell her that the internet speaks exclusively in hyperbole, and when someone says “I hate her so much I want to kill her,” they actually mean “she mildly annoys me.”
I have never been irritated by her character because she’s well written and well acted, but I can see why people might find her frustrating. I mean, she’s the one nagging Walter and trying to keep him from going on wild misadventures. She’s trying to deny the audience the reason they’re watching the show. It looks like small packets of mild annoyance have compounded online into a giant fireball of hate. Clearly, the internet is an evil place that takes seemingly normal men and turns them into rage-filled sociopaths. Someone should make a show about that.