I started watching Breaking Bad in 2009 (not to brag…OK, a little) before everybody got on board and the show’s style went from a dark comedy to the story of a bad ass American anti-hero and his mega-bitch wife Skyler, played by Anna Gunn .
According to Ms. Guns’ op ed in the NY Times she became the target for vociferous hate because her character has a problem with a husband who lies to her, manipulates, engages in reckless violence, and is, ultimately, responsible for the deaths of dozens of people that he either bombs, runs over, chokes, watches as she chokes to death, as well as a major plane crash, brainwashing, and some child poisoning. GOD WHY ARE WOMEN SUCH NAGS? WHY CAN’T YOU JUST LEAVE US ALONE WITH OUR METH LABS AND OUR OBSESSIVE DERANGED PLANS FOR DRUG WORLD DOMINATION?
I’ve suspected we live in a sociopath state of misogyny ever since I campaigned for Hilary Clinton in 2008. I’m all for reasoned arguments, but the only critique of her qualifications for holding office consisted of: SHE’S A BITCH. WHAT IS SHE WEARING?! CAN SHE JUST SLAP ON SOME LIPSTICK?!
Even well-informed intelligent women (Mom) disliked her. I have yet to understand what makes Hilary or Skyler hateable. I have never found anything other than a) human or b) reasonable about Skyler. If I was married with a disabled son and pregnant with a mid-level accounting job, I might not be able to jet out of town, especially when my evil genius husband has some archaic patriarchal notions about “family,” and might engage in some rape-y violent behavior. He’s the embodiment of the White Patriarch’s fall from power, and as the haters demonstrate, they are not taking it well.
I mean she stays with this guy and ultimately colludes with him. However, I don’t think the writers necessarily LOVED her, the same way they love Walter. As I read in this essay today, most men will love their male characters, women are Mom or that girl that rejected me in high school or the woman I fuck. Oftentimes, women writers will also hate women characters because they ingest the same message from Victoria Secret or, just turn on the TV or open a magazine. Unlike Walt, Skyler can’t be an underdog because, in our culture, taking care of kids is not seen as a challenge for women. That’s what women do. AND THEY BETTER LOVE IT.
We root for people when we see their full humanity, their vulnerability, and their failure. I’m not even a mother, but I saw Skyler’s predicament. She was stuck. She has priorities other than her own self-interest, pleasure, pride and ego. But most assume that house work and parenting is natural for women. To do all this boring shit work IS NOT BAD ASS.
Ultimately, Walter proves that he can kick anyone’s ass at the meth game, especially Latino gang members, a black Chilean homosexual, and the White Supremacist. In the end, the White Man wins and we all move on to the Walking Dead.