On AMC’s Breaking Bad, Skyler White (Anna Gunn) plays many roles: the wife of Walt, the show’s meth-cooking, empire-seeking chemist; the barrier protecting her children from said chemist; the on-screen anchor for our (hopefully strong) sense of morality, which can seem to drift from us as we identify with her husband’s malignant ambitions.
But if you ask the nearly 8,000 people who have liked the Facebook page “I Hate Skyler White,” or the nearly 30,000 who, as Laura Bennett notes, have liked the “Fuck Skyler White” group, then she may seem to be, more than any of those other things, “a shrieking hypocritical harpy who goes ballistic if people don’t kowtow to her every whim, desire and ever-changing moral structure,” as someone on the former page recently put it. That assessment is, of course, shamefully ignorant—isn’t it actually a description of Walt?—but it is representative of an overwhelming and misogyny-tinged distaste for Skyler among certain fans of the show, which Alyssa Rosenberg wrote about for Slate last summer. Tellingly, Rosenberg’s defense of Skyler elicited the exact comments it spoke out against. “She is actually making my Husband hate the show,” one reader wrote, “and this makes it hard. I remain loyal to Jesse, but I wish Walter would rid himself of his strayed wife, she’s holding him down.”