Gunn’s performance was not that of an action heroine or a television genius, and it was not meant to be. Skyler carries the weight of Walt’s actions. Plenty of people hated her for it, Walt sometimes included. But Gunn’s performance pushed both Walt and the people who wanted to see him as a hero to increasingly contrived and ludicrous justifications for treating Skyler like she was a worse person than Walt.
Gunn’s drawn face in the last two seasons of “Breaking Bad” might not have brought about the end of the anti-hero era in television. But Gunn’s performance marked the end of a time when the creators of such shows could get away with writing anti-heroes’ wives as flat, cartoonish characters, or when audiences could get away with worshiping difficult men without encountering strong opposition.
“As an actress, I realize that viewers are entitled to have whatever feelings they want about the characters they watch. But as a human being, I’m concerned that so many people react to Skyler with such venom. 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? But I finally realized that most people’s hatred of Skyler had little to do with me and a lot to do with their own perception of women and wives. 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.” -Anna Gunn