I Don’t Like Skyler White, But Probably Not for the Reasons You Think

Read Time: 10 minute(s)

According to a chunk of my Twitter feed, last Sunday night’s episode of Breaking Bad  (“Fifty-One”) would finally make me see the light.  After watching, I’d most certainly side with (or at least feel sorry for) Walter White’s wife, Skyler.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. Let’s get a few things straight before I continue:

  1. I like Breaking Bad.
  2. I’ve recommended Breaking Bad to family members and friends.
  3. These people have recommended Breaking Bad to others in their lives.
  4. Like most viewers out there, I think Breaking Bad is one of the most well-crafted, well-written, and intense shows on television.
  5. I appreciate that Breaking Bad is shot on 35mm film and that it (noticeably) takes great care with its mise-en-scene and cinematography. (That said, I have grown a bit weary of its use of time-lapse and static points-of-view from inanimate-objects: “Hey, you know what would be cool? Let’s put this camera on the end of a broom and wave it around!”)
  6. To no end, I adore the character Gus Fring. Love him. As folks on social media would declare in hashtag form, Giancarlo Esposito deserves #AllTheAwards.
  7. Like so much contemporary (and classical) television and film, Breaking Bad has major problems with gender representation, particularly its female characters (hence, this post). And in case you’ve not noticed, there’s also a whole lotta middle-aged male angst going on here. Clichéd.
  8. Finally and perhaps most significantly, for this post anyway, just because I dislike Skyler White does not mean I (currently) side with or like or approve of or identify with her now- ridiculously arrogant, abusive, murderous, meth-making husband, Walter. Contrary to what social media would have you believe (e.g., the image below is making its rounds), it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation here, people. Viewers may dislike both characters. (For the record, Mr. Pinkman’s always been my man.)

Why Do Viewers Hate Skyler?

In his recent post “Skyler Is Such a Bitch!” and Other Unfair Breaking Bad Observations,” Steven Silver attempts to vindicate Skyler White. Alyssa Rosenberg does the same in “Skyler White and Breaking Bad: Stop Hating TV Wives.”

My dissatisfaction with Sklyer White began with the Season 2 premiere (“Seven Thirty-Seven”).

A quick scroll through Twitter, Breaking Bad message boards, and other social media outlets indicates that Silver and Rosenberg have ample reason for writing such defenses. In short, people hate them some Skyler White, and they — men and women, but mostly lots of men — will vocalize that hostility freely and often.

These declarations about the character range from relatively mild (“Skyler White is the worst“) to creepily violent (“I wanna smash Skyler in the face with a bat over and over and over and overrrrrr“), and from downright evil (“I hate you so much just drown yourself in the pool already“) to horribly misogynistic (“Skyler needs to get fucked by mister white so she can stop being so uptight“).

Additionally, you won’t have to dig too deep to find a solid number of Breaking Bad fans offering their thoughts on the character’s alleged weight-gain and facelift, this, of course, a direct reflection on poor Anna Gunn (who’s a fine actress, btw). Gunn addresses some of these sexist reactions an interview for Rolling Stone. According to Steven Silver, this so-called “Skyler-is-a-bitch” brigade mostly derives from the character’s

  • sleeping with her former boss while separated from Walt, and then telling him about it
  • dropping her disgust with Walt’s choice to become a drug dealer — as well as her plans to divorce him — and abruptly deciding to cooperate with him
  • adopting a hectoring and emasculating tone towards Walt at various times

Here’s the kicker. None of these instances explains my distaste for the character of Skyler White. So if these are the reasons most anti-Skyler viewers cite, I’m very much in the minority.

Let me take the first bullet point above as an example: people despise Skyler for sleeping with Ted. On the contrary, this storyline was one of the few times during the series (thus far) I’ve actually rooted for Skyler White — with gusto, I might add.

When she acted on her feelings for Ted Beneke and subsequently “cheated on” her husband (to be fair, she and Walt were separated), it gave me some hope that the woman had chutzpah, a mind of her own, a rebellious spirit, desire.

Virtually none of these attributes, if I recall correctly, were quite this present in her before. I certainly don’t condone adultery, but inside, I was cheering for the girl to get her some — and more crucially perhaps, to be an active, non-traditional female character rather than a passive, suffering one. So, no, it wasn’t Skyler’s act of infidelity or her later admittance of such to Walt that made me feel this way.

If You Don’t Dislike Skyler for These Reasons, Then Why?

So what is my beef with the character? Well, Meg from Feminist, Unplugged (whose post proper is actually devoted to defending Skyler White) nicely sums up the show’s conventional gender roles:

[Skyler, as Walt Jr.’s and Holly’s mother,] is the one who must be responsible for their well-being. The idea is supported by much more than traditional stereotypes: Walt has, since early season 3, treated the children more like pawns, buying Walter Jr.’s affection with flashy sports cars and cuddling with the baby in order to play the part of a good father for the police (and, at times, the audience). In a way, the White family dynamics are gender roles taken to their extreme: Walt has taken his role as the provider and warped it, so that he believes his job as a meth chef is for his children’s benefit; meanwhile, Skyler keeps the traditional female role of protector, all while knowing that her children’s father is most likely the biggest danger.

But I think my dissatisfaction with the character began with the Season 2 premiere (“Seven Thirty-Seven”). Wearing an avocado mask, Skyler asks Walt, anxious from his run-in with Tuco, if he’d like some chicken. In a matter of seconds, avocado and chicken turn into rape, or as some argue, a near-rape experience (see “Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex“).

This disturbing scene has been referred to as “horrible, violent, ugly sex in the kitchen” (um, that’s not sex) and a sign of Walt’s true powerlessness. Here, I felt for Skyler (as any sane person would, I hope), and I was relieved when she finally yelled, “Stop it!”

But afterward, I begin to question her purpose in the overall narrative and intent within her own storyline(s). I wondered, for example,

  • Why the hell is she staying with this man who smelled her, took her from behind, and forced himself upon her? 
  • Further, why did it take her so long to stop his actions? 
  • Excluding Jesse, why does Skyler have to be the primary character on whom Walt exacts his frustrations, sexual and otherwise?
  • Why must she virtually always remain in a passive position (hard to get more passive than semi- doggie-style against a refrigerator)? 
  • Can any “quality TV” showrunner write a female character people will support(Alyssa Rosenberg also contemplates this last question, kinda.)

In brief, this rapey scene and Skyler’s remaining loyal to her rapey husband (initially at least) did not sit well with me. It still doesn’t.

While we’re at it, yes, I’m aware that several of these questions lie beyond the scope of “Skyler White” and more with the show’s writer/creator and the media in general; but still, it’s her characterization that magnifies these issues and, thus, renders her problematic to me.

No doubt much has happened between this Season 2 premiere and last night’s episode, some of which positions Skyler in an active, unconventional, non-suffering role: she starts a new job, throws her husband a party, gives birth, learns of Walt’s meth-making, leaves her husband (yes, gumption!), sleeps with her boss (yay!), covers up Walt’s activities with a gambling story, pays for Hank’s medical bills, launders money for/with her husband, buys a car wash, invites Walt back into the house, drives to the Four Corners and debates leaving her husband, returns home “to protect this family from the man who protects this family,” feigns being a dumb blonde accountant for Ted, breaks down in front of her sister (Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up!), attempts to drown herself all Ophelia-style in the family pool, allows Walt back into her bed, and verbally wishes for his cancer to return.

But it’s this second-to-last occurrence that, I think, brings my aversion to Skyler White full circle.

Last week’s episode (“Madrigal”) features one of the most disconcerting shots in the entire series (also in the Top Ten Most Disconcerting, the above-mentioned avocado/chicken scene as well as that turtle and poor Victor’s demise-by-box-cutter).

In a nightgown, Skyler is in bed. Walt approaches her and begins to derobe, all clothes. He slides in bed, adjusts his penis, closely spoons his wife, and kisses her on the arms. Although she’s clearly uninterested, Skyler does not recoil. WTF?

This seeming act of “pseudo-rape” is indeed, as one blogger puts it, “one of the most uncomfortable moments of the entire series.” A TV Line writer remarks similarly: “Aaaand thank you, Breaking Bad, for the fade to black that spares us a full-on, against-Skyler’s-will sex scene […] though I’m not sure what’s worse — seeing it or imagining it.”

At this point, it should be clear that I’ve a very low tolerance for representations of rape and/or forced sex (the same goes for portrayals of animal abuse). But what’s more, I’ve little patience for female characters who choose to remain in said abusive relationships without exacting some sort of revenge or authority over their male oppressors (maybe this is coming to a head in Breaking Bad?).

Finally, as mentioned above, I take issue with female characters who function as victims — or prey, as Anna Gunn puts it when describing the set-up for the “I’m a coward” scene depicted in the animated gif below: “It ended up as a dance, with Bryan [Cranston] pursuing me all around the room. It was really like I was trapped animal that was Bryan’s prey.” Yeah, I don’t dig this situation.

Skyler White As Femme Fatale?

In closing, a reviewer from Forbes (Forbes has a TV critic?!) writes about the scene that closes out the episode “Fifty-One”: “Skyler is chain-smoking in the White home, the portrait of a femme fatale straight out of a film noir picture.”

No, no, no. Film fatales (at least in classical Hollywood) have power. They have strategies. They are resourceful. They are overpoweringly desirable. They threaten to castrate and devour their male victims. Many have murder on their minds. Little of this holds true for me with regard to Skyler White at this point.

That said, Todd VanDerWerff maintains Skyler’s smoking in this scene is one way to hasten the return of Walter’s lung cancer. Interesting. Maybe it is. (It’s not a good plan for her health though.) Nonetheless, if this is true and Skyler is thinking/acting in this manner, then perhaps one day I’ll sing a different tune.

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PhD. Film, Shakespeare, TV. Child of pop culture. Advocate of social media. Gene Kelly junkie. Co-editor of Locating Shakespeare in the Twenty-First Century. DePaul University.
  • http://twitter.com/crsbecker/status/233052625145315329/ @crsbecker

    RT @KelliMarshall: I don’t like Skyler White, but probably not for the reasons you think: http://t.co/8jqDUCPV #BreakingBad

  • http://twitter.com/weinmanj/status/233059363533750273/ @weinmanj

    RT @jmittell: Today in Skyler White Point-Counterpoint: I write for Pro side: http://t.co/PjbeKSHq ; @KelliMarshall for the Con: http://t.co/wqGaz09r

  • DB Cooper

    Honestly, this makes no sense. “I hate her because she’s a victim.”

    Are you sure that’s really what you meant to say?

    • Amanda

      I agree with you. I think that hating Skyler for being raped and manipulated is really gross. She is pretty strong, and she has to maintain a story for the rest of the world while protecting her children. Let’s not forget that Walt is a criminal mastermind and sociopath who doesn’t even get why she’s with him at all. I think she’s doing the right thing, I don’t think she’s a defenseless victim, and even when she is, I certainly don’t hate her for it.

  • derftg

    I liked your post and agree on many points, however leaving your psycho killer rapist husband is far easier said than done. History is strewn with women who were murdered by their abusive husbands. Declaring that these women should have simply upped and left suggests that you don’t really understand the terror of being in that kind of situation and is kind of an insult to those who have died or are currently in an abusive relationship, like it’s somehow their fault that they don’t have the guts to leave. People can be broken very easily. Too easily. No amount of reading Dworkin or depicting women on TV as tough ball-busters will change that, unfortunately.

    • http://www.kellimarshall.net/ Kelli

      Thanks for reading and commenting, derftg and DB Cooper.

      Derftg, your first statement is correct, of course: “leaving your psycho killer rapist husband is far easier said than done.” My point though is this: why make the character/situation that way to begin with, reiterating this (tragic and overused) representation? (I mean, I know the answer to the question… but still, it’s frustrating.)

      DB Cooper, yes, that is one of the reasons I dislike the character and the situation in which she finds herself; see my above reply to Derftg. Thanks.

      • Amanda

        In the season two semi-rape scene she thinks he’s just being playful and kinky at first. Why should she leave her husband of however many years just because of one (the FIRST in their marriage) bad moment that she reprimands him for and stops. You can say it was a warning sign, and perhaps this is true, but splitting up a family after one bad morning seems a bit extreme to me. Furthermore, I don’t think that it’s Skyler’s fault the situation escalated to where it is in this season.

  • http://twitter.com/princesscowboy/status/233191112330850304/ Amanda Ann Klein (@princesscowboy)

    This is fun: 3 takes on Skyler White by @noelrk http://t.co/4Y8WyJUE, @KelliMarshall http://t.co/ncV0qCyi & @jmittell http://t.co/id0NcdQt

  • http://twitter.com/_Stankyleg/status/233198581576769536/ @_Stankyleg

    RT @princesscowboy: This is fun: 3 takes on Skyler White by @noelrk http://t.co/4Y8WyJUE, @KelliMarshall http://t.co/ncV0qCyi & @jmittell http://t.co/id0NcdQt

  • http://about.me/joelrwilliams1 Joel Williams

    Never watched one ep. of this show…but really want to. You may have seen this Oatmeal commentary on BB characters:


    • http://www.kellimarshall.net/ Kelli

      Ha! Yes, I did see that. Now get off your computer, and start watching the show! 😉

  • http://twitter.com/Ricosalamar/status/233223299507822592/ @Ricosalamar

    Otro buen post de @KelliMarshall sobre el personaje de Skyler en #BreakingBad y la controversia que suscita http://t.co/EV8GtGFq

  • http://justtv.wordpress.com Jason Mittell

    As I said on Twitter, this is a great piece, nicely articulating your problems with the character from a feminist perspective. It raises one of the key questions of dealing with the ethics & politics of serial fiction: how do we judge a work-in-progress, not knowing where it’s going? We have to make presumptions and leaps about intentionality, arcs, and relationships. So where you read Skyler’s acceptance of Walt’s aggressiveness as a frustrating character flaw, I see it as a key part in BB’s portrayal of the corrupt core of masculinity – Skyler’s sense of being trapped by Walt is an essential byproduct of Walt’s faux machismo. So I see the motivation for having her behave that way as consistent with what the show is saying, but it will be hard to know for sure until it’s done saying it.

    But the misogynist Skyler-hate highlights how representations can be read in dangerous ways, as people ignore the critical edge and celebrate Heisenberg as a bad-ass. It kind-of reminds me of how people took Chappelle’s Show as a license to use racial epithets.

  • http://justtv.wordpress.com Jason Mittell

    Oh, one more thing I forgot to add. You might want to listen to the podcast for “Madrigal” – at the end, they discuss how the original ending was written & shot before they edited it down for time & tone. Basically, Walt gets undressed & comes into bed in a “frisky” way, despite Skyler’s passive detachment. But before he can make his move, she “reaches over and gives him a preemptive hand-job to prevent them from having sex.” The writers & producers talk about how disturbing the scene was, even more than how the final cut ended up, although they mostly cut it for time constraints. Gilligan highlights how in the original, Skyler was “proactive” in resisting/deflecting Walt’s advances, but notes how both versions “play a little rapey.”

    Based on that description, do you think the hand-job version would be more satisfying for your Skyler attitude?

    • http://kellimarshall.net/ Kelli Marshall

      Thanks for the nice words, Jason. Um, I’m thinking neither of those outcomes works for me.

  • Jeff

    Rapy Scene? Nonsense. Walter has no reason to believe his wife – one we presume he’s had lots of sex with, would deny him sex at that moment – nor should we conclude that he would force himself on her if she simply said no – and we know she knows how to say no as no is one of her favorite words to Walt.

    • http://www.facebook.com/carson.daves.1 carsondiago

      Finally, a post with common sense.

  • http://twitter.com/TheInSneider/status/233372031373160448/ @TheInSneider

    RT @ReelTalker: I Don’t Like Skyler White, But Probably Not for the Reasons You Think – http://t.co/OwmSBNu8 via @Shareaholic <<wow

  • E

    This critique comes off as very victim-blamey. I suppose I would understand if you thought her being a victim made her a poorly-developed character, but is that what you’re saying?

    I think it’s important to write female characters who are trapped and impeded by patriarchy (which I think is what’s happening with Skyler) as well as writing successful female characters. Just because a character feels trapped doesn’t make them an unrealistic or even weak character. Skyler has had to endure at lot, and that takes a lot of strength.

    Art also doesn’t just exist to provide role models, but to analyze and criticize the darker parts of reality. And just because something happens on screen doesn’t mean the writers are endorsing it. LIke with the rape scene – just because Skyler doesn’t leave her rapist husband doesn’t mean the show is saying rape within marriages is okay. It was a realistic situation in which a woman might feel hesitant to react too strongly, because those are real pressures women face – not knowing what “qualifies” as violation, fearing that they aren’t being “understanding” and “supportive,” doubting themselves and their boundaries, fearing that they’re overreacting. Downplaying the powers that those pressures have is dangerous, as is placing the blame on the person who can’t just break free from them.

    When Skyler is saying she’s a coward in S5E4, she’s comparing herself to Walt. She doesn’t have Walt’s “magic” for strategy, because what that mostly boils down to is an ability to morally detach and use people, doing things like forcing your supposed friends to kill for you and poisoning children. She could have gone down that path, she started to with Ted, but she’s retained her humanity so she can’t deal with that sort of thing. She’s held back at this point because she does really fear for her family (unlike Walt, who mostly just pretends to) and because she’s afraid of doing more things that will weigh on her conscious, again unlike Walt. She doesn’t have any moves left that don’t risk either of those things, thus she is trapped. That doesn’t make her an especially weak person, it just makes her captor especially ruthless and dangerous.

    • http://kellimarshall.net/ Kelli Marshall

      Hi, E. I’m not sure I understand your point here as this is what the media has been doing since its inception: “I think it’s important to write female characters who are trapped and impeded by patriarchy…” Don’t you think it’s time for a change? Also, you might be interested in this Think Progress piece on Skyler as your thoughts seem to align with the author’s. Thanks for reading/commenting.

      • Nayeli

        @Kelli Marshall I agree with you that I feel females stuck within the patriarchy need to change (there is too much of that), but frankly I also think that Skylar White’s character isn’t misogynistic it’s ABOUT misogyny if that makes sense? I’ve always felt that the writers were telling the audience that what Walt was doing to her, especially in those dub-con scenes, was wrong. A very vocal part of society apparently doesn’t get it, which is unfortunate.

        Also, I definitely agree with E, this post comes off very victim-blaming. You basically said that you don’t like Skylar White because she allows herself to be mistreated by Walt in sexual situations. This implies that you believe that the victim has complete control in this situation and can walk away whenever she wants. There is a reason women in damaging relationships don’t leave or come back; there is a psychology to it and disliking a character for being the victim in a relationship is really troubling. If anything, this should be a reason to dislike Walt even more and empathize for Skylar.

        HOWEVER, if I misunderstood and what you mean to say is: you don’t like the conception of Skylar White rather than THE ACTUAL CHARACTER, I retract my statements. I’m working under the impression that you say you don’t like Skylar White as a person, but if you mean you don’t like her function in the story that’s something different. In which case, yeah, ignore my second paragraph.

  • http://twitter.com/BornILLER/status/233822274606751746/ @BornILLER

    I Don’t Like Skyler White, But Probably Not for the Reasons You Think – http://t.co/TVMtqmNe

  • http://twitter.com/njjackson89/status/244899204164616192/ @njjackson89

    http://t.co/WccX7Gxe Feminist angle on Skyler White’s ‘victimization’. I think they’ve jumped the gun; it’s building to something, surely?

  • xyzzy

    Academic Games Leagues of America, Propaganda, Section D, #10.

  • Linnéa

    You talk about traditional male/female dynamics and patriarchy, that Skyler White should be depicted as a “modern” woman rather than a “traditional” wife. There’s nothing modern about what you are wanting from Skyler, nor is there anything traditional about the way she acts. It’s human. I’m going to guess that you are quite young and have not yet been in the type of long term relationship that is the dynamic between Walter and Skyler, for this reason you completely misunderstand this as some sort of decision on the writers part to portray her as what YOU view as a traditional woman. Traditional roles has little to do with it, it’s about love. Initially at least.

    Skyler has been with Walter for many years and they have children, of course she loves him deeply. If you’ve been with someone that long and they’ve displayed a certain character over more than a decade then you naturally assume that they’re going to display the same character going forward. Also, if you’re together with someone for that long you develop a certain loyalty, especially if it’s coupled with love. This is the starting point of Walter and Skylers dynamic. But as Walter starts to change this dynamic begins to change, however by the time Skyler starts to realize what’s going on Walter has already changed more than she is aware of, plus also that when a person begins to change so radically there’s a delay until you can really wrap your head around that change. So Walter is a step before Skyler. When she begins to realize the scope of what’s happening she kicks Walter out – but remember also that to Skyler there is a “New Walt” and an “Old Walt”, she loves the Old Walt but the New Walt still is Walt. This makes her very conflicted. Sometimes when this happens to people, that there’s almost literally the Old and New version of a person, it can become very difficult for them to process, especially if they viewed the Old as a positive part of their life whereas the New causes them great pain. The conflict in their mind can almost drive them crazy because it is a lot to take in, and it’s hard to take in. With this in mind, you can see how Skylers judgment is impaired.

    That’s why I think Skyler is such a great character, even though I think she’s an idiot for not kicking Walter out. Because her emotions are very human and you can see why she feels the way she does and why she acts the way she does – although she’s not acting as the most wise of women.

    The writer of Skyler is excellent and really understands (sadly, this is the type of thing you’re better off not understanding) what might go through a woman’s mind. A real woman’s mind. Not simply a character that’s either conventional or modern.

    • http://www.kellimarshall.net/about/ Kelli Marshall

      Hi, Linnéa — first, thanks for stopping by and reading.

      Second, I don’t know that 37 (almost 38) is “quite young,” but I suppose age is relative. 😉 Also, if it makes any difference, I’ve been married to the same husband for 14 years.

      Third, I don’t think I ever said Skyler should be portrayed as a “modern woman.” I did, however, wish to see “an active, non-traditional female character rather than a passive, suffering one” and, moreover, that “I’ve little patience for female characters who choose to remain in abusive relationships without exacting some sort of revenge or authority over their male oppressors.” I’m not sure those wishes translate to “modern,” do they?

      Fourth, I think we can agree on one thing (you point out above): “I think she’s an idiot for not kicking Walter out.” :)

      Thanks again for reading/commenting.

      • Linnéa

        First, I want to congratulate you on being lucky in life. That’s a good long while without that type of disturbance either in your own life or in someones life who is close to you.

        I wouldn’t describe Skyler as in any way passive in her suffering, she is in fact actively participating in it. This show tries to be realistic. Women who actually try to fight back in these types of situations, as you’re suggesting, usually end up much worse than the cooperative ones. I’d say your idea (non-traditional=modern?) of exacting revenge and whatnot is even less workable than the path Skyler has chosen. “Let them eat cake” comes to mind.

        Skyler should leave though, but as politely and quietly as possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Hakushinkan alontako

    I hate her because her actions make no sense.

    It’s like the actress goes out of her way to portray what the character feels, and the director isn’t sharp enough to tone it down. Or the other way around, I guess.

    For example the breakdown – didn’t it feel just a little bit forced?
    I’m not buying this whole “oh im in survival mode now, im so scared, this man is scary” crap. I’m not buying it that she’s so cornered. So when she broke down, when she’s standing around silent half the time, with this blank expression, I’m just pissed off. I want to give her a slap to snap her out of this ridiculous behavior.

    One second she’s worried for him, then she’s pissed at him, then she kicks him out, then she accepts him back, then she cheats on him, then she likes him again, then she hates him, then she cooperates with him, then she’s scared FOR him, then she’s scared OF him, bla bla bla… make up your mind woman, jeez.

    Skyler White is a shitty character. Either it’s Anna Gunn’s fault, or the writers’ fault, or the director’s fault, or all of them. Skyler’s a crappy character.

    • http://www.kellimarshall.net/about/ Kelli Marshall

      Ah, no need to explain it to me. 😉 (Thanks for reading/commenting.)

  • alex

    I think, she does not think at least for a while the walts situation, I mean the man did his best, NOT for his own pleassure, he did it for his damn family, shes very unfair, I would rather some narco killed her lol (Im kidding :p)

  • Ross

    This was a stupid post. Not only was Kelli’s argument ridiculous, of hating a victim b/c she is a victim, but her cheer on of a cheater and a manipulator only makes her morality look biased. I feel sorry for Walt Jr., b/c he has 2 psycho parents with no understanding of what a functional relationship is. Walt is selfish and disturbed, while Skylar is passive-aggressive, as opposed to being more transparent with her feelings. Terrible marriage.

  • heather noble

    I would just say, about the weight gain, although I find Skyler and incredibly unsupportive and bitchy wife, her weight gain was welcome. now she looks like the plausible wife of a high school chemist. When is Hollywood gonna get real. Anybody seen Bryan Cranston’s wife, she is not all that different than Skyler. Real women are real women and the less we see of the monotype, the better. Other than that, I’m a little sick of Skyler and probably would divorce her if I were Walt. cut the cancer MAN SOME SLACK.

  • L

    The act of infidelity in Skyler’s part doesn’t empower her at all. She just presented herself as a slut. She needed someone to rely on and she whoop-dee-doo there’s this man who had a lingering feeling on me long ago, let’s tempt him and go back to Walt to show it to him. I mean, Wow. That act of infidelity would empower her if she stayed with him but the show didn’t do that. And you rooting for her then struck me as quite weird. Other than that, I burning hatred for Skyler as hot as the center of the earth.

  • Mo

    Skylers a waste. Walt is a Genius!

  • Liv

    Exactly how easy do you think it is to get out of an abusive relationship? Strong women – some of them the strongest I’ve met – have been in abusive relationships. The fact of the matter is that the situation often takes you by surprise. And because abusers like to entrap, because they’re essentially control freaks, they make sure it’s very difficult for you to decide to leave, either by outright threatening/terrorizing you, or by making sure there’s too much at stake for you to take the decision lightly (children, a home, etc., as is the situation with the Skyler White character, who always has those things foremost in her mind; a detail I wish you’d considered a bit more).

    Your reaction to the passive rape scene demeans the experience of those who are or have been in abusive relationships. It also points to some naïveté towards the structure of abusive relationships. On those points alone, I would argue that, like the people you criticize, you hate Skyler White for the wrong reasons.

    You’re asking for the “Sleeping with the Enemy” or “Enough” mystique, and it’s just not how women manage to get out of these relationships. Strong also means thoughtful, and a lot of things go through a woman’s mind when she’s thinking about leaving her abuser. A lot.

    Exit strategies don’t always seem feasible. When you try to leave and your abuser literally drags you back by the ankles, it’s a very difficult thing to devise. It often seems impossible or not even worth trying.

    I’ve read Alyssa Rosenberg’s piece on the matter and wholeheartedly agree with her. Strong women – with their heads firmly on their shoulders – have a difficult time leaving abusive relationships. There’s no shame in writing that paradoxical reality.

    Sure, it’s 2012, and women have a lot more resources available to them if they find themselves in this situation, not to mention a vocabulary that my grandmother might have envied in the 1950s when this shit was happening to her. But the structure of abuse hasn’t changed, and neither has its impact.

    • http://www.kellimarshall.net/about/ Kelli Marshall

      Hello, Liv — thank you for sharing. I believe I’ve responded to most of your concerns in comments above. Thanks again.

      • Liv

        You kind of do, but then I keep going back to this quote: “I’ve little patience for female characters who choose to remain in abusive relationships without exacting some sort of revenge or authority over their male oppressors.” And I can’t help but wonder how you’d react to that person in real life. Would you have little patience for them if they remained in abusive relationships? And if not, why does that patience run out when it comes to fiction? Why can’t fiction represent a veritable, warts-and-all struggle?

        And why is revenge or authority the only recourse? Even if we’re talking about a fictional character who can subvert traditional representations, I don’t understand why she has to resort to the behaviour of her abuser. Is that really so progressive, or is the shoe just on the other foot? A woman exacting revenge on her abuser is a wonderful fantasy, but a woman who actually manages to escape an abusive relationship is usually more than happy to leave without getting the last word. Surviving is winning.

        Besides, even when Skyler chooses to get out of the relationship, what does Walt do? Move back in.

        That’s what an abuser does. How she reacts to that doesn’t have to be heroic, and all told, I’d rather it be relatable.

        Skyler is still quite cunning and keeps her family safe where Walt can’t. There’s a complex character there, and it’s worthy of consideration.

  • Bambonietta

    This topic has many layers…like nachos. Lets break it down,Bad-Stlye:

    1.It is always easier to blame someone/thing else than to accept responsibility.

    That being said, we (the viewers) blame Skylar and Walt for eachothers shortcomings, when infact they are both responsible for their perfect storm

    2. The series begins with a distinct family/character dynamic, which everyone deviates from, and subsequent reactions.

    So, as we are watching their lives fall apart, we try to blame and pinpont the point of no return. This is a mistake, because life isn’t at all predictable or follows a straight line.
    Their lives, like chemistry, is the study of CHANGE. It is not our job to judge if this change is good, bad, modern, post-feminist or neo-classic.

    I truly dig your article. I just wanted to say that it truly doesn’t matter why you like or dislike Skylar. If you love the show, then you must love all of it’s characters, and everything they do or dont do. They are all part of the reasons why you should dislike Skylar. Skylar is part of the reason why you love the show. Just like Gus’ grandmammy’s fish stew. Seperatley, the characters dont mean anything in particular, easy to compartmentalise, the frustrated tramp, the frustrated genius, the frustrated crack-head. But combine them, and they create the hot mess we love to eat. And we eat it up, don’t we…

    *btw, female characters in TV is a whole other mess of a topic.

    • http://www.kellimarshall.net/about/ Kelli Marshall

      Not sure I agree with this statement of yours — “If you love the show, then you must love all of it’s [sic] characters, and everything they do or dont [sic] do (see my post on Dickie Bennett, for instance — but I appreciate your comments, and thanks for reading! :)

      • Bambonietta

        Hey Kelli, thanks for the reply. I just read the article you suggested. I’m being cautious here, but just to be clear, what i said about loving a show and it’s characters, i was talking about the character Skylar, not the actress that portrays her. Two totally different entities. The article that you suggested talks about actors who, in your opinion, are overacting. The vibe im getting from you is that you dislike the way Anna Gunn is portraying Skylar.
        If the characters do “the right thing”, then there wouldn’t be a show to watch. If Sky leaves Walt after the avacado fiasco, then there would be no show. The list of “if only’s” and “they should’ves” goes on and on,..so that’s why I say, if you love the show, you gotta love all of its flawed characters.

  • McEnnen

    I don’t agree with you at all. I think she should be grateful and supportive of what her husband is doing. Instead she’s acting like a bitch and goes off sleeping with another man. Seperated or not, there’s no excuse. Walt has remained loyal to his family while she’s doing the opposite, trying to tear it apart. I despised the character Skyler even before she slept with her boss. If the rest of the show wasn’t so awesome I’d stop watching it because of her character alone. And don’t try to put a feminist perspective on her actions. Feminism is bullshit. Just another -ism that the world don’t need. It’s evil at it’s finest form, the kind of evil that looks good on paper but ends up excusing all kinds of horrible actions.

  • Lars

    I actually don’t find her cowardice a problem. If your husband is a murdering meth kingpin, won’t you be scared to rebel, fearing that he might kill you as well since he’s a cold-blooded monster? I used to think women who stuck in abusive relationships should just leave already. But it’s much easier said than done when they are stripped of their self-esteem and cut off from their friends and emotionally- supportive family members. Her contradiction and complexity make sense to me. She wants to leave but she can’t. So she needs to bring him down from the inside. However, she’s also being poisoned by him morally. It sure makes her frustrating, versus the single-mindedness of Walter White.

  • Chris Maltera

    I don’t understand why it isn’t crystal clear why many people (mostly men) don’t like Skylar. She is extremely bossy, disrespectful (to the point of having sex with another man) and blind to Walt’s world while he never mistreated her once. The only thing he did is lie, but any reasonable person could understand why he did that. He has done bad things to other people but for Skylar and his family he has shown nothing but immense love.

    At the same time Skylar is so self-absorbed she cannot even try to see things from his perspective. No, instead she kicks him out of his own house to live in a lonely apartment while she gets to live in his house with his kids and has sex with someone else. The fact he has to break in in his own house is ridiculous to start with but no, Skylar is shocked when he does that. How could he be so disrespectful to ME?!?!?

    Knowing all this, isn’t it extremely easy to understand why people don’t like her?

  • Julie

    For me, it was when he told her he has cancer, and she wants to know how he feels. And it’s all, “I need to hear your feelings” and staging interventions. Jesus. I would sooner die of cancer than live with someone who needs to know where I am every second of the day or can’t infer for herself some of the possible feelings of a person who is dying of cancer.

  • Tiffany

    I think it’s unrealistic to assume all raped and domestically abused women have it in them to physically remove themselves from such a situation. In fact that’s one of the few aspects of Skyler’s character I can empathise with.
    However likewise, I cannot stand her. She seems to bat between consciously aiding Walt (the money laundering, helping him to think up a fake back story in the gambling, protecting him from Ted’s greed) to casting him as some hideous monster who’s independently wrecked everything. He is, obviously, an issue, but she’s not so sweet either. I think someone willing to commit themselves to crime in one instance but not in another is a massive hypocrite.
    That’s my main issue, really – she may be a victim, and her faults may not be anywhere near as bad as her husbands, but she doesn’t take responsibility for anything she does. At least Walt’s cast as a lunatic who quite believably doesn’t see that he’s causing any problems. Skyler’s cast as someone who reflects her own problems onto someone else and denies she ever had anything to do with them. Even half way through the first series, when really Walt hadn’t done anything wrong, she acts superior and authoritarian and never, ever steps out of her own little world. I’m certain there was a conscious effort from the storyboard team to paint her as an unlikable character, at that point.

  • John

    Though everyone has their own point of view, but you can just look at a persons name and see what view they would hold. Middle aged men would usually be agianst skyler while young females who are somewhat influenced by the renewed wave of feminism and ‘girl power’ would flock to support skylers behaviour. Frankly I find it disgusting that some women will support disloyalty and outright bullshit. If something goes bad you dont go around screwing other people and destroying your own home.

  • katansi

    You picked the absolute shittiest reason to hate a character.


    Pay attention to #3 and #5. In case you don’t want to click…

    “A woman is more likely to be killed by a male partner (or former partner) than any other person.”

    “Of the total domestic violence homicides, about 75% of the victims were killed as they attempted to leave the relationship or after the relationship had ended.”

    So basically you hate a character for doing something that actually is most likely to help her stay alive and would prefer abused women to “stay strong” and very probably get killed trying to escape. Even for fictional character hate, the way you frame this point of contention for you about her character comes off as shitty and judgy about abuse victims. Maybe you have personal experience, maybe you don’t, maybe if you do you got lucky, but going along with the abuser is a) an act of self-preservation b) pretty normal in the Stockholm syndrome way that a human psyche can behave in and c) the least valid reason to hate this character (and thus judge real women in her situation, eg, in a dangerous, out-of-control, abusive relationship).

    That was not feminist or even woman friendly.

  • Erin

    I agree with most of the points in this article… Personally, though, I like Skyler, and I’d say I don’t have a problem with her refusal to leave/stand up to Walt; I do think she’s doing the best she can under awful circumstances.
    The (brilliantly written and acted!) scene in “Fifty-One”, I thought, illustrated quite effectively that she *can’t* out-maneuver him or force him to stop being a danger to his family. The only way to make him stop at this point would be to kill him, and unlike Walt, that’s not a line she’s willing to cross.
    Personally I think she’s exhibiting a different kind of courage by staying and pretending their relationship is okay for the sake of Walt Jr. and Holly. Because seriously, if she openly opposed him or went to the police, it would trigger a really horrific fallout for basically their entire family.
    Some of the other comments on this page are quite frankly really disturbing. Not to mention ironic, since the arguments against her are basically *exactly* the ones you were refuting in your article.

    • http://www.kellimarshall.net/about/ Kelli Marshall

      “Some of the other comments on this page are quite frankly really disturbing. Not to mention ironic, since the arguments against her are basically *exactly* the ones you were refuting in your article.”

      — Agreed. And thank you for reminding others of this. 😉 (Also, thanks for reading, Erin.)

    • Kelly

      I agree with everything you say. Even the “I’m a coward” moment has an unlikely courage to it. Skyler is not a superhero who can magically save herself or her children. Skyler has admitted she is scared of Walt, she has admitted to having no good plan to beat him and yet Skyler is still fighting him the only way she can. I think there’s something very brave about continuing to fight when you know you’re outmatched.

  • Kelly

    I’m re-submitting this comment as the HTML tag ate my quotation.

    It’s interesting to read an anti-Skyler post that is at least has a different reasoning behind it.

    “I’ve little patience for female characters who choose to remain in said abusive relationships.”

    Yet you say you have always been a fan of Jesse Pinkman, a male character who chose to remain in an abusive relationship with Walter White for most of the show. Why is it you can sympathize with a male character who stays in an abusive relationship but not a female in a similar position? If anything Skyler was shown to be far more defiant than Jesse against Walt’s abusive treatment in S5. In the infamous dinner scene, Skyler is stone faced, refusing to be bullied by Walt while Jesse is nervously trying to appease their tormentor.

    I’ll also add that it’s much harder for Skyler to leave than it is for Jesse, though Skyler has at least shown a desire for escape. But if Skyler runs away with baby Holly it’ll mean leaving her sister and her son forever and how could she do that? If Skyler goes to the police it’ll either mean jail, risking her family’s safety, life in witness protection or all of the above. Jesse doesn’t have the same family responsibilities as Skyler. Jesse could have run away with a bag of money long before now. Even now that Jesse is out of the meth game, he isn’t free. He is a broken man living in a lonely house expecting Heisenberg to come and murder him at any moment. I’d say Jesse has become trapped in his victimization and suffering even more than Skyler has over the seasons.

    For the record, Jesse and Skyler are my two favourite characters and I’d love to eventually see an alliance between them to combat Walt’s abuse. I don’t blame either of them for being victims. I hope to see them both fighting back but I also have sympathy for them if they feel scared and helpless against Heisenberg.

    • http://www.kellimarshall.net/about/ Kelli Marshall

      Hi, Kelly — while I don’t agree with it all, I like Jesse because of some of the things cited in this post: “Jesse Pinkman: A Lesson in Likeability.” :) Thanks for reading!

    • Erin

      Good point about Jesse, that he’s staying in an abusive relationship just as much as Skyler is. Their situations do have a lot of parallels.
      There is the factor, though, that Jesse doesn’t know half the horrible things that Walt has done to him. He’s still blissfully ignorant…so to speak…about the true depth of Walt’s depravity. Whereas Skyler isn’t remotely fooled anymore by his “family-man” facade. She sees him for the monster he’s become and she is terrified of it.
      If Jesse knew about Jane, or Brock, or Mike, he would have turned tail ages ago. I mean, at the end of season 4 he almost shoots Walt in the head over the missing ricin cigarette; he can’t bring himself to pull the trigger, though, because Walt won’t own up, so he couldn’t know for sure. (And WOW! That scene. Talk about riveting drama…)

      Also – I too SOOOO want Jesse and Skyler to somehow ally against Walt. (Or at least have a few more scenes together; they have a really interesting dynamic.)
      I even have a theory for how an alliance could come about…
      [Warning: from here on out I’m just spouting conjecture and wishful thinking. Don’t mind me and my overactive brain…]
      Okay, so remember the expensive watch Jesse got for Walt as a birthday gift (that scene BROKE my HEART, btw), and later Walt essentially flaunts it to Skyler and says “the man who gave me this wanted to kill me a few weeks ago”. If Jesse ever let it slip to Skyler (don’t know how, but they’ve gotta talk at *some* point, right?) that he gave Walt the watch, she’d undoubtedly want to know why he wanted to kill Walt and why he changed his mind, in which case Jesse would have to explain the situation with the ricin cigarette, and how the poison ended up being Lily of the Valley. In which case Skyler may recall that, oh yeah, didn’t they have a potted Lily of the Valley plant in their back yard…? After which she would discover it missing, which could only mean Walt got rid of it since it was evidence, and one clue would lead to another, and Jesse would undeniably and irrevocably turn against Walt after learning the horrible truth. Possibly enough to want to exact violent revenge, and certainly leading to tragedy for all concerned.
      Additionally, Jesse could conceivably end up learning about Mike’s death from Todd (grrr…Todd…), and that blow would be almost as brutal.
      The only way I can see him finding out about Jane is if Walter tells him himself. I could also see that happening during an intense final confrontation.
      So many possibilities…I’m so excited for the final 8 episodes!

      • Kelly

        Even without knowing the worst of Walt’s betrayals and manipulations, Jesse’s still been trapped in an abusive relationship. Walt has been verbally cruel, treated Jesse like a servant and has often bullied him into dangerous or traumatizing situations that Jesse didn’t want to go through with (killing Gale, working with Tuco, confronting the Spooges, etc). And the whole partnership began with Walt blackmailing him. Jesse definitely seems more victimized than Skyler to me. The fact that Jesse has been successfully blinded and brainwashed by Walt makes him an even more tragic figure than Skyler who sees what Walt has become, even though she doesn’t know the half of his crimes. Skyler instinctively senses she needs to get her kids away from Walt and that’s without knowing that Walt poisoned a five year old and dissolved a murdered 14 year old in acid.

        I really like your theory on how Jesse might find out the truth about the Brock poisoning. I don’t think Skyler has it in her to kill Walt herself but I don’t think she’d stand in the way if Jesse wanted to kill him. I don’t think Jesse has it in him to kill Walt either though, but I’d love them to become allies against Walt in the final act. I can’t wait for the last 8 either!

  • NickyDalenz

    I realize that this is dated material however, re-watching the series on Netflix my hatred for Skyler was reignited and I had to get my two cents in.

    Skyler White is a nosy morally dubious overtly aggressive bitch. I’ve hated her since she ran a reverse trace to find Jesse’s phone number and web page. She “had” no reason to suspect her husband and no right to personally investigate Walters activities.

    A key marital cornerstone is trust and from the very beginning she displayed none. She holds Walter to a high set of moral standards that she is not capable of maintaining, but is always there to chastise him for anything she deems to be questionable behavior, however will not even hear any sort of admonishment when she proverbially “pulls a boner”.

    When she decided to take up smoking while pregnant and after her devoted husband has been diagnosed with lung cancer I found myself having violent thoughts towards the character.. at one point I prayed that Gus Fring would dispatch her in a manner most gruesome.

    She’s just as guilty as Walter albeit his actions more criminal, hers are morally reprehensible. She is an out and out, raggedy mouthy butt hook.

    I love Anna Gunn, it takes a phenomenal actor/actress to take a fictional character and bring them to life in a way that can evoke such emotions of hatred and contempt. I vaguely remember her performance on Deadwood, I never thought she could be as convincing as she is in BrBa, they casted the role perfectly as someone I love to hate. As for Skyler White, I can only hope that someone gets sick of her uppity ass and finishes her off in a manner that makes Gustavo’s Death seem tame in comparison.

  • marrett goran

    I hate skyler the character and Anna Gunn soooo much. i hate her stupid smile. i hate the way her face looks. she has such a stupid look on her face all the time.

  • Kenny

    Why does no one mention that she slept with a guy who was committing massive fraud AND SHE KNEW ABOUT IT! She asked him what he’s do if the girls found out and he says, “Tell them I was doing it for them.” It’s the exact same thing Walt is doing! Except he’s making money and providing for her. Ted would’ve got caught by the IRS. Why is it okay for Ted but not Walt. This is the biggest reason for me to dislike her. Carmella Soprano knew about Tony’s mob, disliked it, but realized it gave her a great life. Skyler is just a bitch for the sake of being a bitch.

  • lolstopreading

    I’m sorry but I stopped reading after you said your man was mr. pinkman, the biggest screw up on tv

    • skylarisacunt

      omg someone hit it right on the nail(or w/e) kenny above, I almost stopped watching the show after she slept with ted, that like angers me seriously irl, b/c to think a woman would be so low,

      he has life threatening cancer, low income job as a genius, screwed over by colleagues, PUTS HIS LIFE ON THE LINE to create a future for his family, THEN SHE FUCKS ANOTHER GUY whos doing the same thing… I wouldve slit her throat over the salad bowl

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  • Dvious

    What a load of crap!

    So, you can’t tolerate a little rough play, and Skylar can. So what?!

    Apparently, you are the dictator of personal relationships and, for this one act alone, you dictate that she should’ve left Walt. Not for the suitcases of illicit cash, the meth cooking, Walt’s unexplained facial cuts and bumps. No, just for a little hard play.

    I won’t get all misogynist on you. I’ll just say that your lingering dislike for that one scene tells us far more about you, than it does about Skylar.

    In closing, McEnnen, it takes all sorts but, Jesus! Let it go! She’s a character on a tv show, not a hate figure. What’s to despise in her, you big closet!?

    And before you flame a reply, let me sum up Skylar White. She didn’t like her man doing drugs. She didn’t like her man selling drugs. She tried to kick him out, he came back. She tried to divorce him, he doesn’t like that option. She tries to keep her family safe, and he endangers them.

    Walt White has the gnarly behaviour – Skylar’s just stuck with him.

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  • Jeff Marker

    All fair points. I don’t disagree, I just view those flaws in characterization as a different type of mistake. I’m so focused on the generally brilliant writing that I view everything in narratological terms. So to me, Skyler’s disappointing/less than plausible/alienating decisions are some of the few instances of forced story development. No show is perfectly written, not even this one, which I count among the best cable series to date. The writers need Skyler to stay with Walt, and the reasons they devise to keep her there occasionally contradict who I think her character really is. Making her passive has helped them get from one significant beat to another on a few occasions.

    And there you have it: the privileged masculine reading of the flaws in the characterization of Skyler White.

    The other reason I think I view all of this in such detached terms is when I allow myself to view Breaking Bad on a personal level, it’s almost impossible to hang with it. The character identification process is fraught for me, since I am most like Walt (and intellectually, I’m a cognitivist and traded the notion of identification for Murray Smith’s structures of sympathy years ago). As a husband and father, Walt lost me a long time ago. If you find it difficult to like Skyler, imagine trying to reconcile Walt with any sane conception of real world manhood.

    • http://www.kellimarshall.net/about/ Kelli Marshall

      “Making her passive has helped them get from one significant beat to another on a few occasions.” Just a few? 😉

  • belle

    Wow that’s not rough play at all, he almost raped her. But I also think it’s realistic that she forgives him and that she lets him have sex with her without recoiling. It happens a lot in real life. She is self righteous about the weed which is annoying, I agree. And Jesse is the man, I love him too. He loves kids and did everything to defend them. Also anyone who says Walt got involved in drugs for his family must not remember him getting offered a nice paying job with great insurance by Gretchen. He sold drugs to save his own pride and ego. That’s like saying oh you became a prostitute because you weren’t going to clean toilets. Where’s the pride in that? Walt endangered everyone’s life, including jesses by forcing him to go into other drug territories while he comfortably led his family life. He endangers his family’s life. I don’t hate him or Skylar but giving him a pass for everything is flat out ridiculous!

  • belle

    by the way my response was also responding to other comments. I loved your post

    • http://kellimarshall.net Kelli Marshall

      Thanks! I appreciate your reading (and commenting on) it. :)

  • urstupid

    This hatred thing has nothing to do with gender. You stupid anti sexists actuallt makes some stupid people sexists at all.

    If it was Walt the family protector and Skyler the cancer patient meth cook, would it be different?
    About rape thing, I agree, that’s digusting scene and would rarely happen to males so it’s hard to imagine the opposite but for the other aspects?

    I hate Skyler for just being stupid, just like why you hate skyler, but it has nothing to do with the gender thing.
    I would hate if Walt was a all-time housekeeper (there’s actually tons of husbanda doing that so don’t tell me that it’a not possible.)
    I would hate if it was w
    Walt who have complaints about his criminal cancer patient wife Skyler if he was doing the same, like, not going to police but still thinking about children being safe and be proud of own family while there’s actually two criminal in the house just because he’s conceiling the criminal.
    And He being invoved with a book keeping scam, which is actually not any better than meth cooking, and after that just sending all the money to conceil it too.
    And finally, worried about his children so much that takes a risk of sending them to DEA agent’s home all the time. I mean, is it any diffetent to send them to hank’s house while hank himself get attacked and almost killed?

    Yeah, people hate Skyler because the person’s too stupid and it’s actually worse than a evil one because it’s the reason evil can dominate and rule.
    It doesn’t mattet if it’s she or he.

    If you want example, check out weeds. It’s she the cook and everybody loves her because she’s wise.

  • Ricardo

    Walter White is the MAN we all wish we were!!

    • h

      kelli, walt and skyler have been married for 16 years. their recent sex life has taken some new (consentual) turns. And most importantly, walt stopped when she told him to stop.
      don’t dislike skyler for staying after this “rapey” behavior. come on.

  • cosec00

    Well I guess I am in the super super minority. I disliked Skyler from the first episode with the demeaning handjob scene with Walt on his birthday. She behaves exactly like the prostitute in the scene with Steve Buscemi in Fargo. That scene says everything one needs to know about Skyler and her relationship with Walt. And the undertone in that scene is the reason for everything you see there after…for both for Walt and Skyler. She’s a nasty self absorbed human being and she runs the house based on a paternalistic notion of what it means to be a kept woman. And Walt, now facing death, spends his time rebelling against his sense of lost manhood as a result of being entangled in their shared farce. They both tell themselves great stories as to why they do what they do, but the truth is its all about them from beginning to end. A truth, Skyler, to her credit, reminds Walt of at the end.

  • Kar

    Well, this might be too late but clearly, Walter manipulates everyone to get this facade of a “good” person but in the end, what he is doing he’s doing it for himself, neither Skyler or Walter are better in this situation, both of them are equally contributing to let’s put it “Rain Of Caca” that they get.

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  • SamIam

    It may not be worth much, and is a bit late, but:

    1. Skylar is a MAJOR CUNT–purely because she has proven to be a selfish person, and as unreal as the mores, I believe, she is meant to portray.

    2. No disrespect, but the authors “unique” but uninformed opinions, come off as arbitrary because of ignorance. I won’t state all of what the author is ignorant to, but the primary one would be the “Drug Game” specifically the motivating factors of why citizens become a part of it; mind you, not the reasons “Johnny Law” wants you to believe. But the real social and psychological motivations. Initially Walter, strictly, did what he had to do to make ends meet. If he was capable of doing it another way, he probably would have, but then we wouldn’t have a fantastic show to watch.

    Also, what greatly diminished this article, was the authors stand behind Jessie Pinkman, the greatest Fuck up of TV history, as someone I am loosely quoting said before me. The whole reason Walter couldn’t deal cleanly with Gus and failed his drug trade, was because of Jessie’s irrational behavior. Jessie was an unstable and confused young man who wanted to be hugged by his dad (PUSSY). A little white boy who wanted to toy with an industry that wasn’t for kids. He should have stuck to shooting up high schools. As a disclaimer I don’t believe Walter is sinless, I only defend Walters initial actions, but he became vein and stupid along the way. His decision making, like not letting Jessie die, fucked things up, one can’t afford to be a half ass crook. Gus & Mike, the real G’s, had to pay for what was the mistake of green individuals; in the real drug game, this probably would never happen, as the death of individuals like Jessie is almost immediate. Walter would have been alright, if he could let jessie go. But I guess Jessie made him feel too much like a God, or dad, or whatever.

    In conclusion if we are just speaking about Skyler as a “wife”, in the initial circumstance, she didn’t behave like one. I wouldn’t want to assume everyone holds the same definition of marriage as I, but I would think most sane folk would agree that the White’s marriage was revealed to be a great farce through and through.

  • Elyse

    I realize this is an old article and maybe (hopefully) your opinions have changed.

    I’d like to start off by saying I completely understand where you’re coming from. It’s frustrating to see women portrayed as weak in the media. However, I don’t see Skyler that way. I see her as confused and helpless, but not weak. Walter legitimately trapped her in the relationship that they had worked 15+ years on (I can’t remember how long they were together before Walter Jr.). In those first 15 or so years of their relationship, Walter was a high school teacher who had been screwed over by his previous colleagues (the Schwartz’s). We can guess that he was a normal father and they led normal lives and they were just getting by with their income. Suddenly her husband changes, but somewhat slowly. She knows he is lying to her, but she assumes things like “he’s cheating” or “he’s smoking marijuana.” He has cancer, so she excuses his behavior. I mean, come on, they’ve been together for nearly 2 decades, she wants to help him go through whatever he’s going through. “‘Til death do us part.” She wants to make their marriage work. When she finally realizes he’s too far gone and she needs to get out, she tries and tries while also keeping in mind the well-being of her children. Walt emotionally abuses her by manipulating her and finding ways to trap her in the relationship. Any time she tries to get out, he threatens her in one way or another.

    Over time, Walt’s double life becomes more dangerous and it results in a near-rape situation. What I can’t seem to get past is when you say “why did it take her so long to stop his actions?” This is straight-up victim blaming. You express feminist ideals, yet you have the audacity to question why the victim of near-rape didn’t say “stop” sooner? She has never experienced this type of abuse before. At least not by the man she has loved for so long and the father of her children. She’s in shock. She doesn’t understand how he has become this way and she’s unsure if this is all really happening. But despite Skyler’s reasons for not saying “stop” right away, she is a VICTIM of EMOTIONAL and now PHYSICAL abuse. Blaming her is the wrong thing to do. What if the writers decided that they were going to make her stop Walter right away? What does that tell victims out in the real world? It tells them that if they aren’t “strong enough” to get out right away, they shouldn’t even bother. They’re worthless. They’re hated by society for staying in that abusive relationship when they felt that they had nowhere to turn. At least Skyler’s character is telling victims that it’s okay to be scared and confused. They are not alone.

    When you say “Can any ‘quality TV’ showrunner write a female character people will support?” it makes me realize that it is not the TV showrunners who are to blame (at least, not Breaking Bad), it is society. Vince Gilligan put his heart into making Skyler in the right and Walt in the wrong, but the viewers seem to think the opposite. I feel sorry for Vince Gilligan because, although I think he brilliantly portrayed what he wanted to portray, people just misunderstood. It’s not the viewers’ fault. They’ve been conditioned to view victims as less than favorable. There are other shows out there, however, in which the female characters are always physically weak or weak-minded and the writers don’t seem to care for them as much as their white male counterparts (See: The Walking Dead, but that’s a rant for another day). I firmly believe that Breaking Bad is not one of those shows.

  • Jay

    TL,DR. Who the fuck has time to write this stuff?

    • Jay

      I know a good derm. for that thing on Skyler’s arm.