Read of the Day: “Freaky Monday: Hated TV Wives Edition”
5:42 pm, August 30th | by Colette McIntyre
It has long been a dream of mine to throw a party where everyone has to come dressed as an unpopular wife from a prestigious drama on cable television and treat each other with respect the entire night. I would dearly love to see just one day on TV where all the fancy, brutal male protagonists have to act like their loathed spouses, where the viewing public took a twentieth of the love they bear for Tami Taylor and spread it around to the rest of the fictional Mrses.
Actress Anna Gunn, who plays Skyler White on Breaking Bad, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times this weekend, has given full expression to this wish of mine:
[A]s 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?
It’s notable that viewers have expressed similar feelings about other complex TV wives — Carmela Soprano of “The Sopranos,” Betty Draper of “Mad Men.” Male characters don’t seem to inspire this kind of public venting and vitriol.
What would it look like, if they did?
The Sopranos: Tony Soprano drives into New York City to bring Meadow a plate of braciole, stops at A.J.’s orthodontist on the way back, and then successfully convinces their housekeeper not to quit just because Carmela called her a “Polack bitch” and threw a phone at her head for asking if she could launder her robe. Afterwards, he drops a ricotta pie at Carmela’s mother’s nursing home. Carmela’s mother hurls invectives at him for not remembering she prefers pineapple in hers. Tony reminds her she is always welcome to come live with them. He then meets with their local priest to pray that Carmela accept Jesus into her heart. When Carmela arrives home at two am, reeking of perfume, claiming to have been at her waste-management facility sorting out a worker dispute, Tony is mildly chilly to her, but gets up to make her a sandwich just the same. Coming back with the sandwich, Tony stares briefly at the closed bedroom door, shrugs his shoulders with resignation, and goes inside.
Mad Men: Don spends the entire morning staring at the wall-mounted clock in the kitchen and smoking cigarettes after both Megan and Betty forget his birthday. Later that day, he goes to the grocery store and shoplifts a carton of eggs. When the stock boy tries to stop him just before the door, he kisses him, then drops the carton and sprints for the car. When picking the kids up from school, instead of ignoring Sally, he criticizes her shoes. Megan spends the entire afternoon eating oysters and comparing French prostitutes with French-Canadian prostitutes with Roger, then brings a package of matches and cocktail olives home from the bar when she realizes in a sudden panic that it’s Don’s birthday just before closing time. Don eats almost half of his birthday cake alone in the bathtub, stubbing out his cigarettes in the chunks he can’t finish.
To read the piece in full, click here.