It's bound to come up in any discussion between Breaking Bad fans: Skyler White, sympathetic antihero's wife, making the best out of an impossible situation, or cold, unforgiving bitch? Most heavily lean towards the latter, and the I Hate Skyler campaign has taken on a life of its own, which is probably why Anna Gunn wrote about it, the character's polarizing complexity, and fan backlash spilling into hate towards her personally in an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times.

It's very easy to hate on Skyler. In a situation where a lesser show would paint the science teacher turned drug kingpin's wife as a victim, Skyler is a character with agency who routinely wrestles with Walt for control in a marital battle of the wills, and as the character whose known the truth about him for the longest, she comes off as something of an antagonist, which Gunn notes here. She reacts to Walt's lies and power plays with countermoves like sleeping with her boss, smoking while pregnant, or silently fleeing for parts unknown to shake him up. At one point, she barred him from the house and from even seeing their children.

But, as evident in season four, she's almost as necessary a consigliere for Walt as Saul Goodman. Walter may be a chemical mastermind, but before Skyler, he had no planned plausible cover story to explain his newfound wealth or any feasible ways of laundering it. This only gave the character's critics more ammo, citing her decision to backpedal on divorcing Walt and dive into the money side of Heisenberg Operations as disgustingly hypocritical.

Yea, the character has had some very annoying moments, as have a lot of beleaguered wives in the ever popular antihero television genre. But we should be praising the Skyler Whites, Betty Drapers, and Carmela Sopranos for being as layered as their roguishly endearing, yet asshole husbands. These are shows about flawed human beings, and that extends to the women as well, as it should.

Read Anna Gunn's full take on the issue here.

[via NYT]