Apparently Some People Still Can’t Differentiate Between Actors and the Characters They Play

TV-Breaking Bad-GunnHow is it that I figured out that Mark Hamill wasn’t Luke Skywalker as a little boy, yet what I’m guessing are full-grown adults are still struggling with the “actor does not equal character” lesson is beyond me. Apparently actress Anna Gunn is catching a lot of heat from deranged “Breaking Bad” fans who hate her character Skyler White. It’s not as simple as all that, though. Apparently some people just really, really hate what Gunn describes as “strong, nonsubmissive, ill-treated women” I wasn’t aware of this hatred for the character until I did a simple Google Image Search for “Skyler White” and had trouble finding one that didn’t have “cunt” or “bitch” written on it.

Via Rolling Stone:

But Gunn admits being shocked by the degree of some fans’ hatred, expressed on the show’s message boards, as well as personal websites and popular Facebook pages devoted to taking down Skyler. The contempt for the fictional character even spilled over into personal attacks on the actress herself. “Could somebody tell me where I can find Anna Gunn so I can kill her?” one post asked.

Gunn writes that she became concerned about what this surge of emotion says about viewers’ perceptions of women and wives. “My character, to judge from the popularity of Web sites and Facebook pages devoted to hating her, has become a flash point for many people’s feelings about strong, nonsubmissive, ill-treated women,” she writes, and notes that a similar contempt had been directed toward Mad Men’s Betty Draper and The Sopranos‘ Carmela Sporano.

Keep reading.

46 Comments on "Apparently Some People Still Can’t Differentiate Between Actors and the Characters They Play"

  1. bobbiethejean | Aug 25, 2013 at 5:11 pm |

    What!? Misogyny is still alive and well? No way! Next you assholes at Disinfo will be trying to convince me that bears shit in the woods and dogs piss on brick walls!

    • Anarchy Pony | Aug 25, 2013 at 5:59 pm |

      I ain’t never seen a dog piss on a brick wall before.

      • bobbiethejean | Aug 25, 2013 at 8:47 pm |

        I’ve never seen a bear shit in the woods either but presumably they don’t make for the nearest public restroom when they have to drop a duce. Although…….. that would explain a few things.

        • Noah_Nine | Aug 25, 2013 at 10:29 pm |

          when bears shit in a rural community’s water supply people get sick….

          • Eric_D_Read | Aug 25, 2013 at 10:44 pm |

            If bears are shitting in a community’s water supply, they’re not really rural.
            In a balanced ecosystem, the bears fish in water supplies. Unlike humans, they tend not to shit where they eat.

    • Alex Gauthier | Aug 25, 2013 at 6:15 pm |


    • as if all strong women are hated. One manufactured character, gets flack and you act like we hate every woman on earth. Keep it in context. You bobbie are quite annoying and long winded when you write, and that would be the same if you were not a fatty with a chip on your shoulder and were strong annoying male. go get laid and call it a day

      • bobbiethejean | Aug 25, 2013 at 9:00 pm |

        as if all strong women are hated

        It’s a fairly well known trope that both men and women often react very poorly to strong female characters, perceiving them as bitchy, mannish, or uppity. This isn’t even in contention. I can give you a list of examples and possible biological/evolutionary explanations, if you like.

        Besides, that’s not actually the point I was making. Skyler is bitchy, apparently. I don’t really see her that way but that’s beside the point. Anna gunn is just an actress playing a role and she doesn’t deserve people’s hatred. There are people actually threatening HER as in HER, not hating Skyler, hating HER. Do you understand how monumentally preposterous that is?

        You bobbie are quite annoying and long winded when you write, and that would be the same if you were not a fatty with a chip on your shoulder and were strong annoying male. go get laid and call it a day

        I’m just going to leave that there and let anyone who wanders by bask in the radiant glow of your magnitudinously bigoted ad hominem glory.

        • You’re giving shitty people way too much credit. It’s the total morons that would actually threaten her in real life. Why even spend time worrying about that and pretending misogyny has run amok overnight? Jesus fucking christ. People think her character is a bitch because SHE IS A BITCH. People think the character is manly because she IS, except for her immediate and constant emotional overthrows and manipulations. Shit. You’re supposed to hate her. You’re supposed to hate Walt at this point. But that’s not fun for the annoying bitches who relate to Skyler White, so let’s fucking hear the evolutionary explanation as to why you’re so correct. Thanks.

          “Strong female characters”…that bitch used her pussy and tits as aids to her wit. How strong of her. Now she’s an alcoholic who over dramatizes her living situation while making millions of dollars by babysitting. If this is the idea of a strong female character, THAN NO WONDER MISOGYNY EXISTS. GROW A PAIR OF WOMAN BALLS AND WRITE AN ACTUAL STRONG WOMAN CHARACTER. YOU HAVE LOW FUCKING STANDARDS IF THIS IS STRENGTH IN WOMEN.

          • bobbiethejean | Aug 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm |

            If you don’t think misogyny is still a problem, all you need to do is step back and look at the filth you shat out into that textfield above. Then again, I suspect someone so lacking in the self and social awareness which usually prevents people from thinking such things (let alone spewing them out into a public forum), probably also lacks the introspection necessary to assess such a hilariously self-referencing, ignorance bestrewn diatribe.

    • This is someone who has says and does things that burn you up! Jealous and possessive, this individual is notorious for laying a guilt trip on others, blaming the whole world for his or her problems. You may have a Devil of a time trying to work this one out because any association with this individual comes with a price. Ask yourself if it is worth it. Consider distancing yourself from this individual. In time, emotions may simmer down.

      • bobbiethejean | Aug 25, 2013 at 8:51 pm |

        I think you might have read the wrong one. I’m actually a Sagittarius. What? You mean you weren’t reading a horoscope at me? My bad. That’s what it sounded like.

    • Matt Staggs | Aug 25, 2013 at 7:35 pm |

      I guess I probably shouldn’t take being called an asshole personally, but I’ve always felt our relationship was genial.

      • bobbiethejean | Aug 25, 2013 at 8:49 pm |

        I use the term with great affection, really. That’s just my nature. My mother and I say “I love you” by telling each other to fuck off or alternately, go eat a butt. Sometimes I forget the rest of the world isn’t as demented as my family. 😛

    • I think the level of misogyny affecting Skyler’s character would be the equivalent of same level as people who saw Gus Fring as a villain because he was black. That’s to say very little. I sympathize with her character, but she is not even close to being a good person. Aside from that, the reason people dislike Skyler is because she is a plot killjoy.

      • bobbiethejean | Aug 25, 2013 at 9:09 pm |

        The point is more that people are taking dislike of Skyler and putting it on the actual actress herself. It’s a phenomenon that seems to be aimed almost exclusively at women who play a certain type of character. I read a story about how one actress actually had things thrown at her because people didn’t like the character she played on TV. It just seems like people, both men and women, get bizarrely aggravated at strong, female characters, regardless of whether or not the character is good or bad. They are often seen as bitchy, mannish, or uppity.

        • Eric_D_Read | Aug 25, 2013 at 10:19 pm |

          “The point is more that people are taking dislike of Skyler and putting it on the actual actress herself. It’s a phenomenon that seems to be aimed almost exclusively at women who play a certain type of character.”

          I don’t know about that. I know some fanatical Game of Thrones fans who wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they strangled the kid who plays King Joffrey in the street; and everyone on the show who’s mentioned anything about him has said he’s the nicest kid in the world.

          • bobbiethejean | Aug 25, 2013 at 10:25 pm |

            But is he actually getting threats and getting things thrown at him? I dunno. This kinda things seems to happen very often to actresses but ultimately, maybe it’s not misogyny that’s the problem. Maybe it’s just stupid people. XD

          • Eric_D_Read | Aug 25, 2013 at 10:36 pm |

            In a twisted way, it’s compliment to the acting and writing on the show.
            I love Breaking Bad, but I don’t find Skyler White particularly terrible. She’s as complex as any of the rest of the cast -hates how the money is being made, but as tempted by a pile of money you can make a king sized bed with as Walt is.

            My Hypothesis -Maybe it’s really about the spectacular job Bryan Cranston is doing. I think to really feel a hate for Skyler over the last few seasons, you have to be experiencing the show through the eyes of Walter White.

          • bobbiethejean | Aug 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm |

            I don’t see how a good job of casting, directing, and acting leads to people hating an actress for merely playing her part. And I’ve seen this phenomenon happen time and time again on shows that aren’t anywhere near as good. Look at what happens to the actresses on crap shows like Teen Wolf and Supernatural. Granted, the aggressors are mostly jealous females but you see the same things. Some of these actresses have actually had things thrown at them! How stupid is that? As if the actresses ARE the characters.

            I have never heard of this happening to actors. I’m not saying it doesn’t. Perhaps like so many cases of violence or abuse against men, it never gets talked about. One thing is for certain regardless of whether or not misogyny is at the heart of this issue: it’s a special kind of stupid to be angry at an actress or actor for nothing more than playing a character viewers happen to dislike.

        • kowalityjesus | Aug 26, 2013 at 3:39 am |

          I feel like this would make a really good South Park episode. Its ridiculous enough and it fits their tone.

    • This is how we say “i love you in my family” do you like it? Maybe you are just hanging out with the wrong people, because here where I live, women rule, everything. I suggest you pack your bags and search for a place that you dont feel so hated, especially since it seem like you live your life behind a screen and all your data is circumstantial. The world is a much nicer place if you are not constantly pissed off at some phantom from the internet (ben affleck was awesome in phantoms yo). Try laying off the gluten and your head just might clear up enough for you to become a competent poet. the hard to digest protein can wreak havoc in a sensitives person neurological system. See I’m a troll, I like stirring shit up as much as you do. And in my defense, I try to read the lengthy manuscripts you write trying to compile all the data you think know, but my mind just shuts off from all the arrogance. Don’t try so hard, it shows. Just let the words flow. Some of the best books i’ve read had plenty of spelling and grammar errors, because their authors were too busy studying and living to edit for hours. intelligent people do not need everything spelled out for them. Good day.

      • bobbiethejean | Aug 28, 2013 at 10:06 pm |

        Maybe you are just hanging out with the wrong people No, that’s just how we converse. It’s just different. I have a very good relationship with my family and friends. We’re just a little weird.

        because here where I live, women rule, everything.
        Where are you living? Certainly not in the US. Women constitute a very small portion of government and other positions of authority.

        data is circumstantial. The fact that women are a tiny minority in the government, the glass ceiling, and the wage gap are real, document, and substantial issues.

        pissed off at some phantom They’re not phantoms when they shout you down, call you ugly, shrill, and unfeminine merely for expressing an opinion. *Coughs in your direction…. and many, many others.*

        See I’m a troll I see that.

        I like stirring shit up as much as you do I don’t like stirring up shit for the sake of stirring up shit. I like exchanging ideas with other people and expressing my opinions.

        but my mind just shuts off from all the arrogance Most of the time I try to present my data (which I ALWAYS try to back up from well established sources) in a clinical, objective format but indeed, sometimes I can’t resist sneering at idiots who don’t accept evolution or who think there’s a magical man in the sky or who think pumping metric fucktons of shit into the air can’t possibly have any consequences for the environment.

        Just let the words flow. Alas, writing is not in my stars. I am terribly prone to purple prose and I cannot resist the temptation to go back and edit over and over before moving forward. 😉

    • Lookinfor Buford | Aug 26, 2013 at 11:04 am |

      Distaste for manly bitchy women != misogyny

      • bobbiethejean | Aug 26, 2013 at 12:26 pm |

        Calling intelligent, independent, strong women in positions of authority mannish, bitchy, or uppity is misogynistic. I shouldn’t need to explain that.

        • Lookinfor Buford | Aug 26, 2013 at 2:33 pm |

          My mistake, from what I’ve read, her character fit my description better, but I do not watch the show. All combinations of your adjectives and mine are possible right? Which combos are acceptably unlikeable without being a misogynist?

        • Lookinfor Buford | Aug 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm |

          Better question.. Is someone who seriously despises feminists in general, but has a high level of respect and admiration, and even shows subservience to women in general, a misogynist?

          • bobbiethejean | Aug 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm |

            No. Misogyny is very simply defined as hatred of women.

            I don’t know why any one would despise feminists though, not if they know what feminism actually is. A feminist’s goal is to fight for gender equality for both men and women. Modern feminists consider male issues right alongside female issues. Blaming or hating all feminists for the actions of a few assholes who are really just using feminism as a cover for their misandry is like hating all black people because a few black people have done bad things.

            This is the part where you say “Well every feminist I’ve ever seen….:” No. THOSE are the assholes. They just get more attention because they’re more vocal and more outrageous. Most modern feminists only want fair consideration for both genders. That’s what it means to be a feminist….. or what it is supposed to mean.

            As to why I do not consider myself a feminist, I am, technically, though I do not like the name. I feel it is inherently exclusive. I’d prefer a term like Can’t-we-all-just-get-alongist. 😉

          • Lookinfor Buford | Aug 26, 2013 at 4:55 pm |

            Sorry, I should have said, feminists who speak loudly. 😉 jk
            I’m not black and white about someone’s character. I can understand women feeling oppressed, but I think we are seeing the ‘be careful what you ask for’ phenomenon play itself out. There are real, useful, (imo) desirable, large differences between the sexes. There are *some* roles better suited for each, no matter how much people want to deny it. These are especially evident in child rearing, and neither side wins the ‘most important’ award. The dichotomy itself is most important.
            I hope anyone who reads this understands this is a generalization about the majority of people, without regard to the exceptions or the gender-identity challenged.
            Frankly, I like my women to be women. And likewise, the women that like me, like men who are men.
            I apologize for rambling, but I think words like misogynist are used a bit loosely nowadays. And we can definitely get along, even if we argue. Because I love ya’, and wouldn’t want to change ya’. I like women.

          • bobbiethejean | Aug 26, 2013 at 10:21 pm |

            You make some fair points, actually. I’ll try to be more constrained about tossing around the word “misogynist” in the future.

          • Lookinfor Buford | Aug 27, 2013 at 4:54 pm |

            Thanks. That concession says something very positive about you.
            In return, I promise I will not call girls ugly when they reject me 😉

          • Matt Staggs | Aug 28, 2013 at 10:10 am |

            Bobbie, when are you going to start writing some stuff for us?

          • bobbiethejean | Aug 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm |

            I actually do have something in the works. :3

          • Monkey See Monkey Do | Aug 27, 2013 at 5:14 am |

            Personally I appreciate a good linguistic trick, it can send some mad though… The word feminist was an excellent spell, just like atheist, fascist or communist. These linguistic ‘tricks’ should not be ignored or discarded because ultimately its the polarity of semantics that helps us navigate the world we understand with words, all being useful ‘spells’. People just go mad with the map and start to think its the territory though.

  2. BuzzCoastin | Aug 25, 2013 at 7:14 pm |

    Most People Still Can’t Differentiate Between Fake & Faker & Media Spin

  3. I read this yesterday and still can’t wrap my mind around the concept there are people who have watched Walter White cook meth, get his brother-in-law shot, cause a plane crash, murder his rivals and generally destroy the lives of everyone around him…and they get mad at his wife for not being supportive enough.

    • His wife is an unbearable harpy. But yeah at this point it’s pretty obvious you’re not supposed to see anything but EGO! EGO! Stamped across Walter White’s head. Obviously some people have too big of an ego to see that. Or they’re just distracted by how downright cunty and ridiculous Skyler is, or at how pointlessly dedicated to having breakfast and dinner together they are. Holy shit, why go through Skyler’s non-response/waltz to the bedroom every single night? WE GET IT! Wait, what was I talking about? Where am I?

  4. emperorreagan | Aug 25, 2013 at 8:01 pm |

    Not surprising, really, that people would have trouble differentiating actors from characters. They have a relationship with the show, their TV, whatever. That the actor is a human is inconsequential…until you hit the level of fame that you’re on TMZ and just play yourself in every movie – which people watch because they’re obsessed with you, not because of the quality of the movie.

  5. Hadrian999 | Aug 25, 2013 at 8:30 pm |

    usually those characters are mind numbingly stupid as well as for betty draper she’s an outright psychopath

  6. Actors draw from personal experience and cater to their strengths. You can’t just act like someone’s performance is completely removed from them as a person. After reading her NYT writing, I wouldn’t be surprised if she shares similarities with her character. Skyler nags. What person nags about their character (of questionable morals) being hated? Someone like Skyler. What person would blame a complex issue solely on gender? Someone like Skyler. Her character is hypocritical, too weak to show concern for the safety of her children, and aiding a notorious criminal. Apparently Anna Gunn can’t separate herself from the character she plays.

  7. This is why we can never have nice things.

  8. DeepCough | Aug 26, 2013 at 12:40 am |

    What the hell is wrong with people? If they knew anything, they’d know that Anne-Marie is the real bitch.

  9. Russell Grant | Aug 26, 2013 at 10:33 am |

    I dislike all of the characters on that show. Skyler specifically, not because she’s “strong, nonsubmissive…” but because she’s a selfish, meglamaniac, crazy bitch who cheats on her husband and could care less about her kid.

  10. I want to see “Flo: the movie”

  11. InfvoCuernos | Aug 26, 2013 at 10:17 pm |

    I think men are just tired of contrary women. If you’re first instinct is to argue with a man, even before you have thought through their point of view, maybe that’s you. However, in this case, I think the writers deliberately made Skyler difficult to like with her pregnant smoking and cheating on Walt.

  12. The misogyny angle is definitely relevant, but I think this type of behavior speaks equally to the fanatic’s tenuous grasp of reality in general. To conflate an actress with her fictional character is to blur the line between life and entertainment. It spotlights our desire for escapism and demonstrates that powerfully written, three dimensional TV characters can warp some people’s perception of what’s truly important.

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