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Breaking Bad

Anna Gunn who played Skyler in 'Breaking Bad' said the backlash to her character was 'bizarre and confusing'

It’s been 10 years since the show first aired.

IN A SCARY reminder of how quickly time passes, it’s been 10 years since ‘Breaking Bad’ first came to our screens.

The show written by Vince Gilligan and starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn followed Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who has just been diagnosed with cancer and cannot afford his treatment. In desperation he turns to an old student Jesse to help him make and market crystal meth as an extra source of income.


Anna Gunn played Walter’s long suffering wife Skyler who became a point of hatred for many fans. Skyler objected to her husband becoming a meth lord (obviously) and tried to protect their two kids from their father who was going around murdering anyone who got in his way (as you would).

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly  who reunited the cast for their 10th anniversary Anna admitted that the backlash her character received was ‘tough to go through’.

It 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.

Francis Specker Francis Specker

Gunn wrote a piece on the backlash she received back in 2013 for the New York Times where she pointed out that Skyler’s character wasn’t being judged ‘by the same set of standards as Walter’.

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 wasn’t just Gunn who was disappointed by the backlash. Aaron Paul who played Jesse Pinkman in the show as well as writer Vince Gilligan and Walter himself Bryan Cranston couldn’t get their heads around the amount of hatred Anna was receiving.

We didn’t see this happening. If you look at the elements that were involved in this — husband she finds out is lying, husband she finds out is doing something illegal, is doing something that puts her family in lethal danger, and she’s being chastised — it’s like, ‘Wait a minute.’ It baffled me from an objective standpoint.


Gunn says she still found the show a positive experience overall and that the backlash was important for her to go through.

It’s about the way people are connecting to him. It’s also about the way that people still hold on to, perhaps, older ideas of what a woman or a wife should be or how she should act or how she should behave. In the end, change isn’t always comfortable and isn’t always pleasant, but it’s good that it was brought to people’s attention and consciousness.

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