Complex TVMain MenuIntroductionVideos for IntroductionComplexity in ContextBeginningsVideos for Chapter 2AuthorshipCharactersComprehensionEvaluationSerial MelodramaOrienting ParatextsTransmedia StorytellingEndsVideo GalleryTable of ContentsJason Mittell06e96b1b57c0e09d70492af49d984ee2f68945deNew York University Press
BREAKING BAD comes to its emotional peak in its third to last episode, with Walt berating Skyler with multilayered meanings
12015-03-17T13:53:08-07:00Jason Mittell06e96b1b57c0e09d70492af49d984ee2f68945de13501Few scenes are as harrowing as this phone call from "Ozymandias," as Walt's words both work to save Skyler and express the misogynist rhetoric that some fans latched onto.plain2015-03-17T13:53:08-07:00Critical Commons2013VideoBreaking Bad season 5AMC2015-03-15T22:24:42ZJason Mittell06e96b1b57c0e09d70492af49d984ee2f68945deTable of Contents
12015-03-17T13:54:34-07:00p. 347-348: BREAKING BAD1plain2015-03-17T13:54:34-07:00However, the long arc of Walt’s perspective has inspired a large portion of Breaking Bad’s fans to dislike or even hate Skyler, treating her as the series’s true villain—for one of many instances, a Facebook page called “Fuck Skyler White” has more than 31,000 fans, with posts and comments dripping with violent, misogynistic hatred. For such viewers, their Skyler hate seems unwavering in the face of serial rearticulations, prompting vitriolic comments in which they seem to be rooting for Walt to abuse Skyler or worse and even extending such violent fantasies to the actress Anna Gunn. Breaking Bad’s creator Vince Gilligan has stated his perspective on this issue, calling the Internet’s den of Skyler haters “misogynists, plain and simple,” and suggesting that he sees no other way to justify such antipathy toward a character who is often a voice of reason in the face of Walt’s amoral selfishness. Anna Gunn took defense a step further via the unprecedented step in writing a New York Times editorial decrying the anti-Skyler vitriol and calling out the misogyny expressed via such fan hatred. As Gunn suggests, “Because Skyler didn’t conform to a comfortable ideal of the archetypical female, she had become a kind of Rorschach test for society, a measure of our attitudes toward gender.” The series itself critiques Skyler hate by putting the misogynistic words of these viewers in Walt’s mouth, having him perform them at the character’s peak of evil and hatred in the nuanced phone call from the episode “Ozymandias.” This mirror found its reflection on anti-Skyler Facebook pages, with comments such as, “I climaxed when Heisenberg called Skyler a stupid bitch. I’ve been waiting five seasons for that.” Needless to say, not all fans perceived the phone call as multilayered.