Vince Gilligan Is ‘Still Thinking’ About All The (Sexist) Hatred For Skyler On ‘Breaking Bad’

If you’re in mourning today, the first Monday without Better Call Saul, maybe this will help: the New Yorker published a lengthy interview with creator Vince Gilligan. In it, he discusses alternate endings, growing up in the south, and Kim’s normie “yup” boyfriend.

The whole thing is worth a read, but one particular back and forth caught my eye. Gilligan was asked about whether he thinks Jimmy McGill had a “triumphant” ending on Better Call Saul, which is how he once described the end of Walter White’s journey on Breaking Bad. “I’d like to believe that, unlike Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul has a somewhat happy ending. I think Jimmy rediscovers himself and gets back to his roots,” he said, adding, “There’s a bit of Dickens’s Christmas Carol in it — there’s redemption, of a sort. I don’t think you see that with Walter White.” You sure don’t.

As Gilligan has moved further away from Breaking Bad, he has “less sympathy” for Walter, and more empathy for Skyler, especially after all the “extreme sexism” from toxic fans that actress Anna Gunn had to deal with. “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,” he said. Gilligan continued:

She played the part beautifully. 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, his archenemy, didn’t suffer the animosity Skyler received. It’s a weird thing. I’m still thinking about it all these years later.

Gunn has said that all the hate for Skyler “shook me. As an actor, my job is not to always play characters who make everybody happy. That’s not interesting. In fact, characters that are more difficult in a way are more interesting. But when you are on a show that has become that big and people are identifying you so much with somebody that they dislike, you can’t help but feel like you get folded into it.” At least her performance wasn’t ignored by the Emmys: she won Outstanding Supporting Actress twice… which is half as many times as Bryan Cranston won Outstanding Lead Actor. Still more than Kim Wexler!

(Via the New Yorker)