Trivia: Why Do People Hate Skyler White?

Do not worry, dear reader. I will still be reviewing a film or TV series twice a week, but alongside that I have decided to introduce Trivia. Every so often I’ll be answering questions relating to your favourite shows or flicks, giving my opinion and doing a lot of research. Maybe it will be more in depth character analysis, or reviewing incredible plot twists, or unknown facts from your favourite films, or something completely different. I hope you enjoy the question today, which is…

Why do people hate Skyler White?

If you are one of those people, you’re not alone. Skyler White is one of the most despised characters in the history of television. Anna Gunn, who played Skyler, said it was “very tough” on her and affected her mental health. But why? Her character seemed like she was stuck between a rock and a hard place, right? There are many reasons, but lets just focus on a few:

1) She’s not crucial to the main plot

Why do we watch Breaking Bad? Because we want to watch Walt’s rise from ill chemistry teacher to drug kingpin. We wanted to see his adventures with Jesse and Gus and the tangible thrill of death or complete chaos. You remember that moment when Walter is laughing hysterically in the crawl space. The family is collapsing. They could all die.

That is why we watch Breaking Bad. It sends shivers down my spine. Skyler isn’t involved in this main plot. It feels like she’s just getting in the way of all the fun and games. She is the one who takes the money in the scene above. Her, Walter Jr and Ted Beneke feel like they aren’t required, aren’t necessary and just, in the end, annoying because of it.

2) She’s an antagonist

The writing and character development of Walter White is one or probably the best in the world. It’s kudos to Vince Gilligan and co. that they created a character, who, despite all his flaws, we want to see win, no matter what. So anyone who gets in his way – whether that be Gus, Jane or even Gale – must be disposable and unlikeable. And at the end of the day, Skyler is one of those people. Their marriage isn’t in a particularly good place. In fact, it’s in a very, very bad one. So her involvement in hindering Walt is a definite reason why she is disliked.

3) She’s not a very good character

This one is a little more debatable. But in my personal opinion, she’s pretty boring and dull. What defining attribute makes her interesting? What quirk makes me want to come back for more? Jesse is vulnerable, Saul is sly, Mike is trustworthy and Hank is… well, he’s just Hank. Skyler has nothing of her own going on. She has her affair, but other than that… her being feels pointless. It’s like she was only written in because Walt needs a catalyst to go into the methamphetamine business, but after that it wasn’t thought through. Breaking Bad had a very male cast, but the minimal female characters were often superb – Jane was deep, relatable and unstable, Lydia was lively, snobbish and memorable, and even Marie had her own thing going as a kleptomaniac. And fans of Better Call Saul love Kim Wexler, who is played superbly by Rhea Seehorn. So why has Skyler been left behind?

4) She’s hypocritical

She was morally opposed to Walt cooking meth, but then helps him commit fraud and launder money? It feels like she lacks firm principles. When she finds out Walt is a criminal, she has three choices. Going to her brother-in-law, going to the police, or accept it and let Walt try to provide for the family. But, somehow, she does none of them. She doesn’t go to the police, but she doesn’t accept. Unlike any other sane human, she tries to get revenge on him through unlikeable acts – she has an affair with Ted, who she also knows is a criminal, and doesn’t let Walt see their child Holly. Walter also has choices when he finds out he is going to die: number one is to slowly waste away in two years, leaving his family broke. Or, he could cook meth and make sure his family had good lives after he was gone, and at the start it was meant to be a victimless crime. Of course, we find out later that he may have other motives, but she treats him with disgust despite his good intentions. While Walt is being selfless, she is being selfish.

5) She’s a woman

This is probably one of the biggest ones, and quite honestly, it’s sad. Some of her character’s (extreme) hate is rooted down to misogyny and sexism. People feel it’s her fault Walt is in the situation he is in from the start – working two jobs while she has none, destroying his career with Grey Matters, and when he gets lung cancer, Skyler is the only character who smokes in the family. She conforms to the stereotype of a biting, harsh, uncompromising woman who ropes in a man and ruins his life. While Vince Gilligan was probably trying to create a different character, she slowly morphed into one of the most abhorred in modern history. There’s always something quite likeable about a villain. But with Skyler slipping between foil and confidante, she was certainly hard to like, although a lot of that could be down to subconscious (or conscious) sexism.

I hope you enjoyed this trivia, and if you have any questions like this you want me to answer, I dutifully will. Have a great day, and please, follow and like if you want more content like this!

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