Throughout this summer’s half-season of Breaking Bad, I’ve been tracking whether or not Skyler is the worst.
Mostly, I found her to be the worst, although she had an end-of-season rally the last couple episodes that forced me to doubt my continued dislike of the character.
Clearly, I’m not alone. Skyler is about as unpopular a character as you’re going to find in a great show. This year, the Skyler Problem hit the zeitgeist, with complaints about the character increasing exponentially, and the inevitable pro-Skyler backlash gaining traction.
To be more exact, the pro-Skyler contingent is actually more of an anti-anti-Skyler contingent. Critics argue that the hatred for Skyler is rooted in misogyny, that we should sympathetic to a character trapped in a terrible situation, and that rooting for Walter White while resenting Skyler betrays a moral hypocrisy. A select few have also praised the writing of Skyler and Anna Gunn’s acting work, but they’re outnumbered by those inclined to argue that hating Skyler is cause to turn in your NOW card.
As someone who has included a running subsection of Breaking Bad recaps called “Is Skyler Still the Worst?” I feel compelled to weigh in on an issue that’s more complicated than either side is likely willing to admit.
The following discussion will contain spoilers for anyone not up to date on the series.
OK, first of all, screw Donna Bowman at The AV Club for starting her review of “Gliding Over All” with the exact same quote with which I was going to start this one.
Really not cool to pre-steal material, you guys. Also, I was going to change it to “When Heisenberg saw the breadth…” because I’m just that clever and impish. Whatever. I’m not bitter. Anyway, I guess there’s some stuff to talk about?
About halfway through last night’s “Say My Name,” I wrote in my notes, “That’s the biggest mistake Walter White will ever make.”
Turns out I was proven pretty wrong just a half hour later.
Holy shit, has the color palette on season five of Breaking Bad been dark or what? Almost every scene, especially the scenes taking place in the White household, are drenched in shadows. Characters’ faces are dimly lit, or we see only a part of them breaking out of the darkness.
The restraints are tightening on Walter White and the light is beginning to fade.
Well, we’ve officially reached the point where one week feels like an excruciatingly long time to wait between Breaking Bad episodes.
Now THAT is more like it. Breaking Bad is BACK. Those of us who grew a touch worried by this season’s slow pace and lack of obvious stakes needn’t have fretted. We’ve been proven wrong by “Fifty-One,” one of the strongest episodes of the series to date.
Rian Johnson (Brick) directed this episode, and he turned in one of the finest pieces of direction in television history. More than the writing or even the performances, the direction elevated this episode to sublime status — which is particularly rare given that television is known as a writer’s medium.
Who is going to be the Big Bad?
That’s the question that’s foremost on my mind after “Hazard Pay,” and after the frightening revelation that there are only five episodes of Breaking Bad left in 2012.
So far in its run, Breaking Bad has given Walter and Jesse an escalating series of antagonists, from Crazy Eight to Tuco to the Cousins to Gustavo Fring — each more menacing and powerful than the one that came before.
So who’s next?
Welcome back to PCHA’s weekly Breaking Bad recaps/reviews. It’s been a long time. I’ve missed these guys. And considering how quickly last night’s season premiere flew by, I have the sense that these eight episodes are not going to be enough to satisfy us for another year.
There’s a parallel to be drawn between Breaking Bad at this point in its run, and Walter White as he stands at the open of the fifth season. Both the show and its main character are reveling in their success, and proceeding with a confidence bordering on cockiness.
As we did with Kim Dickens, today we celebrate an underappreciated character actor: Mr. Jere Burns.
Burns is a versatile, charismatic actor with a distinct look. He’s deserved a better career than he’s had, though he’s had a pretty good one, including a relatively late peak featuring roles on two great TV series.
Now that you’ve digested and agreed with all of our 2011 music picks, it’s time to move on to television. Best comedies. Best dramas. Best fucking shows. Will The Dilemma realize that his self-proclaimed Golden Age of Television has passed? Will David Simon Cowell admit that he watches The X Factor, and still hasn’t gotten over Astro’s elimination? Join us after the jump.
Well, that was…that was…
Penultimate episode, y’all!
Let’s dig right in to this KFC Big Bowl of Intensity, after the jump.
Only a couple episodes left in what has rapidly become a stunningly good season of Breaking Bad.
Gather up your reserve blood supply and join me for a discussion of “Crawl Space,” after the jump.
Your regularly scheduled discussion of Breaking Bad is taking a week off, while I check out Jesse’s rehab center (it’s been a long year). We’ll be back next week with the recap I know you’re craving.
In the meantime, go read Tara Ariano’s list of potential Breaking Bad spinoffs. To her already-fantastic list, I’ll only add these:
“I Wish That I Had Jesse’s Girl”: Emily Rios stars as Andrea, a character so dull she’ll make you miss Epyck from Friday Night Lights. Watch Andrea raise her young son in a swanky section of the ABQ, all in a certain monotone that will make you wish you were dead.
“The Color Purple”: Marie’s new QVC show hawking a line of all-purple vests and pantsuits (warning: some clothes may be “hot”).
“Tea With Tio”: Hector, or “Tio” as he’s affectionately known, hosts a bizarre celebrity interview show in which the celebrities stare at Tio and wait for him to ask a question, but he just drools and rings his wheelchair bell.
Me, while watching last night’s episode of Breaking Bad:
“It’s ridiculous how this show just builds and builds tension and never gives you any release. It’s like if you were able to have sex indefinitely but could never have an orgasm again.
Speaking of never having an orgasm again, can Skyler please put away her cleavage?”
More discussion of the terrific “Bug,” with spoilers a-plenty, coming right up.
…as opposed to “like zero dicks in there” from Louie earlier this season. Maybe all the great shows are going to incorporate a line of dialogue centered around the phrase “like zero”?
Anyway, let’s get to it. A discussion of “Hermanos,” with spoilers aplenty, coming right up.
Let’s discuss “Problem Dog,” the seventh episode of the fourth season of Breaking Bad, after the jump. All our favorites are here, and only one scene with Skyler!
This season of Breaking Bad is just flying by, isn’t it? And with it, the countdown to the series’ final 16 episodes.
We’ll talk about the next step, “Cornered,” after the jump.
Two major questions concerning “Shotgun,” last night’s episode of Breaking Bad, after the jump.
I’m kind of worried about Jesse Pinkman, you guys.
Spoilers ahead for those of you not up to speed.
It’s been some time since we discussed individual TV episodes here at Pop Culture Has AIDS. But hey, we can rectify that. There’s a great drama series going on right now, at this very moment, Klosterman be damned.
Huddle up, try to ignore the security cameras following you around the room, and we’ll chat about last night’s episode of Breaking Bad.
Spoilers for last night’s episode, “Open House,” forthcoming.