Breaking Boob Punch

Disclaimer: I know that this topic will be a trigger for a lot of folks. In a serious way too, not like that time I said I wanted to punch that female writer in the boob and it turned out she was in a wheelchair and it ended up all over Bleeding Cool. (I totally stand by what I said, wheelchair or no. Equality! Boob punches for everyone!)

With the recent end of AMC’s Breaking Bad, I thought I’d address something that’s been really bothering me, which is the hatred directed toward Anna Gunn’s character of Skyler White. I first noticed it when I watched the show with a few (male) friends. During a commercial break, they lamented how much of a “bitch” she was, how she was “the worst,” a “cunt,” etc.

At the time, I assumed they felt this way because they were a season ahead of me, and there was something I was missing that would reveal itself as I caught up with the show. After an episode or two I realized they believed the “cunty” behavior was already present, and I just didn’t see it. I was surprised to find that they were not alone in this opinion. There are numerous social media sites that serve as “hate-boards” where opinions like: “Skyler is a retard bitch” are both relatively mild and plentiful. The animosity rose to such a ridiculous level that Anna Gunn wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times. In it Gunn writes: “I enjoy taking on complex, difficult characters and have always striven to capture the truth of those people, whether or not it’s popular. Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, wanted Skyler to be a woman with a backbone of steel who would stand up to whatever came her way, who wouldn’t just collapse in the corner or wring her hands in despair. He and the show’s writers made Skyler multilayered and, in her own way, morally compromised. But at the end of the day, she hasn’t been judged by the same set of standards as Walter.” 

I really want to understand these naysayers’ opinions. However, anytime I’ve asked anyone, they can’t really give me a solid answer except to say something in the vein that she was a henpecking harpy who hassled Walter and emasculated him in public, and that Vince Gilligan (the show’s writer) wrote her that way on purpose. Well. For me, the beauty of the show was how relatable the characters were, regardless of their long list of poor decisions. And finally, here’s an excerpt from an interview with Gilligan that was posted on Uproxx: “…with the risk of painting with too broad a brush, I think the people who have these issues with the wives being too bitchy on Breaking Bad are misogynists, plain and simple. She’s got a tough job being married to this asshole… People are griping about Skyler White being too much of a killjoy to her meth-cooking, murdering husband? She’s telling him not to be a murderer and a guy who cooks drugs for kids. How could you have a problem with that?” 

Touché Mr. Gilligan, touché.

Zooey Mae has been working as a writer monkey for Synthesis Weekly since 2007. Her favorite things include (but are not limited to), Jeffrey Brown, bubble wrap, Craig Thompson, pillow forts, receiving handwritten letters, and whiskey. She spends her free time stockpiling supplies for the impending robot Apocalypse and avoiding eye contact with strangers.