We talked about a possible version where Skyler and Walt were holed up in some Motel 6 or someplace, and he’s talking to her, she’s in the bathroom and he’s saying to her, ‘It’s going to be alright, it’s gonna be okay, I’ve got a plan. Skyler? Skyler?’ And he forces the door open and she’s in a bloody tub or something like that, having opened up a wrist … It was very dark.

Source: Spotify

The case against Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad’s foundation is a towering performance by Bryan Cranston, a performance that is not just flawless in nearly every individual choice but also vast in its range. It extends from heartbreaking poignancy to slapstick worthy of Buster Keaton. But one brilliant actor doesn’t make a great show. All of the characters other than Walter White are sorely underdeveloped. Each starts out as a stock figure with a single discordant vulnerability designed for maximum irony. Hank is a swaggering chucklehead, so he gets panic attacks. Marie is a snippy busybody, so she’s concealing a humiliating addiction. Although the show gradually grows more subtle, much of the early writing that establishes the characters is so on the nose it hurts. Any time we see Walt in class, it’s certain that what he writes on the chalkboard will echo events in his secret life. (“The faster they undergo change, the more violent the explosion.”) Jesse finds an old paper from school on which his teacher wrote, “Apply yourself!”

The primary victim of Breaking Bad’s difficulty with characterization is Walt’s wife Skyler, who is introduced substituting fake bacon for real and yet, somehow, manages to become even less sympathetic. When Walt chooses to deal with his cancer in private, Skyler stages a cringe-inducing intervention, and she makes his illness all about her. When Hank tells her about Marie’s kleptomania, Skyler loses it and makes that about her, too. When she believes that Walt has taken to smoking pot, presumably for the pain from his cancer, Skyler tracks down his drug dealer and gives him a lecture straight out of an afterschool special. Is it possible to redeem a character who has been depicted as that prim and naïve? 

There are critics who defend Skyler and accuse viewers who despise her of sexism. But the real sexism is built in to the show, which rarely evinces any curiosity about Skyler’s inner life, apart from how it affects Walt. (Quick: Try to think of a scene in which Skyler is funny, or just amused by someone else. Then consider how much humor accrues to even the most dour male characters.) It isn’t until the third season that Breaking Bad shapes Skyler into a figure who can compel empathy, and only through pity, really, as it becomes clear how few options she has. Skyler’s line “I fucked Ted” is exhilarating, but Ted is a loser who will make her life even more miserable. Then there’s Jane, Jesse’s tragic heroin-addict girlfriend, who enters the show as one lamentable stereotype (a goth version of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl) and abruptly morphs into another (the emasculating femme fatale) when the plot requires it. Breaking Bad gives none of its female characters the kind of agency that its male characters enjoy.

If Skyler is too wan a character to exist as the show’s emotional center, another popular idea is even less sustainable: the thought that Jesse represents the show’s conscience. As the series progresses, the writers draw an increasing contrast between Walt’s ruthlessness and Jesse’s pangs of self-loathing over their misdeeds. But Jesse moves from one unsavory master to another—Walt, then drugs, then Jane, then Mike—and those masters almost always push him toward the unethical choice. Walt acts; Jesse only frets. There is no figure in Breaking Bad who can match Walt in force and charisma in the way that, for instance, The Shield postulated its elegant, ever-shifting hands/head/heart triangle with Vic, Dutch, and Claudette. Fans who cling to Walt even now as Breaking Bad’s hero are not so much misreading the show as reacting to a crucial imbalance. For its moral calculus to work properly,Breaking Bad needs Skyler and Jesse to equal Walt in stature. They never do. 

When he meets Lydia in her favorite, awkward café, Todd sips tea and suggests that the two of them make a “good team.” He’s not wrong. Sure, one is high-strung and the other has the vibrant, inner emotional life of a cinder block, but they’re ideal co-conspirators: 92 percent purity, 100 percent avarice. The market decides what’s best for both of them; anything that gets in the way, be it a Czech tariff or a single mom, is what soldiers call collateral damage and what capitalists call a write-off.

Breaking Bad Season 5, Episode 15 Recap: Waiting Out the End in ‘Granite State’

1. Breaking Bad is so insanely great.

2. I adore Grantland’s writing.

Sartre wrote “Hell is other people,” but sometimes one man is more than capable of being his own worst enemy.
themayonegg:

Meanwhile …

themayonegg:

Meanwhile …

Source: themayonegg

Instagram by Aaron Paul (glassofwhiskey) with the caption “*Spoiler Alert #BreakingBad”

Instagram by Aaron Paul (glassofwhiskey) with the caption “*Spoiler Alert #BreakingBad”

… we were wondering if maybe this isn’t an Old Yeller type situation.
goddamn Saul

Source: tommymerlyyn

reconnoitre:

ardenashley:

destronomics:

The Skyler White EffectThe cognitive dissonance that happens when a female character is presented by the narrative as absolutely correct in their judgment of a male character, and yet the viewers assume she’s the bitch.

This.

I have to say, I continue to be disappointed by Skyler White. I mean, you just know she is WAY stronger than she’s letting on - in fact I admire her restraint. But I keep waiting for her inner Sarah Connor to be unleashed and it hasn’t been and she just seems so…constipated. 
She needs to get in touch with her inner bitch, because right now she just seems cunty.

I dislike Skyler just as much as I dislike Walter. If that’s an opinion that makes me some mansplaining-misogynist, then oh well.
Horrible people. All of ‘em… Skyler, Walter, misogynists, people who use the word “mansplaining.”
I’m on team Jesse. Or Hank.

reconnoitre:

ardenashley:

destronomics:

The Skyler White Effect
The cognitive dissonance that happens when a female character is presented by the narrative as absolutely correct in their judgment of a male character, and yet the viewers assume she’s the bitch.

This.

I have to say, I continue to be disappointed by Skyler White. I mean, you just know she is WAY stronger than she’s letting on - in fact I admire her restraint. But I keep waiting for her inner Sarah Connor to be unleashed and it hasn’t been and she just seems so…constipated. 

She needs to get in touch with her inner bitch, because right now she just seems cunty.

I dislike Skyler just as much as I dislike Walter. If that’s an opinion that makes me some mansplaining-misogynist, then oh well.

Horrible people. All of ‘em… Skyler, Walter, misogynists, people who use the word “mansplaining.”

I’m on team Jesse. Or Hank.

Source: destronomics