'Breaking Bad.' It's arguably one of the greatest series in the history of television. Its actors and crew have received multiple Emmy awards for their work, and the currently airing final season is the highest rated one yet. However, there is one character who has received anything but acclaim from millions of the show's viewers. Well, two if you count Marie, but she's really not in that much of each episode.
Anna Gunn's Skyler White has been the target of internet scorn for the majority of the series run, neck and neck with 'The Walking Dead's Lori on the hierarchy of despised AMC TV characters. Much of that can I think be attributed to her constant opposition of Walt, but one could argue that Skyler's sometimes cruel treatment of her husband is quite justified by his various criminal activities. Whatever the reasoning, Gunn is quite aware of her character's large hatedom, and has taken to the New York Times to express her disbelief and displeasure.
Gunn admits that she can understand a certain level of audience sympathy with the protagonist, but she doesn't at all get the insane levels of vitriol directed toward Skyler. In her own words:
"But I was unprepared for the vitriolic response she inspired. Thousands of people have “liked” the Facebook page “I Hate Skyler White.” Tens of thousands have “liked” a similar Facebook page with a name that cannot be printed here. When people started telling me about the “hate boards” for Skyler on the Web site for AMC, the network that broadcasts the show, I knew it was probably best not to look, but I wanted to understand what was happening."
She continues later in the piece: "As an actress, I realize that viewers are entitled to have whatever feelings they want about the characters they watch. But as a human being, I’m concerned that so many people react to Skyler with such venom. Could it be that they can’t stand a woman who won’t suffer silently or “stand by her man”? That they despise her because she won’t back down or give up? Or because she is, in fact, Walter’s equal?"
The thing Gunn (understandably) finds most worrying about the whole situation is the hate not just for Skyler but for Anna herself: "At some point on the message boards, the character of Skyler seemed to drop out of the conversation, and people transferred their negative feelings directly to me. The already harsh online comments became outright personal attacks. One such post read: “Could somebody tell me where I can find Anna Gunn so I can kill her?” Besides being frightened (and taking steps to ensure my safety), I was also astonished: how had disliking a character spiraled into homicidal rage at the actress playing her?"
What do you folks think? Is Anna Gunn right to be upset about her treatment by the show's fans? Or does Skyler White deserve all the hate she gets?