Why Are the Women on Breaking Bad So Unlikable?
4:15 pm, July 4th | by Grace Rasmus
The premiere of Breaking Bad‘s final season is quickly approaching (August 11th!) and I can’t wait to see what’s next. I’m excited for more of Hank and Saul and their zingy one-liners. I’m excited to see more of the newly lovable Jesse and I hope we see more of Badger in the sixth season for some much-needed comic relief. I’m still furious with Walt over what he did to my favorite character Mike, but I guess I’m excited to see more of him too.
I’m definitely not excited to see more of Skyler. Or Marie. Or Lydia from Madrigal.
The men on Breaking Bad are murderers, addicts, crooks. They’re cocky and greedy and totally corrupt. The women, on the other hand, are a bit annoying and uptight. It goes without saying that the women’s offenses are minor compared to that of their male counterparts, and yet I (and probably most Breaking Bad fans) still like the men much more than the women.
Vince Gilligan, the creator of the show, told Vulture that anyone who shares my opinion is a “misogynist, plain and simple.”
We’ve been at events and had all our actors up onstage, and people ask Anna Gunn [the actress who plays Skyler], “Why is your character such a bitch?” And with the risk of painting with too broad a brush, I think the people who have these issues with the wives being too bitchy on Breaking Bad are misogynists, plain and simple. I like Skyler a little less now that she’s succumbed to Walt’s machinations, but in the early days she was the voice of morality on the show. She was the one telling him, “You can’t cook crystal meth.” … People are griping about Skyler White being too much of a killjoy to her meth-cooking, murdering husband? She’s telling him not to be a murderer and a guy who cooks drugs for kids. How could you have a problem with that?
I think Gilligan totally missed the mark here.
Whenever a character, male or female, interferes with the plans of another character we like better, we will hate them. We hated Ted when he wouldn’t take Skyler’s check. We hated Todd when he shot the boy on the bike. We managed to move on because these guys are minor characters. We hate Walt time and time again — when he lets Jane die, when he poisons Brock, when he kills Mike — but he’s the main character and still has enough redeemable qualities that we can (mostly) forgive and forget.
Gilligan has done a fantastic job of creating a twisted world in which we’re all on the side of the anti-est of anti-heroes: Walt, Jesse, etc. So while the women on the show might technically be the voices of “morality,” they are direct obstacles to the terrible characters we’ve been rooting for all along.
Skyler won’t let their kids live at home because she’s scared of Walt. Marie is nothing but supportive of her husband but she’s a bit overbearing and won’t leave him and his minerals alone in peace. Lydia wouldn’t cooperate with Walt over the list of names without negotiating a better deal for herself first. They get in the way, so we hate them. Gilligan can’t just turn the whole thing around on us, the viewers, and call us sexists for falling right into the anti-hero trap that he’s so carefully set up.