June 14, 2012

What’s Wrong With The Women of AMC?

Filed under: Gender,Media — Tags: , , , , , — Rachel @ 10:46 am

clockwise from top left: Lori Grimes (The Walking Dead), Betty Francis (Mad Men), Sarah Linden (The Killing), and Skyler White (Breaking Bad)

 

This post contains spoilers for the four AMC shows being discussed.  All spoilers are contained behind the jump.

As a fan of AMC’s original series, I’ve begun to notice a strange trend when it comes to the way people have reacted to the women on these shows, specifically:

The Walking Dead’s Lori Grimes, Zombie Apocalypse Survivor

Mad Men’s Betty Francis, Homemaker

The Killing’s Sarah Linden, Homicide Detective

and

Breaking Bad’s Skyler White, Homemaker

This is how these women have been described by various recaps and reviews:

Sarah Linden is: “a bad mother” and “the worst police officer on earth”.

Lori Grimes is: “incredibly stupid”, “irritating, self-righteous, hypocritical”, and “annoying.”

Betty Francis is: “selfish”, a “vicious, terrible mother”, and “the least sympathetic character” on the show.

and the actress who portrays Skyler White, Anna Gunn, discussed that she is found to be an “annoyance” on the show, in an interview with Vulture.

If you haven’t watched some or any of these shows, you might be wondering what awful behaviors and actions have lead to such strong hate among viewers.  To very briefly recap the storylines of each of the women listed and pictured above: (SPOILERS Within)

 

 

Skyler is the wife of Walter White and mother of their two children.  Walter was diagnosed with cancer, and uses his chemistry background to become a meth kingpin to pay for chemotherapy, and raise money for when (he assumes) the cancer will kill him.  When Skyler learns of this, she seeks a divorce, and cheats on him with her boss.  She later changes her mind, and uses her financial expertise to help him launder the millions he’s made from cooking illegal drugs.

Betty Francis is a former model who married Don Draper.  Don spent their entire marriage cheating on her and being an absentee father and husband.  When she found out about his countless affairs, and the fact that he literally wasn’t who he claimed to be, she divorced him and married Henry Francis.  She’s spent most of the series unhappy with her circumstances and life.

Lori Grimes is the wife of Rick Grimes, and mother of Carl Grimes.  Rick is an officer, who is shot in the line of duty a few days before the zombie apocalypse.  He’s in a coma when the undead rise, and Lori flees with Carl and Rick’s partner, Shane (who claims Rick is dead.)  Lori seeks sollace and safety with Shane, as the zombies slowly take over.  Rick wasn’t dead (and Shane’s a liar), so she ditches Shane, and returns to Rick.

Sarah Linden grew up as a foster child, and is currently a homicide detective for the Seattle Police Department.  She becomes unhealthily obsessed with her last case, the murder of teenager Rosie Larsen.  She cancels her wedding, stops eating and sleeping, and becomes an absentee mother as her obsession with solving the murder grows.

Which leads to me to the question: why are these women so strongly hated while the men get a pass?  Walter White’s a badass, Jesse Pinkman’s hilarious, Don Draper is unbelievably cool and suave, Roger Sterling is funny, Rick is a leader, Shane was just being honest, Holder is a great cop.  But Betty, Skyler, Lori, and Linden are mean bitches and horrible mothers.

So – what has caused such a strong, angry reaction from the fans of these shows?

Is the hatred exclusively attributable to the fans?  It’s possible much of the anger is due to a lack of understanding of the circumstances of these women.  Betty Francis is living in a time where women were supposed to be happy and fulfilled by cooking, cleaning, and raising children.  Sarah Linden isn’t the best detective on earth, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility to believe that some police cases take some wrong turns.  The zombie apocalypse genre (in film, TV, and video games) are usually filled with people making bad or rash decisions.  And I certainly don’t think Skyler White was overreacting when she found out her husband is slowly morphing from “Mr. Chips into Scarface.”

The other possibility is that the writers are at fault.  Three of the four women listed above are secondary or supporting to the main character.  The main focus of Mad Men is Don Draper, for the Walking Dead, it’s Rick Grimes, and Breaking Bad is the story of Walter White.  This might be a case of the writers using women for the purpose of driving the story of their protagonists.  Lori, Betty, and Skyler have all been sources of conflict for the men listed above, in some ways, hindering the “fun” the guys are having.  However, this possible link between the four women falls flat when you add Linden into the mix.  While Lori, Betty, and Skyler are all secondary characters, Sarah Linden is the main focus of The Killing.  If the theory above was one hundred percent of the reason, then it would hold true that Stephen Holder, Linden’s partner would be hated.  Despite the fact that he occasionally drives Linden’s story forward, and provides a source of conflict (much like the women in the other shows do), he is loved by fans.

My personal theory is that it’s a bit of both.  I’m sympathetic to the time period Betty Draper lived in, but wished the writers spent more time with her.  I think Lori makes some really terrible decisions, but we’ve only seen her during a zombie apocalypse – a time I think we can all agree that would lead to some chaotic and frantic behavior.  Sarah Linden isn’t mother of the year by any stretch, but the wrtiting on the Killing could certainly use some improvements.  Skyler White may not have reacted to the reveal of where Walter had been during his mysterious disappearances in the best possible way.  But for the most part, I don’t understand why these women are all so despised.

I’m curious to hear what everyone else thinks – so whether you watch one show, some of them, or all, leave your theories in the comments.  Why do people love to hate the women of the AMC Original Series?


28 Comments »

  1. They’re despised because they open windows of opportunity
    for males seeking safe ways to hate women in public.

    And so Sarah quickly degenerate from characters to misogyny avatars:

    As for the women on WALKING DEAD–well, there’ no excuse for that retrograde
    fantasy that demands we believe that the zompocalyse will suddenly
    cause women to become make omelets, garden and pray big men will take
    care of their quivering selves. The show is a Tea Party fantasia; that people *still*
    hate its devolved females…remarkable.

    Comment by Ian Grey — June 17, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  2. Wow, Ian. I don’t know if you are simply not a careful viewer, pandering to some imagined audience or, really too absurdly reductionistic to be taken seriously. Wait a minute, that’s it! You were joking. Sorry to be so slow on the uptake. Best wishes.

    As for the question of why these women are so hated, I can only offer an opinion on two (the only two I’ve seen), Betty Francis and Skyler White.

    Regarding Betty, I’m not sure . . . I didn’t hate her and I haven’t read many comments from those who do. So, I’m not sure where it’s coming from. But, I didn’t see any of her actions or reactions as being all that bad. Frankly, Don never really gave her much of a chance. He never took her seriously enough to be honest with her. By the time circumstances forced some honesty from him, it was probably too late. Betty could have waited for him (or, given him the opportunity) to re-start their relationship on a new, more respectful footing. But, she was probably smart enough to recognize that he was too deeply flawed for that too work. He put her in a box from the beginning. I don’t think he’d know what to do with her without that box.

    As for her mothering, the “bad” parts seem more part of the time than part of her character (remember the dry cleaning bag?). Nobody really gave her much of a chance. I thnk she took it all as well as could be expected. However, this is emphaticaly NOT the case with Skyler White.

    Skyler deserves every bit of derision she gets. I guess She could change and become a better person. But, I doubt she will. I think she really is probably just too selfish to manage that kind of personal growth. Here is what I mean . . .

    Like Don to Betty, Skyler has Walt in a box. She wouldn’t know what to do with him outside of thst box. Basically, she is pleased to control Walt and all others around her. Did you notice how her every argument is based on the respect she feels she is entitled to expect form others? In the meantime, she owes no respect or consideration to others? What’s worse is her passive-aggressive strategiex for extracting that respecct. Remeber how she reactec to her sister’s shlifting? Froze her out until she apologized but never once asked her how she was doing or showed any concern for whatever mental state compelled her actions.

    She is mad about Walt lying. Meanwhile she has been lying to him for years about why she first left Benneke. She is mad about’s Walt’s crime but has no problem with Ted’s or her own. Her lack of consideration or care for Walt when he got his diagnosis. Remember the “intervention?” Skyler was the only one who made no intention to understand what Walt was going through. Then, she sleeps with her boss out of spite or lust. Either moctivation or act she would never forgive anyone else.

    There are so many more examples! It is the writers. They intentionally wrote a character who is a selfish, deceitful, passive-aggressive control freak. Walt will NEVER be as bad as Skyler. He does bad trying to do good. She does bad to get revenge and satisfy her own inflated sense of self entitlement.

    In short. She sucks.

    Comment by Noah Helenihi — June 23, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

  3. Skyler White and Lori Grimes suffer from some poor writing.

    They seem to be the anti-antagonist as they are protrayed as part of the “tribe” but always end up destabilizing it in some way.

    Lori Grimes with her illogical reactions to everything.
    (She wanted Frank Grimes to kill Shane [she McBeth asked him)]
    But when he goes through with it (and he was basically forced to do so) she turns on him.

    Skyler White is just awful because she is bottling up everything. She doesn’t react to other characters except in a passive aggressive fashion and when she does react it is usually to undermine someone else. (The shoplifting case is a great example.)

    They are meant to be the bad guys… clearly. Gus is out of the picture in Breaking Bad, Skyler moves into that “control” role.

    Lori Grimes… well I just think she has a brain chemical imbalance. I can’t really understand her actions 99% of the time. Wouldn’t a zombie apocalypse force you to be a better person, to commune with the group in a positive fashion, lest be eaten by a Zombie and all…

    Although it seems the writer of the above article seems to be happy to call men sexist. Yay feminism!

    Comment by Pat — August 9, 2012 @ 9:34 am

  4. Skyler White… I can’t stand the character and I tend to fast forward on the DVR when she starts talking for about all the reason made by Noah Helenihi above.

    As for AMC and Woman….

    MadMen: Peggy Olson, Joan Harris….: They are generally portrayed as strong, intelligent, sexy.

    Hells On Wheel: Lily Bell, again strong will, intelligent, beautiful, portrayed as a woman more then a men’s equal in a time period where woman was treated like a piece of furniture.

    But based on the shows I watch on AMC, I think this entire artical is unfair.

    and Ian get medicated you self loathing liberal hack.

    Comment by Chong Lee — August 13, 2012 @ 12:42 am

  5. I think what’s unfortunate about some of these shows is that, because the female roles are secondary in nature, we aren’t able to watch them develop and see different dimensions as to what they are experiencing.

    What I like about Don Draper (and love) about Walter White is that neither are heros or villains – the audience may remain ambivalent about them as we are allowed to see them as a whole character. Betty and Skyler’s characters are much more 2D – we are only given snippets of them when they are throwing a wrench into plans.

    This happened when my family watched Breaking Bad from 2 weeks ago. As Skyler reaches an emotional breaking point my brother groaned in annoyance with her. I realized that it was because Skyler has *always* been the emotional roller coaster crazy lady on the show – without much regard as to what it must be like to be in her skin.

    Comment by Noel — August 17, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

  6. The idea that Walter White is not a villain is laughable. He’s a straight-up monster and getting worse every week. I’m not surprised Skyler White is hated. So was Dexter’s girlfriend and he kills people! Any time there is a “whiny” woman taking up screen time, people get pissed.

    I loved The Killing and the character of Sarah Linden. She is a revolutionary female character on TV. She’s a deeply troubled women struggling to keep it together. And often failing. I found her deeply sympathetic. And if she had a penis? She’d be considered a lovable, brilliant character that everybody lines up to defend. But she’s a mother and acting irresponsibility so she’s reviled. No surprise there.

    The Walking Dead’s women are (largely) ridiculous. The zombie apocalypse apparently happened in the 1950s on this show. Quick, get to the washing Lori and let the men handle this! Ugh. When Lori tried to shame Andrea into doing some dishes? I threw up in my mouth. And the show’s fixation with a hyper-masculine Lord of the Flies world is such a testosterone fantasy in general that it tries my patience.

    Mad Men has brilliantly complex characters across the board (minus the first season, which was plodding and over-rated, IMO). Joan, Peggy & Betty are very different kinds of women navigating a time when being a woman was a lot like being a weird combination of maid, pet and whore–subservient across the board with high expectations for your behavior. Watching them each struggle with the status is fascinating.

    Comment by Rebecca — August 24, 2012 @ 11:30 am

  7. I agree largely with the detrimental view of Skyler White in the above comments. Her sociopathic behavior, even contexted in a reactionary role, is well-documented. However, I would like the addendum that I think Anna Gunn is doing marvelously in her role. Sometimes it’s easy to sneer at the actress as though she were her character, and while I dislike the character she portrays, the fact that she manages to elicit such reactions from me is the hallmark of a great actress.

    The smug malevolence of her informing Walt of her affair while the smile freezes on his face? Perhaps one of the most damning scenes to her likability amongst fans, but executed flawlessly. The stalwart determination in her self-centered twisting of all situations to show how they negatively impact her and how she wants things to be going? You writhe in frustration, but again… Anna’s played the hand she was dealt fantastically.

    I would suggest everyone consider her role as Skyler to be adversarial, but in a less obvious way than Gus’s or any other villain on the show. A more complicated antagonist with a subtler and almost sympathetic agenda. The villain that you have the most difficulty in articulating their machinations is the best villain.

    Comment by Michael — August 27, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

  8. I think The Walking Dead is a bit odd at the minute since there’s two really strong female characters coming up – without giving too much away if it’s anything like the comics Andrea slowly develops into a complete badass and we’ve seen our first glimpse of Michonne, who is the epitome of badass from the start.
    Skyler White is a different matter, I genuinely dislike the character. I sympathise with what a dick Walt is and what she’s going through, I really do as unlike many people I see him as a horrible person at times, driven entirely by pride and jealousy. My problem is simply the way she deals with things, as mentioned previously her main weapon is being passive-aggressive and generally acting like a stuck-up bitch. Then again that doesn’t mean the writers did a terrible job – it’s not their job to create characters that please people with certain agendas – the fact is that both strong, independent women and stupid stuck-up bitches both exist in real life, and they obviously felt it made a better story if she was the latter. It’s like the character Joffrey in Game of Thrones – he’s an absolutely detestable little shit but the actor does a bloody great job of portraying that. Same with Skyler, just her dislikability is a bit more subtle.

    Comment by Josh — September 24, 2012 @ 9:56 am

  9. I do not agree! I personally really enjoy the character of Skylar White. I am very interested in all of her decisions. Jesse and Skylar are my favorite characters, I find they both have a certain depth, its almost like reading a book – you get to fill in the story gaps in your own mind and their acting performances are really phenomenal. I am tired and sick of watching Walter mess absolutely everything up. I think that the writers have done a really good job for each of the characters. I always think that while Walt is out having fun – Skylar is taking up the slack and doing the real work to keep the family going. I cannot imagine all that she was going through when she was pregnant, with Walt’s diagnosis and then his huge personality change. I think that it really took her by surprise that her husband seemed to morph into a different person overnight, and she honestly did not know how to deal with it. Sure she was passive-agressive but Walt was absolutely evasive, defensive and rude to her the whole time. If he is ever nice he is doing it for some selfish reason. I think that there is a lot of story that we never see about Skylar and I wish that other people would appreciate that she has her reasons. I really do not care one bit that she slept with Ted – it was evident she did not truly want it – she just wanted to “break bad” in her own way, and it sucks that it did not work out for her – she learned her lesson though I think. She has just as much personality as Walt and I feel that her storyline is more realistic. I wish that other people could appreciate these female roles, I don’t know what is so weird about me!

    Comment by Danny — October 22, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

  10. I watch Mad Men, The Walking Dead and The Killing.

    I admit that I loathe Betty Francis and Lori Grimes. I do believe that Sarah Linden is a terrible mother but I don’t hate her character. I agree with the premise that the writing doesn’t make these characters very sympathetic.

    Why do I love Don Draper and hate Betty Draper? Don Draper took opportunities to make his situation in life better. Was it easier for a man at that time? Of course. Peggy Olsen and Joan Harris are both taking opportunities to improve their circumstances. Betty just sits around miserable and happy to make everyone around her miserable as well. She left Don and married Mr. Francis…she’s still miserable and so vindictive. That’s what makes me unsympathetic towards her character.

    Lori Grimes. Where to start. There was a flashback scene where she was picking Carl up from school and complaining to her girlfriend that Rick didn’t like to fight with her. This was her reason for being unhappy in her marriage. Her husband was too nice to her. Here’s a man who went through hell to find his family and she clearly was on the fence about her feelings towards him. Which explains how she fell into the arms of her husband’s best friend so quickly. Did she believe that her husband was dead. Sure. But her husband’s best friend? Did Shane lie to her? Yes. Maybe he lied to ease his own guilt over leaving Rick behind or maybe he did it to spare Lori the agony of always wondering what happened to her husband but allowing herself to get pregnant during the Zombie apocalypse was beyond stupid and frustrating. The way she tries to goad her husband into killing Shane was disgusting as well.

    Sarah Linden is a terrible mother. She’s providing absolutely no stability for her son and she should know better since she grew up in a foster home. There’s no excuse for pulling him out of school and telling him that they were moving to Napa, then deciding not to go and having her son living out of a motel with no supervision. The job of a responsible adult is to make the best possible decision for their children and stick to it to offer them stability.

    If it’s any consolation…I also hate Carl Grimes and can’t wait for him to get eaten.

    Comment by ChickieB — October 23, 2012 @ 11:04 am

  11. Just (re) found my remarks here and was amused to be dissed for liberalism.

    Anyway, I think we’re learned that the deal with AMC wasn’t so monolithic. That with BREAKING BAD, Vince Gilligan really had no idea who Skyler was beyond The Normalizing Wife (an annoying trope to be certain) but more scary was the fact that, as Gilligan and his writers turned Skyler into a fascinating, super complex person, *viewers* became defacto perps, sending/posting endless hate emails/posts/revealing an ugly side to the Internet male Id we’d never seen because we’d never seen a woman in quite this variety of power dynamic with such a horrid man as Walter White.

    As for THE KILLING…sort of the same deal. Yes, Sarah is a super-flawed mother, but keep in mind her bad mothering covers, in the show’s timeline, what, a month?

    Seriously, how much would we pay for parents who loved us like crazy but fouled up for, like, a month? This time the misogyny was complex–the projection of fears and needs and deep disappointments on a character who, despite her flaws, is trying really hard to ultimately do the right things. *Bottom line*: Were Sarah a male, we’d be hearing none of this heated chatter. Period.

    And THE WALKING DEAD…well, we know what happened to Lori, and we have this two-women-alone text that’s working *really hard* to ignore the queer ultratext and racial aspects (while milking them on a ’70s blaxpolitation level.)

    The show still assumes that the natural position for all females is that of domestics although it’s made them slightly tougher domestics (still, all it takes for Andrea is a shower at The Governor’s town and her thinking abilities melt in half.)

    Basically, it Romney had won, it’s still the zombie show he would have been comfortable with.

    Comment by Ian Grey — November 9, 2012 @ 12:23 am

  12. Very interesting article and comments. I’ll start with perhaps most interesting: Skyler White.

    There’s minor spoilers here for those who haven’t watched Season 5 of BREAKING BAD. I do not despise Skyler (and I am a man). However I understand the disdain. In the first few seasons she played the role of a typical bitchy controlling wife (quite common actually) very realistically and men (and some women) could not stand that she was hindering Walter’s path to become a drug-kingpin. To add to that her less than moral response to the news that her husband is a meth cook also drove the fans nuts. This causes an intentional moral rift in the viewers. Gilligan shows us all of Walter’s ridiculous struggles and we see everything from his eyes. And from his eyes, he’s not being appreciated. At this point I understood why Skyler wouldn’t take this news well but still did not enjoy her personality.

    Starting with Season 4 I began to see the whole picture. Yes it’s fun to root for Heisenberg as a cartoon character but the writers are clearly slowly turning him into a villain. By Season 5 she actually becomes a sympathetic character in my eyes (I’ve heard others say this too). Walter has clearly crossed the line and to any non-misogynistic fans right now who still hate her (I say this because half the hate for her comes from misogynistic nasty human beings) consider this: If your spouse was a power-hungry drug lord/killer [who blew up a room in a nursing home!] who grows increasingly more maniacal, menacing, and delusional every episode… wouldn’t you be a little freaked out?

    For MAD MEN I never really minded Betty. Megan on the other hand is very annoying. But Betty (could be considered annoying) never really had a huge role since Don never gave her the chance. While her performance isn’t nearly as impressive as Anna Gunn’s as Skyler White, January Jones does a fine job of doing what the writers tell her: which is too be a depressed, bitchy beauty queen who constantly resents her living state. Interesting, but largely unlikable. In Season 5 her fatness was just bad. For some reason I was always drawn to her character and remained on her side [mostly] during the Season 3 conflict between her and Don. I believe Don is a much more likable character than Walter — but he is also not that good of a guy. I feel like her character is a representation of a woman discontent with her role of at the time. Although it must be said that like Linden, she is truly a terrible mother.

    As for THE WALKING DEAD (spoilers for the new season) the writers are just plain ridiculous. I’m glad she went out well
    and it was a well-made scene but seriously… the writers must not communicate it each other. For the dislike for her character has nothing to do with her gender — it’s her character. Her character does so many idiotic things and she seems to have multiple personality disorder as she behaved differently on an episodically basis (for season 2).

    For THE KILLING, I didn’t mind the main character but stopped watching the show after realizing it’s just dull red-herring after another. The acting and writing are okay but the show just got ridiculous and I heard the second season is ridiculously bad. Her character never interested me, and she seems kind of dull to me but the show wasn’t immersive enough for me to feel any real opinion of her character.

    So yea, it seems people have a problem with AMC’s women. But for the most part, there’s a reasonable explanation for all of them: Skyler reminded men of the controlling wives they hate (although I largely sympathize with her now), Betty is just not a pleasant person and sharply different than Peggy and Joan (although she was never given an opportunity by Don), Lori is incredibly poorly written, and The Killing is too boring for me to weigh in on it. And finally, the author of the article is right: we see everything from the main character’s eyes (not talking about The Killing) and their wives often get in their way.

    Comment by Jonas — November 19, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

  13. I don’t hate Skyler or Lori because they’re women, I hate them because they’re cunts (not the actresses, just the characters).

    In Breaking Bad, Walt is diagnosed with cancer and believes he’s going to die. Instead of giving him sympathy, Skyler focuses solely on how it affects her. She gets pissy at him for being detached (obviously dying isn’t a good enough excuse for that), then goes and acts the same way purely out of spite. She tries to get her bosses attention even before she knows about Walt’s drug involvement, sleeps with him afterwards, then tells Walt just to hurt him. They’re supposed to be partners in marriage, yet she tries to divorce him without even speaking to him about the situation. She kicks him out of his own house and forbids him from seeing his children. She treats him like an evil person because he cooks meth, then demands she be included in the money laundering (while still maintaining her “holier-than-thou” attitude toward her ex-husband). In short, Walt does everything for his family. The worst thing he’s done to them is keep secrets. Skyler does everything for herself, whether it hurts her family or not.
    As for Lori, I just dislike her because it took her all of a week to sleep with Shane. I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman, if your spouse dies and you hop into bed with someone else that quickly, you’re an ass.

    Comment by Joey — December 2, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  14. “Walt does everything for his family…Skyler does everything for herself.” I think the show is, more than anything, about Walt’s transformation from a family man into something else entirely. I’m only in season three, but so far the Walt scenes that pack the greatest emotional punch are the one’s where the viewer sees that the whole “I’m doing this for my family” rationalization no longer carries any weight. His reason for behaving as he does becomes nothing more than an excuse for his own high stakes risk-taking behaviors. Skyler, on the other hand, is completely distraught because her husband very suddenly becomes a complete stranger, someone who puts her family in danger. I completely understand most of her reactions. All of the characters on this show are flawed. The moral beliefs of Walt, Jessie, and Skyler are all tested. To some extent, each of them fails. But it surprises me very much to hear people say Walt’s behavior is more excusable than Skyler’s.

    Comment by Marley — December 2, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

  15. Anyone else notice that each of these women are mothers?

    Comment by Sandy — December 5, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

  16. SPOILERS

    I respected Lori for encouraging Rick to “deal with” Shane, as she was really one of the only people who knew what a danger Shane was becoming to the group. And Rick is the kind of leader who needs to be pushed to do difficult things. I really blamed the writing when they had her turn on Rick, but I guess they just needed some point of conflict between them to make her eventual death that much more tragic.

    The reason I dislike Betty is her mistreatment of her daughter. Really, though, all of the main characters of this show are kind of unappealing. Betty has had her ups and downs, just like the rest of them.

    I don’t think Walter is meant to be or portrayed as a nice, likable guy. And Skyler raises some completely valid points about the safety of their children. Still, she is a whiny, selfish, passive aggressive slut, and I can’t help but hate her intensely. But they’re starting to make her a little bit more respectable with the direct way she confronted Walt about the ridiculous stash of cash he had procured.

    Comment by Zach — December 12, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  17. I personally didn’t like the Skylar White character because she is so unbelievable selfish, cold and judgmental to her husband. When they separate she gets to live in the house which Walter worked for, while she forces Walter in some lonely apartment without anyone with him. Allthewhile Walter did almost everything out of love for his family, she can not even try to see things from his point of view. She is cold to him. While he is caring for her. She treats Walter like he’s just a tool she needs in life and when he messes up, she just ditches him.

    Most men I speak to don’t like Skylar White. I think it’s because many men had something to do with women like this in real life. The fact that all the characters on this page are mothers says a lot as well. Maybe the sons of the selfish, feminist mothers of the 70′s have grown up now and are expressing the way they feel about women who treat men like crap.

    Comment by Chris — December 29, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

  18. I’ll just start off by saying that the concept of the women in these shows being hated because they act as a deterrent to the plot seems to be wrong. Look at Hank; he is far more of a deterrent to Walt than Skyler is, yet nobody hates him. So I don’t agree with that logic.

    “In Breaking Bad, Walt is diagnosed with cancer and believes he’s going to die. Instead of giving him sympathy, Skyler focuses solely on how it affects her. She gets pissy at him for being detached (obviously dying isn’t a good enough excuse for that), then goes and acts the same way purely out of spite. She tries to get her bosses attention even before she knows about Walt’s drug involvement, sleeps with him afterwards, then tells Walt just to hurt him. They’re supposed to be partners in marriage, yet she tries to divorce him without even speaking to him about the situation. She kicks him out of his own house and forbids him from seeing his children. She treats him like an evil person because he cooks meth, then demands she be included in the money laundering (while still maintaining her “holier-than-thou” attitude toward her ex-husband). In short, Walt does everything for his family. The worst thing he’s done to them is keep secrets. Skyler does everything for herself, whether it hurts her family or not.”

    This is a good example of how some people simply completely rewrite the plot to fit into their views. No offense, but there’s so much rubbish here, I have to say.

    “Skyler focuses solely on how it affects her”

    This just goes against the narrative of the show. Take her breakdown at the start of s1e4. She is trying to keep the cancer a secret, for Walt’s sake, but she can’t. She is obviously distraught over what is happening to Walt. Similarly in the scene directly afterwards, Skyler is distraught and has clear concern for Walt. “Walt, don’t you see? Everybody just wants to help you.” Throughout the episode, she is being very supportive of Walt, being very proactive over the cancer treatment, and acting almost completely selflessly. She offers to get another job to pay for Walt’s treatment, and consults him every step of the way. Just watch the episode. So her actions in this episode already disprove your claim. In the next episode, Grey Matter, is agree that she acts very poorly. She goes against his wishes by telling them about his cancer, and doesn’t listen to his wishes about cancer treatment. That is wrong, but nevertheless, she clearly doesn’t focus solely on how it affects her. She does these things to help Walt.

    “then goes and acts the same way purely out of spite. ”

    She goes and acts the same way because her husband is routinely lying to her and she knows it, has frequent bouts of disappearance, and is treating her like a fool. She keeps on asking him to be honest, that he shouldn’t be going through this by himself, and he continues to lie to her and betray her trust. That’s a pretty good reason for her to become detached.

    “She tries to get her bosses attention even before she knows about Walt’s drug involvement”

    Sorry, but this seems to be to be another complete rewriting of what actually happened. Skyler doesn’t make a move Ted until series 3 and shows no interest in him; the only thing she does is the ‘mr president’ song, which is in front of everyone and is a joke.

    ” They’re supposed to be partners in marriage, yet she tries to divorce him without even speaking to him about the situation.”

    Again, you seems to be following a different narrative here. Skyler tries again and again and again to have a discussion with Walt, for him to be honest, and he routinely lies to her and refuses to have an actual discussion with her. She then finds out about the terrible thing he is doing, and what, you expect her to be all ears after she has been so massively betrayed, and after trying to get the truth for so long? I also have an issue with the ‘partners in marriage’ remark; Skyler had asked for a divorce. Just because Walt refused does not mean they are still together in any meaningful sense. If a guy breaks up with a girl, and then sleeps with someone else, he is not being unfaithful and he is not cheating. Also, it was a minor plot point, but I think you’ve forgotten about how Walt then tries to sleep with that teacher.

    “She kicks him out of his own house and forbids him from seeing his children.”

    This runs completely contrary to your claim that Skyler does everything for herself. In fact, her whole way of dealing with Walter Jr proves the exact opposite is true, IMO. She keeps Walt’s meth cooking a secret to protect Walter Junior, and maybe even Walt. She kicks Walt out of her house to protect her children, knowing that that makes her a ‘bitch’ in the eyes of her son. She returns the dangerous car that Walt gets for him, which is even more dangerous than it would be for any teenage boy because Walter Junior has cerebral palsy and therefore has poor muscle control. She sacrifices her relationship with her son to protect him. The definition of selfless, not selfish.

    “then demands she be included in the money laundering”

    Yes, to protect her brother-in-law. Yet another example of Skyler putting others before herself. She endangers herself to ensure that Hank gets the treatment he needs to live. He does a good thing here. And besides, money laundering is absolutely nothing when compared to meth cooking, to compare the two is ludicrous.

    ‘In short, Walt does everything for his family.’

    I’d argue that this was proven false as soon as Walt rejected the money in Grey Matter. The company, which makes ‘billions’ could have easily provided for Walt’s family *without* endangering them. And yet instead, Walt decides to cook meth. He decides to ruin the lives of hundreds and endanger his family, just for the sake of his own pride.

    “Skyler does everything for herself, whether it hurts her family or not.”

    I think I’ve already explained well enough why I think this is wrong.

    I respect your opinion, and you’ve expressed it in an articulate, non-misogynistic way, which is refreshing and nice to see. However, I can’t help but feel that your initial impression of Skyler, which was negative (and honestly, who can blame you for that?), has dramatically shaped the way you’ve viewed and remembered the rest of her actions, to the point of performing mental gymnastics to justify your dislike for her.

    Comment by David — January 1, 2013 @ 4:13 pm

  19. With the case of The Walking Dead they just don’t write well for Lori but I think the other female characters more then make up for her. Maggie, Andrea and Michonne are strong characters who don’t relay on the men of the group to make their choices for them.

    Hopefully the show stays loyally enough to the comics that we won’t see the three of them pulling a Lori anytime soon, although I’d say that was so Rick would have unresolved issues between himself and Lori but still it doesn’t make it right.

    Comment by James — January 4, 2013 @ 6:42 am

  20. You guys on this forum hating Skyler “not because she’s a woman, but because she’s a c*nt” – sorry but not really, you actually are pretty misogynist. As usual the moral standards demanded of women (esp mothers) are of a different magnitude than those of men. Just try a quick role reversal in your head, making Skyler the insane homicidal meth cook, and see who you’d sympathise with then.

    Not to excuse all of her actions but I find most of her behaviour pretty reasonable throughout the seasons. The passive-aggressive tendencies before finding out Walt is a meth cook is clearly down to Walt’s increasingly ridiculuous (and patronising) lies and attempts to pretend everything is normal. Her affair with Ted is her way of getting back at Walt when he’s under the delusion that everything is just fine again. It’s sort of her safety vent – otherwise she’d just have rolled over and tacitly accepted that what Walt did was ok in the end. A great scene.

    Comment by Daniel — January 13, 2013 @ 10:55 am

  21. I’m female but I still dislike the characters of skyler & lori. Its completely deliberate in the writing & these characters are purely there to be the proverbial ball & chain which stops the lead (male) characters behaving exactly as they want to. they are what reminds us of their responsibilities. They’re annoying because we root for Walt to rebel against his bland life (in the earlier episodes) & Skyler is the spoiler. Lori makes poor decisions that have us shouting at the tv, but it’s to show Rick’s unwavering commitment. Logic goes out the window for love. Dexter & Rita are the same, totally deliberate that she’s so needy & self righteous – she is the voice of reason to hinder the anarchy!
    I do think there’s a whiff of sexism though. There aren’t nearly enough female leads. Why couldn’t breaking bad have been written the other way around? Personally I think it would have been even better!

    Comment by Lou — January 20, 2013 @ 1:00 pm

  22. I think Skyler white is irrefutably an aweful character, to say otherwise shows stubborn contrariness or possibly some undeveloped taste in people. For one, I can’t think of one moment with her on the show that ever moved me. She never cracks any jokes or wit, she never gives any insightful or interesting dialogue, just how things have to be her way because she is morally upright and a better decision maker not to even CONSIDER other peoples opinions. Her forcing Walt to accept cash (his opinion unconsidered) from Graymatter, a company that seriously boned and ditched him, was just the first time her controlling nature is revealed. One things she does show consistency in is making snide comments to other people, especially Walt. I think its like snide 15 affectionate 2. No man wants a woman like that. The worst part is her complete lack of humility or any type of self depreciation. With Walt we feel life in his thought processes, impulses that go wrong, incredible creativity and problem solving, and truly a master at his own craft. But he acknowledges his shortcomings and expresses his suffering. Skyler White has no shortcomings, ever, and when she does admit flaw she twists it in a way as to be insulting. “Sorry lying doesn’t come to be as easily as it does to you.” Presumably, this is just my theory, that Walt ditching the shackles of his controlling and morally upright wife and car wash job, he gets his first experience at feeling some type of individual power and volition over his life, able to express his gifted mind outside of a dumbed down high school classroom. I’m pretty sure his overcoming of cancer is directly related to him feeling this sense of freedom. And to call him a horrid character just because he cooks meth and kills people, almost always for his survival and self preservation (pride included), is a childish sentiment. He shows great professionalism and expertise throughtout the show. Oh, and nobody mentioned Skyler signed off on Ted’s tax fraud, then stole $600,000 to cover up her blunder, not to mentioned slept with him. And come on, someone who aborts at 15 year marriage because the dude went off for some personal reasons and lied because he knew how narrowminded and misunderstanding she would be. And to abort a marriage and shutting down attempts for Walt to explain himself, no doubt. Though she shows some mathematical intelligence, some moral fortitude, and logical thinking, it is not an iota enough to save her from her deplorable character which ALMOST everyone gets.

    Comment by Andy — March 13, 2013 @ 6:41 am

  23. I’ve only seen Mad Men Breaking Bad and half of Walking Dead
    and I hate each of these characters specifically for different reasons.

    Betty is simply pure evil,full stop. She treats her kids like dogs, treats Don like a child (during the marridge) and worse than the kids (after Divorce), she’s completely self centred, childish/immature and in the case of the whole season 1 Glen relationship stupid.
    Remember when Sally started hanging out with Glen in secret, Betty catches her and what does she do? Completely uproots the family.
    However I do agree that if the writers put some effort into Betty’s character with more interesting storylines people might not hate her as much.I genuinly liked Betty’s storylines in seasons 1 and 2 but by 3 she went a little bit more childish/immature or crazy even than usual.

    Skylar is completely different.Where’s as Betty can be healed and has had interesting storylines in the past Skylar is just as lost in the pit as her husbend.Skylar is simply a hypocrite, lier and most importantly a bully.Betty was a bit of a bully as well but only after the divorce when she wouldn’t move out.Skylar bullies and manipulates everyone around her or at least tries to.The shoplifting is a great example so is the I.F.T. thing.I just can’t stand her.

    Lori is just plain stupid.That’s it.I know you be panicy at the zombie apocalypse but come on the whole thing with Carl running off and playing with zombies. Plus her reaction to Rick’s return to the land of the living.

    Walt might make meth and Don might be a complete asshole who cheats on his wife but that’s the point. I myself like the characters but for reasons like saying “Walt you complete hypocrite” or “Don you piece of shit” but that’s why we like them they’re anti-heroes and their wives being the closest characters to them aren’t portrayed as anti-heroes only villians.
    However Rick isn’t an Anti-hero he’s a hero and Lori is just a meaningless character who actually has no purpose on the show whatsoever.They could’ve had Lori be killed and Shane take Carl to the camp to be safe until Rick returns to see his boy.

    Comment by Martin — April 2, 2013 @ 7:03 pm

  24. The problem with the women of AMC is that they’re horrible characters, at least as far as The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad go.

    At least in these two shows, they don’t have a monopoly on it either, there are plenty of male characters who are just as idiotic in their decisions, it’s just that they’re supporting characters and therefore not written as protagonists. Skyler is not one iota more annoying and irrational than Jesse, but she’s never playing the role of Walter’s sidekick or comic relief, so there’s nothing to counterbalance the annoying.

    Same with Lori on TWD – Rick is nearly as stupid, Hershel is arguably even more so, but the latter two grab shotguns and kill zombies every so often.

    For a well-written, non-annoying analog of Skyler White, look at Corinne Mackey in The Shield.

    Comment by Sam — May 26, 2013 @ 4:09 pm

  25. I don’t think its a bias thing, I think each series has a ball buster, but I don’t think it has to be female either because Carl (walking dead) is starting to take lori’s place as Ricks ‘contradictor’ regardless, AMC make some kick ass shows

    Comment by walkingbad — May 29, 2013 @ 10:31 am

  26. I think you’re cherry picking female characters here to prove a point. Of the two of these shows I watch (Breaking Bad & Walking Dead), I see other strong female roles that are well developed and not just vents for sexist frustration. I should be upfront, I hate Skyler and have complicated feelings towards Lori.

    I hate Skyler in a vacuum of Walt’s actions (I hate Walt as a person for a lot of what he’s become, but that’s not at issue here). Their relationship crumbles as soon as he is diagnosed. If I had cancer, I imagine that I would react by withdrawing, similar to the way Walt does (although that is party designed to conceal his growing web of lies). Skyler makes it all about her before she even knows about Walt’s second life, and completely fails to give the benefit of the doubt to a man she’s committed her life to while he’s going through something profound. Walt may be dying of cancer, and instead of being a supportive rock for him, even if he’s not in an emotional place to talk about it, she pushes him away farther and finds reason after reason to make herself and adversary to him.

    Lori I find more sympathetic. She’s acting in a framework that is so devoid of human society, that it’s hard to fault her for some of the things that people find most offensive. I don’t see her having much fault in the situation with Shane. She started to annoy men in the prison when all she could do was second guess Rick, when he made it clear that everything he did was for her and Carl’s benefit. Obviously, he’s a man changed by his circumstances, and Lori comes off as a bit of a bitch because Rick’s actions shield her from the same kind of moral paradigm shift, and instead of understanding and appreciating him for that, she pushes him away.

    But there’s a lot of contrast in the other female characters in those shows. In Breaking Bad, I found Marie’s story really touching and sympathetic. She obviously is an imperfect person, but when Hank gets shot, she struggles with him to pull him through his darkest moment, much like Hank did with her and her shoplifting. She obviously suffers for it, and it hurt to watch Hank go from a warm, caring husband into a bed-ridden grouch. In Walking Dead, Maggie is such a strong female character, and her relationship with Glenn only grows stronger even after some rough patches (I’m thinking the whole almost-raped by the Governor incident). Carol was an amazing character too, to watch her grow from a battered woman into a strong and important part of the group. Andrea had a majorly important story line where she became the linchpin between the possibility of war and peace between the prison group and Woodbury, and she grew from a lost girl into a confidant woman who could handle herself with zombies and become another moral compass to the group after Dale’s death.

    I think it’s easy to point to a few hated female characters and say “Oh, those shows are sexist!” But I think that it’s more symptomatic of good story development. It would be sexist to make every woman the perfect character that no one has any reason to hate. But I think these shows strike a balance that aims to be truer to their characters than others, and we see how their choices play out. These women are complex characters, which is a lot more than you can say about women in other shows.

    Comment by Jesse — August 3, 2013 @ 10:59 am

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