Vince Gilligan has opened up about the crime series nearly 10 years on, saying that the hatred aimed at Anna Gunn's character "troubled" both him and the actor.
The AMC series is one that frequently tops "best of" TV series lists over the past 20 years. However, even though it was hugely popular, 'Breaking Bad' had its flaws, and no we're not just talking about that 'Fly' episode. We're talking about the main character, Walter White, being portrayed as the "hero" of the tale, while his wife, Skyler, is one of the "villains".
Now that the prequel series 'Better Call Saul' has wrapped up its run on Netflix and come full circle with the introduction of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, the series creator chatted with The New Yorker about the reaction to the female lead of 'Breaking Bad', Skyler White (played by Anna Gunn).
The character, who butted heads with Walter far more frequently after she found out about his meth-making scheme, was on the receiving end of much-undeserved hatred from both her on-screen husband (who assaulted her, threatened her and pretty much lied to her at any moment he could) and from viewers of the show (who said she was a "nasty woman" among other unfortunate adjectives). But Skyler is a strong-willed character, unafraid to speak her mind - and a worthy adversary for Walt as he rises in power in the later seasons.
Gilligan, however, said that this hatred from fans "troubled" both him and Anna Gunn. He told the publication: "Back when the show first aired, Skyler was roundly disliked. I think that always troubled Anna Gunn. And I can tell you it always troubled me, because Skyler, the character, did nothing to deserve that. And Anna certainly did nothing to deserve that. She played the part beautifully."
Gilligan continued: "I realize in hindsight that the show was rigged, in the sense that the storytelling was solely through Walt’s eyes, even in scenes he wasn’t present for. Even Gus [Giancarlo Esposito], his archenemy, didn’t suffer the animosity Skyler received. It’s a weird thing. I’m still thinking about it all these years later."
However, if fans decide to rewatch 'Breaking Bad' nearly 10 years on, they might just see Skyler and Walt from a fresh perspective and one that doesn't side so easily with the main character.
Gilligan continues: "After a certain number of years, the spell wears off. Like, 'Wait a minute, why was this guy so great?' He was really sanctimonious, and he was really full of himself. He had an ego the size of California. And he always saw himself as a victim. He was constantly griping about how the world shortchanged him, how his brilliance was never given its due.
"When you take all of that into consideration, you wind up saying, 'Why was I rooting for this guy?'"
Since 'Breaking Bad', Anna Gunn reprised her role as Skyler White in an episode of 'Robot Chicken'. She's also had minor roles in a number of TV shows including 'Physical' with Rose Byrne and crime drama 'Prodigal Son'.