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Skyler White: Happy Birthday, Mr. President


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#1

calliek

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Posted Mar 25, 2010 @ 7:02 AM

So we definitely need a thread on Skyler. I don't think she's going away, but I don't think she and Walt are getting back together, either.

Most people hate her. I'm in that camp.
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#2

ReadIshmael

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Posted Mar 25, 2010 @ 12:09 PM

Most people hate her. I'm in that camp.

I don't hate her, and I think the show would really lose something without her, but it's strange how hard it is to really sympathize with her, even after taking into account the way the show's focus and perspective encourages the audience to side with Walt. I mean, I understand where she's coming from even when I don't agree with her, and she's certainly a better person than Walt, and I'm not willing to blame her for any of his emotional issues that have led him down the Heisenberg path. And Anna Gunn really does a phenomenal job in the role and helps make her warmer and more human. Yet, I still can't really connect to her.
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#3

iggypop123

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Posted Mar 25, 2010 @ 5:20 PM

Most people hate her. I'm in that camp.


i dont hate her, just her attitude and personality. i know its done on purpose to make the show go, but she is not a likable person thanks to her actions.
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#4

Kris

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Posted Mar 25, 2010 @ 6:44 PM

What has Skyler done that has made her an "unlikable person?"

If anything she has every right to feel and behave the way she has - Walter has been uncommunicative, disappears all day and won't account for his whereabouts, is secretive, has been caught in lies and hasn't been acting like a true partner in the marriage.
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#5

Myndela

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Posted Mar 25, 2010 @ 8:17 PM

What has Skyler done that has made her an "unlikable person?"


She's just an unlikable character. You can't like everyone, I guess. Even at the beginning, before he started disappearing, she was shrewed and not my cup of tea. One of the things that I remember was her whole "Did you spend $14.59 (or whatever) at Office Depot? WALT, that's the credit card we DON'T USE!!!!!!" She is certainly isn't somebody that I would ever want to be friends with in real life, because she seemed to have the same put-upon personality as Walt, and was a big nag. I feel bad for her, and sympathize for her, but that doesn't mean that she is necessarily nice or likable.
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#6

calliek

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Posted Mar 25, 2010 @ 10:08 PM

I think my feelings for her come from her judgmental nature. She's just not fun, or funny, or even really loving or caring.

I see the writers' need to make her not TOO sympathetic...otherwise we'd hate Walt for what he's doing to her.
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#7

Myndela

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Posted Mar 25, 2010 @ 10:39 PM

I see the writers' need to make her not TOO sympathetic...otherwise we'd hate Walt for what he's doing to her.


I don't think we're supposed to really like Walt, either. At the beginning, maybe, but not now. But I do find Skyler sympathetic, even though I don't find her likable. I don't see how you can't sympathize, at least somewhat, with somebody in her position. Even with her judgemental, nagging and bitchy nature, look what she's dealing with. She has a son with CP, pregnant with a change in life baby, and a husband with terminal lung cancer who goes missing for all hours and tells her nothing. How awful and hard would that be?

But as much as I have come to dislike Walt, too, I still can find him sympathetic at times. Kinda like Tony Soprano.

Edited by Myndela, Mar 25, 2010 @ 10:41 PM.

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#8

iggypop123

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Posted Mar 25, 2010 @ 11:49 PM

i shouldnt have said actions, its the way in which she copes with walt's behavior. its almost as if she recognizes the cancer as an imaginary brick wall in their relationship and now just flat out ignores him her repulsiveness to walt is realistic but that is what makes people mad. the best part of the show is walt and jesse, so when they made an attempt to develop skylar's character in season 2 it kind of sucked. i dont care about her or her life, i get it they want to make her a strong woman, bla bla she isnt stupid etc.
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#9

calliek

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Posted Mar 26, 2010 @ 7:10 AM

I think she's also supposed to be overbearing in order to illustrate his meekness at the beginning.
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#10

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Posted Mar 26, 2010 @ 7:38 AM

I think what grates on me for Skyler is that she seems more preoccupied with roles than people. She is the good mother, when her husband was sick she was the loyal wife, she does what good wives/mothers are supposed to do. But I don't think Skyler and Walt ever connected as individuals. I almost got the impression that she and Walt both "settled" for someone they liked and could live with. I'm not saying they weren't fond of each other, or that it was a mercenary/arranged match or anything. Walt was probably rebounding from Gretchen and Skyler probably thought he was good enough. I have never seen signs of a deep devotion/love between them. Obviously the honeymoon stage goes away after a while--I'm pretty sure kids will do that to you--but they seemed to be together out of "Well, no good reason not to."

I was aggravated that she didn't work at the beginning. It's not like she had to be on call as Walter Jr.'s personal attendant while he was in school, and surely Beneke wasn't the only business in Alberqueque. Hell, part-time receptionist would have been a little more productive than moping around the house.

Ironic that she's nudging me towards the fault I see in her. Of course I feel sympathy for the wife/mother trying to salvage what's left as hubby goes to the dark side. I'd probably act similar if I were in her situation. But Skyler her own self can go pound sand.
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#11

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Posted Mar 26, 2010 @ 7:45 AM

You know, I don't understand why people go back to that printer paper charge from season 1 as an example of a nagging wife. In conjunction with other incidents, I suppose it can be incriminating, but the first episode set up for me the realities of Walt's financial problems.

He is making a high school teacher's salary, working part-time at a car wash, has a pregnant wife and a disabled son. The medical bills for his son and wife are likely high even after what insurance pays. For this reason, one almost believes he would feel pushed to sell meth after learning of his cancer diagnosis.

But to go back to the printer paper...a family with financial difficulties has to be very careful about their expenses. Skylar probably was keeping tabs on the credit card bills to make certain they didn't get into debt on top of everything else. The credit card could have had a high interest rate or something like that, so she kept it around for emergencies only or just didn't want to close it out for fear of what it would do to their credit rating.

Far from indicating that she's a difficult or controlling spouse, the example only illustrated to me how fragile the family's finances were at that time.
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#12

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Posted Mar 26, 2010 @ 10:19 AM

Skyler's nagging about trivial things, like which credit card to use, didn't really make me think badly of her, because I can understand the financial hardships they are dealing with. I gained more sympathy for her as the 2nd season went on, but from the beginning she really rubbed me the wrong way. I didn't like how she took it upon herself to discuss Walt's cancer diagnosis to his old colleagues (even though it was obviously necessary to the story, giving Walt an explanation for where the money comes from). I thought she was AWFUL during the "intervention", when it became clear that she only wanted everyone to agree with what she thought Walt should do. Once Hank and Marie explained that they thought it should be his decision, she completely lost it.

I think what grates on me for Skyler is that she seems more preoccupied with roles than people. She is the good mother, when her husband was sick she was the loyal wife, she does what good wives/mothers are supposed to do.


That's a really good point, and I think you're right. Like everyone else has said, I sympathize with her situation very much, because she truly is in a shitty position. But the way she interacts with people bugs me. She comes across as really condescending at times. I don't know what it is, but she just seems to view people as she thinks they should be, not as they really are.

ETA - It would be really interesting if they showed us some sort of flashback or something to when Walt and Skyler first got together, like with Walt and Gretchen. Or maybe not literally a flashback, but at least some insight into what their relationship used to be like. I know "opposites attract" and all, but it's difficult to see what would've drawn them together in the first place.

Edited by LethalCandy, Mar 26, 2010 @ 10:23 AM.

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#13

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Posted Mar 26, 2010 @ 4:39 PM

I liked Skyler in the beginning. I thought she was endearing when she was shocked by him in bed in the first episode, and when they ended up in the car "doing it", and when she was so self conscious about sausaging herself into the blue dress while hugely pregnant and go to that party.

I can't really pinpoint what the turning point was when I started to hate her. I suspect though, that it's when I first perceived her as a threat to his new persona. I almost feel guilty for admitting that I really loved all the scenes of Walt cooking his meth with Jesse and turning out his 'glass' ("yo, this is ART, Mr. White." - Jesse). All social ramifications aside, I found that part of the show to be spell-binding entertainment.

I wanted to like her again. Until her meeting with him at the hotel, I'd harbored a secret wish that Skyler would let him be. That she'd be a long-suffering, silent partner.
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#14

ReadIshmael

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Posted Mar 26, 2010 @ 8:42 PM

I suspect though, that it's when I first perceived her as a threat to his new persona.

I think this raises an interesting point. One of the brilliant things about Walt's character arc is that his new life actually fits him really well. He is invigorated by it, it suits some of his long-hidden unpleasant qualities, and he likes the credit he's getting for the quality of product. And even though I believe that he loves his family and that he would still choose them, his normal life looks really dreary and dull and stifling in comparison. I think that partially by design (so they could make sure to sell the attraction of being Heisenberg) and partly as a consequence of how compelling Walt's other life is for him and the audience, Skyler is hard to like. Because part of him and much of the audience would choose for him to stick with his other life, and because even if I don't like her I can certainly recognize that she deserves better than Walt, there's no way for me to root for them to be together, so she's just the tether fixing him to a place where he doesn't belong.

Breaking them up, and giving her something to do besides be suspicious and disapproving, and making her more than a representation of Walt's discontentment, could change all that, though.
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#15

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Posted Mar 28, 2010 @ 6:40 PM

I'm looking forward to Skyler confronting Walt with where he was when Holly was born.

"Tell me: You were selling your drugs."

"Yes, but it was a huge drug deal! Want some of the money?"
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#16

Myndela

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Posted Mar 28, 2010 @ 6:55 PM

Does anybody think that Skyler would actually be an awesome businesswoman, and would be a huge asset to the entire drug selling operation? I can see her being absolutely ruthless, and I think that she would be much better than Walt in dealing with people like Gus and Saul.
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#17

calliek

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Posted Mar 28, 2010 @ 10:16 PM

Skyler is toeing a very fine line here. How long can she damn Walt for performing criminal activities while she covers up for grabby-hands Beneke?
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#18

iggypop123

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Posted Mar 28, 2010 @ 10:21 PM

Skyler is toeing a very fine line here. How long can she damn Walt for performing criminal activities while she covers up for grabby-hands Beneke?


thats what the writers are going for. i already envision a scenario where they become love interets and the immediate question will be how can she love a criminal that fixes money to himself to her original husband who is a criminal but just happens to be meth?
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#19

Irlandesa

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Posted Mar 28, 2010 @ 10:24 PM

Skyler is toeing a very fine line here. How long can she damn Walt for performing criminal activities while she covers up for grabby-hands Beneke?

Well she's technically covering up for Walt as well. Every second she doesn't turn him in is a second he's not in jail for being a drug dealer.

I do think the writers are going for that duality but, on the other hand, because she kicked Walt out, she's in need of her job more than ever. I suspect it'll become a "which is worse" situation.
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#20

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Posted Mar 29, 2010 @ 7:43 AM

Skyler's justifying things to herself I think in that she's not actively engaged in criminal activities. She didn't say to Ted "Here's how you jiggle the numbers," she said "This looks off (and this and this and this)." As long as she's not the one committing the crime, she can tell herself that she's not at fault. Maybe Walt's too close for her to rationalize like that. With Ted, it's not right, but he's doing it for employee health insurance and such and it's a victimless crime as far as she knows. Drugs have victims and endanger her children, so she's not going to go along with it.

She would be a kick-ass ally in Heisenberg's business, but the very things that would make her an asset for that are also what make her a very formidable opponent.

Wardrobe's having fun. Notice how she's wearing black and white this past episode?
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#21

smurfty

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Posted Mar 29, 2010 @ 8:33 AM

It seems Skyler can handle the illegality so long as it's not "too glaring".

I'm fully signed up to the "can't stand Skyler" camp ever since the pilot where she was dishing out some tofu bacon to the family oblivious and uncaring to the fact that they obviously couldn't stomach it and thought she was giving Walt a great birthday treat by giving him a hand-job while simultaneously checking her ebay auction.
She struck me as someone who arranged family life for her convenience while ignoring the wants or needs of the rest of her family.
I couldn't see why Walt was so devoted to her. Still can't tbh.
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#22

thatguy01

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Posted Mar 29, 2010 @ 8:58 AM

As long as she's not the one committing the crime, she can tell herself that she's not at fault.


As long as she's not the one committing the crime, she won't go to jail. At this point, she'll settle for that.
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#23

LethalCandy

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Posted Mar 29, 2010 @ 9:14 AM

So I guess we're to assume that Skyler reconsidered and went back to her job simply because of her attraction to Ted? She is clearly uncomfortable with what he is doing. I don't see why she couldn't get a job elsewhere if she wanted to, so it's not like she's stuck there and has to compromise. So I wasn't sure why she chose to go back even after claiming she did not want to be involved.

On another note... I don't know anything about child custody laws in NM, but would Skyler have an easy time getting full custody of their kids, without providing a real reason for wanting Walt to stay away from them? Or even getting a restraining order, for that matter? Provided she doesn't rat Walt out about his illegal activities, is she going to have to come up with a lie to be granted full custody or get a restraining order against him? I'm pretty clueless here so hopefully someone can clarify for me :)

Edited by LethalCandy, Mar 29, 2010 @ 2:33 PM.

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#24

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Posted Mar 29, 2010 @ 10:22 AM

I'm looking forward to Skyler confronting Walt with where he was when Holly was born.


I think it's interesting that she hasn't confronted him on an emotional level at all. I wonder if that will happen. Skye and Walt were both pretty repressed when the show started. Walt's rage is coming out now, but I wonder if Skye's ever will. She has to be feeling it.

People's reaction to Skylar reminds me a lot of the reaction people had to Rita on Dexter. I wonder if the show will go the predictable route and kill Skylar. I think maybe so and then Heisenburg will completely take over.
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#25

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Posted Mar 30, 2010 @ 6:34 PM

If her boss gets caught or is in danger of it (and her too, by association, omission, or fact), I wonder if she'll come to Walt for money.

This show does lend itself to a whole lot of 'what if'-ing.
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#26

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Posted Apr 1, 2010 @ 11:44 PM

I too hate Skyler, but I'm really hard-pressed to come up with a reason for this. Of the examples cited already, only the Intervention really sticks in my mind: the set-up where she putatively wanted people to say how they felt, but only if they agreed with her.

I too wonder why she wasn't working when the show opened. Clearly she had had a job in the recent past (Mr Grabby Hands sounding like a relatively recent thing when bought up in conversation). When she left there, why not get another job? Or did she have to manufacture some lie for Walt to explain leaving that company, something that made it seem like her working was a bad idea? From his reaction when she was re-hired there, he knew nothing of Mr. Grabby-Hands, so the version Skyler told him was apparently different to what she told Marie.
Either way, surely she could pick up a little part-time work, or temp or something, rather than have her husband work some humiliating minimum wage job?
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#27

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Posted Apr 2, 2010 @ 10:34 PM

I too wonder why she wasn't working when the show opened. Clearly she had had a job in the recent past (Mr Grabby Hands sounding like a relatively recent thing when bought up in conversation). When she left there, why not get another job? Or did she have to manufacture some lie for Walt to explain leaving that company, something that made it seem like her working was a bad idea? From his reaction when she was re-hired there, he knew nothing of Mr. Grabby-Hands, so the version Skyler told him was apparently different to what she told Marie.
Either way, surely she could pick up a little part-time work, or temp or something, rather than have her husband work some humiliating minimum wage job?


I think this is Skyler's whole character arc. She has been the one in control throughout her and Walt's entire relationship. Our first encounter with Skyler was when she was admonishing Walt for a (IIRC) $14.00 purchase on a credit card. If a $14.00 purchase is threatening your family's budget, then you've got more problems than a $14.00 purchase! She has always been shown to value her image to outsiders rather than her role in the family. She always worries how she will look in the course of a given situation rather than what will benefit the family unit. She wants to be seen as the strong one, the person who is in control. When they are at a doctor's office, it is always Skyler who asserts authority, asking the doctor about any sort of advanced treatment regimes, rather than asking what will make Walt feel better. The only times we have seen her in a submissive role are in the few (maybe 2) sexual situations where Walt takes control and leads her to a situation where she isn't in control and isn't comfortable, but clearly, is excited. She may only be comfortable when she's in control, but she's also only truly satisfied when another leads her to a place where she would never let herself go.

I think she's in the same situation at Beneke. As the accountant, she's in control. She can tell Ted what in his books is wrong. She can tell him that she will, in no uncertain terms, not sign off on his business practices. She lets him "fix" it, so that it's okay. It's not right or moral, but she won't be liable. She also plays up her attractiveness to Ted. She knows that he has a thing for her, and she uses it to get the upper hand on him. She looked better, nine months pregnant, in that blue dress when she sang "Happy Birthday" to him, than she ever had the entire run of the series up to that point. Now that she is seperated, she still uses that attraction between them to get the upper hand, although she definitely did draw it down when Ted noticed that she didn't have her wedding ring on anymore. She defintely tried to cover up her obvious cleavage by sliding the accounts book to the other side of the table so Ted wouldn't be sitting next to her.

I still don't like Skyler, but I think I understand her motives. She is a person who needs to be in control of any situation that she's in - whether it's financial, or a relationship. She only feels comfortable when she's in control. She knows that when she gives up control, (like when she lets Walt have sex with her in the car or when he begins foreplay at a parent-teacher conference) that she becomes a person who she, herself, doesn't approve of. She's like the antithesis of the addicts on this show - she loves that feeling of ecstasy she gets from letting herself go, but she knows that (at least to her) no good can come of it, so she won't let herself go. She must remain in control. It's who she is.
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#28

Kris

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Posted Apr 4, 2010 @ 10:23 PM

bbob:

She also plays up her attractiveness to Ted. She knows that he has a thing for her, and she uses it to get the upper hand on him. She looked better, nine months pregnant, in that blue dress when she sang "Happy Birthday" to him, than she ever had the entire run of the series up to that point. Now that she is seperated, she still uses that attraction between them to get the upper hand,...


Get the upper hand indeed! I'm sure Walt was reeling from her little revelation that she slept with Ted. Man, she really upped the ante with that deed. I wonder if Walt will leave the house now.
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#29

ReadIshmael

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Posted Apr 4, 2010 @ 10:31 PM

Man, I didn't think she had it in her. I was horrified at how she told Walt, but I also thought it was awesome. I mean, it's not fair to Ted, and it was so cruel, but I can't say Walt didn't deserve it for what he was doing to her throughout the whole episode (the scene with the cops really made me feel horrible for her), even besides the fact that he was cheating on her that whole time with his other life, and that she's not in the relationship, anymore, anyway, so it's kind of none of his business if she sleeps with Ted or not. But that was hardcore, and bodes well for the character getting some more interesting writing this season.
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#30

Medi

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Posted Apr 5, 2010 @ 12:00 AM

When she wore that dress, cut down to there, I thought something was up. Skyler may or may not have had sex with Ted. We didn't see those scenes between the time she asked Ted if his kids were home, and when she pulled into the driveway. But telling Walt she did could be a great way to get him to leave the house. However, her plan might backfire again, just like changing the locks on the house did. Walt is determined to get his family back.

Edited by Medi, Apr 5, 2010 @ 12:11 AM.

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