Why Do You Hate This? Skyler White
A character must be absolutely terrible if they’re the most hated character on a show where meth is being made, destroying lives is overlooked (along with murdering innocent people), and everyone manipulates everyone else. Skyler White falls into the “Most Hated Character on a Show” category, but for absolutely no reason other than “She doesn’t like the murdering, manipulating, and meth cooking husband!” She’s not even sided with or understood, she’s completely hated.
Granted, Breaking Bad doesn’t have many characters that abide the law and are morally sound (Holly is probably the only character who hasn’t done anything wrong yet, but she’s just an infant), so for Skyler to get more hate than anyone who is legitimately killing other people and not caring much about it is just flabbergasting. It’s understandable that the audience just wants to side with Walter White, her husband, because he is the main character after all and that’s just what audiences are used to. Nobody rooted for Darth Vader against Luke Skywalker and nobody rooted for Voldemort against Harry Potter, and that’s what makes Breaking Bad so different today. It goes against that formulaic storytelling.
Now the show certainly isn’t the first to have an anti-hero as a main character, and Skyler isn’t the first wife to get unfathomable hate for going against their actually-horrible-husbands. Carmela Soprano was hated exponentially for disagreeing with her mob boss husband Tony Soprano, and that’s the closest comparison one can make for Skyler vs. Walter. Walter has actually killed people, he’s poisoned an innocent child, he’s made bombs to go off in a nursing home, he’s ordered his partner Jesse to kill an innocent man, he illegally makes meth that destroys thousands of lives, creates an abusive relationship with Skyler, and he even blames himself for two planes colliding mid-air. Yet his wife Skyler is hated because of what? She gave him veggie bacon on his 50th birthday and doesn’t like being lied to about Walter’s illegal activity?
“That’s not all she’s done,” said the hateful fans “She cheated on Walter! What a BITCH.” Well, no, she didn’t cheat on him. They were separated at the time so that argument is invalid. But if, for some reason, the audience doesn’t agree with that fact then how about agreeing on disliking Walter for manipulating Jesse, the most loved character on the show?
For an audience that hates Skyler so much and loves Jesse so much, it doesn’t make sense considering that Walter has put Jesse through so much Hell and poor Jesse doesn’t even see it. Whenever he gets close to viewing the real Walter White, he’s lied to again. With that in mind, wouldn’t the Jesse-lovers enjoy Skyler’s standing up against her husband because of the shit he’s done to Jesse? Wouldn’t that actually make some sense to side with someone who has a point?
Skyler White is the audience surrogate, quite honestly. She asks questions the audience is asking and is the voice of logic. All she’s doing is trying to protect her family from the danger (pun-intended) that Walter has put them in. She can’t go to the police or talk to anyone about her situation. She’s trapped.
This article could have gone into a sexism talk, or about how the audience is watching Breaking Bad for the crime show, not the family show, but Breaking Bad speaks for itself so the facts are all laid out. There’s nothing that Skyler is doing that is unwarranted and not understandable. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with liking Walter as a character, but one most keep in mind that he’s a sociopath and is not coming back. Since season three, the situation has changed drastically and so has Walter. Skyler doesn’t recognize the man she married anymore, and it’s only going to get worse from here on out.
JustTV wrote a very detailed, very well written article on Skyler’s Story overall. I would recommend a read.