Actress Anna Gunn said in a weekend op-ed article that her character of Skyler White on the television series "Breaking Bad" had become a lightning rod.
Gunn wrote in The New York Times that the sometimes vitriolic criticism she has attracted from "Breaking Bad" fans was reflective of American society's views toward strong female characters and their family relationships.
"I'm concerned that so many people react to Skyler with such venom," Gunn wrote. "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?"
Gunn also broke the seeming controversy down to literary terms. She proposed that since her television husband, teacher turned drug dealer Walter White, was basically the hero of the series, someone like Skyler who calls him on his actions would be relegated to antagonist stature.
"As the one character who consistently opposes Walter and calls him on his lies, Skyler is, in a sense, his antagonist," Gunn wrote. "So from the beginning, I was aware that she might not be the show's most popular character."
Gunn expressed a similar theory earlier this year in Rolling Stone. She said in that interview that Walter's renegade status was attractive to viewers who also see Skyler as his ball-and-chain because she doesn't respect his involvement in methamphetamine.
"People watching want to be Walt, or they identify with him," she said. "He doesn't have to answer to anybody."
"When Skyler says: 'No, you shouldn't do that,' they're like, 'What is her deal!? What's wrong with her?'"