That’s Not Why People Hate You

Anna Gunn who plays Skyler White in Breaking Bad:

My character, to judge from the popularity of Web sites and Facebook pages devoted to hating her, has become a flash point for many people’s feelings about strong, nonsubmissive, ill-treated women. As the hatred of Skyler blurred into loathing for me as a person, I saw glimpses of an anger that, at first, simply bewildered me.

I’m not buying the idea that people dislike the Skyler character because she’s a “strong, nonsubmissive, ill-treated women.” It might manifest in some hate-blogging out there that way, but I don’t buy that it is the logic behind the hate.

People love Walter White. He’s not only loved, he is ecstatically loved. People were calling 911 in Connecticut because they couldn’t get their fix. Any character that becomes Walter’s antagonist is going to come out being hated and, quite frankly, Skyler is one of Walter’s antagonists. She may have become complicit in his dealings, but only marginally supportive and has always been a force pushing him in a different direction.

I think her role is incredibly important and awesome and I wouldn’t change her character, but people are going to look at her as the “villain” she is. People want Walter to win; they want him to be bad-ass and beat his enemies because they love the idea of their high school chemist teacher (a people’s anti-hero) becoming this monstrosity. At the same time, he also needs a very close, personal relation to push him back from falling permanently into that brink. That’s Skyler’s role.

But people still want to see Walter win and Skyler is a danger to that. Is it because she is a “strong, nonsubmissive, ill-treated woman?” I don’t see how. That’s a large part of her role in the show, but that doesn’t mean the character is HATED because of these properties but instead because she’s an antagonist. She can be a “strong, nonsubmissive, ill-treated woman” while still suppporting Walter as a protagonist , but she isn’t (and people would love her for it, though I find the current story more interesting).


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