Skyler White (And The Polarizing Opinions About Her)

October 7, 2013

Skyler White in Breaking BadSo I’ve talked on here about how I don’t feel there are enough women on Breaking Bad. And how the women we do have aren’t interesting/varied/strong enough.

“But Skyler! What about Skyler?!” some of you must be saying.

And I don’t even know the answer to that. I just really don’t.

If you google Skyler White, you’ll find plenty of articles about her. Her, us, how we feel about her, how we should feel about her, what the way we feel about her means… “If we don’t love and support her, we’re against women!” “If we don’t despise her, we blindly support women,” and on an on.

I don’t think that as women (or men) we either have to love or hate her. And I’m not positive it’s that black and white.

At first I thought I hated her. But then I sort of started to feel for her.

Let’s start with why I was pretty sure I hated her. *spoilers, of course*

It’s kind of hard to pinpoint it, I think… I will tell you this. It is NOT because I was so in love with Walt that I was angry at anyone who was against him. I was SO over Walt pretty quickly. I adored Jesse. I totally loved Hank. But we’ll get into all that in another blog post.

As I was reading through many articles about Skyler, the one that made the most sense (and I’m so sorry to the author that I didn’t bookmark and can’t find the link) was the one that said she’s unlikable because she’s so all over the place.

I get it that in season probably 3 and beyond, her life was getting so crazy that any normal person could easily be all over the place – not sure if they’re scared, excited, in for it all, going to run away, etc.

But it was those earlier seasons when I hated her. And when I was reading about how her character had no growth patter than made sense, that totally struck a chord.

I was reading a heavily female-slanted post that was saying the male characters were well fleshed-out and Skyler was there to sort of just serve whatever purpose was necessary for Walt in any given scene.

So, if that meant she needed to be mean to set him off, or loving because he’s down, or whatever she needed to be – she’d be it to him.

I’m not completely sure that I agree with that. It’s hard because I don’t want to paint the Breaking Bad writers as a group who knows nothing about women. After all, Moira Walley-Beckett is a woman and was on the staff (and wrote some really great episodes, mind you).

Not to mention, I don’t have an Emmy. So who am i to judge?

It’s hard to be so hard on the Breaking Bad writers, but I do understand the sentiment, ’cause I did kind of feel like she was a little all over the place in season 1.

I kind of wanted her to be a little more ready to hear him out once she realized he was doing drugs – not because I was dying for her to show compassion, but because as a curious human being, I cannot fathom a time in which I’d learn someone I’d been with for what, 17ish years – started making/selling drugs and I wouldn’t want to know what the heck was going on.

Now, perhaps I’m too curious for my own good. Maybe that’s a dumb first reaction. And in her defense, Walt was lying like crazy. How could she know he’d tell the truth once she was onto the whole drug thing?

Now I’m getting wrapped up in details, when the real point is, personally I don’t think she was as compelling as many of the male characters. Perhaps that’s a bias in me, and not the show’s fault…

Or perhaps Jesse, Walt, Gus, and others were written better. Or maybe they were portrayed better. Possibly they were just edited better. I don’t know! I can’t put my finger on it if it’s my own perception problem or a problem somewhere along the show. But I to me, the one woman who actually could’ve been our interesting fleshed-out woman with interesting arcs was not necessarily that. (Although, admittedly, I think she got much more interesting as the show went on. And every show and character needs room to grow.)

I feel bad being so judge-y about her, ’cause it was a great show. I especially feel bad about saying that now because I’m doing the image search for this blog and every image is people hating her…

What did you think about Skyler?

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?