Over the course of Breaking Bad, perhaps no character was more unjustly vilified than Walter White’s beleaguered wife, Skyler. Walter (Bryan Cranston) led a double life as a meth empire boss and a family man. However, it was often his wife Skyler White, played by Anna Gunn, who was viewed as the villain in the story by fans.
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan recently elaborated on his feelings towards the fan hate towards Skyler. The TV writer and producer believes the character was undeservedly despised in part due to sexism. “Back when the show first aired, Skyler was roundly disliked,” Gilligan told The New Yorker. “I think that always troubled Anna Gunn. And I can tell you it always troubled me, because Skyler, the character, did nothing to deserve that. And Anna certainly did nothing to deserve that. She played the part beautifully.”
For Gilligan, it’s troubling that Skyler was reviled more than actual villains on the series.“I realize in hindsight that the show was rigged, in the sense that the storytelling was solely through Walt’s eyes, even in scenes he wasn’t present for. Even Gus [Giancarlo Esposito], his archenemy, didn’t suffer the animosity Skyler received. It’s a weird thing. I’m still thinking about it all these years later.” Indeed, Esposito became a fan favorite and spun the success into other high-profile roles in franchises like Star Wars.
Breaking Bad‘s creator believes it’s time for a reevaluation of the show
However, the Breaking Bad universe is officially over for now. Spinoff Better Call Saul ended its epic run last week. Gilligan feels like it’s the perfect time for fans to reevaluate their point of view about Walter White. “After a certain number of years, the spell wears off,” Gilligan explained. “Like, wait a minute, why was this guy so great?”
Gilligan points out many of the flaws of the beloved Breaking Bad protagonist. “He was really sanctimonious, and he was really full of himself. He had an ego the size of California,” Gilligan pointed out. “And he always saw himself as a victim. He was constantly griping about how the world shortchanged him, how his brilliance was never given its due. When you take all of that into consideration, you wind up saying, ‘Why was I rooting for this guy?’”
It might be a bit longer until fans take a more critical look at Walter White, though. Just last month, bronze statues of White along with his partner Jesse Pinkman were erected in Albuquerque. The showrunner attempted to put the surreal experience in context.“In all seriousness, no doubt some folks are going to say, ‘Wow, just what our city needed.’ And I get that,” Vince Gilligan said to the AP. “I see two of the finest actors America has ever produced. I see them, in character, as two larger-than-life tragic figures, cautionary tales.”