Monday, July 22, 2013

I Wish That I Had Jesse's Girls

To misquote Rick Springfield, "I wish that I had Jesse's girls. Where can I find hot women like that?"

Which of Jesse's girls do you think is the hotter?

Vote now!

Why All This Hatred Toward Skyler White on Breaking Bad?

As a writer, I admire the literary craftsmanship upgirding the television series “Breaking Bad,” of which I have been a diehard fan since receiving season #1 as a Father’s Day gift a month ago. One month. As the song goes, “Just one look, that’s all it took.” After enjoying the seven episodes of season #1 in a marathon viewing session that saw me repeat-watching the entire season twice more (Yes, that made a total of three times straight), I went to the neighborhood Wal-Mart, purchased seasons #2-#4, and watched them straight through too.

Now, the amazing thing about this marathon was that, because I am so selective in my viewing, I never watch TV on a regular basis except for sports.

To see what I want when I want, and to cut out the commercials, I have my favorite programs and series on DVD. Pretty much none of the newer stuff is in this group. Reality shows? Never. Not my thing at all. Well, maybe "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Ok, so what I’m a gambler? Stop judging me.

At first I turned my nose up at my son when I opened my gift, gave him the obligatory ’Thanks,” and proceeded to unwrap my other, better (I assumed) presents.

But the kid wasn’t going to let me get away with it that easy. He said, “Watch it now.”

“I’ll watch it later.”

“Do it now. You won’t hate it I promise.”

“I will hate it. You know that.”

“I’m going to sit right here until you watch it.”

“But I want to finish opening my good gifts.”

“Put them down. Watch this show. It will be the best gift you got this year.”


“I’ll bet you ten dollars.”


And the gambler set down his other petty gifts and proceeded to run the first mile of the aforementioned marathon.

Two hours later when I was on about episode 3, my son stuck his head out of his room. “Was I right?”


“I knew it!”

“The ten bucks is in my wallet on the bed. “

"And one more thing. Game of Thrones."

Groan. "We'll talk about it."

"You'll like it I promise."


Fifty or sixty hours later, I am a certified “Breaking Bad” expert. Walt, Jesse, Hank, Skyler, Marie, Walt Jr., and all the villains are friends of mine. There are many posts I have set to write about the series after I do a bit more research—research through which I have discovered to my horror just how much one of my favorite characters is reviled. Skyler White.

Skyler? Why her?

I have some ides about the unexpected and undeserved reaction to our longsuffering heroine, but more on that later. First let’s read what the creator of the series has to say on this hatred towards one of my favs.


“Breaking Bad’ Creator Vince Gilligan Calls Skyler White Haters Misogynists, ‘Plain And Simple’"

The most intense and exciting show on television, Breaking Bad, is due back in August, and the cast has been really great about promoting the show between the two parts of the fifth season throughout the year. In fact, the showrunner and creator, Vince Gilligan, did an interview with New York Magazine on Sunday (which was sadly overlooked by most in the flurry of upfront and Arrested Development news), but he had some interesting things to say about Skyler White, the character played by Anna Gunn. More to the point, he thinks Skyler haters are, well, woman haters.

This is what he had to say when Vulture asked him how he takes the fact that many see Skyler as a nag, a henpecking shrew:


“Man, I don’t see it that way at all. We’ve been at events and had all our actors up onstage, and people ask Anna Gunn, “Why is your character such a bitch?” And with the risk of painting with too broad a brush, I think the people who have these issues with the wives being too bitchy on Breaking Bad are misogynists, plain and simple. I like Skyler a little less now that she’s succumbed to Walt’s machinations, but in the early days she was the voice of morality on the show. She was the one telling him, “You can’t cook crystal meth.” She’s got a tough job being married to this asshole. And this, by the way, is why I should avoid the Internet at all costs. People are griping about Skyler White being too much of a killjoy to her meth-cooking, murdering husband? She’s telling him not to be a murderer and a guy who cooks drugs for kids. How could you have a problem with that?”


Well, this is going to get touchy, and nobody wants to take the side of the “misogynists.” Personally, I’ve never had that much of a problem with Skyler White — as opposed to someone like Winona on Justified two and three seasons ago, and Rita on Dexter — but I actually think that Gilligan might be missing a bigger point.

Undoubtedly, if, in real life, people actually thought a woman like Skyler White — who was telling her husband not to cook meth and murder people — was a “bitch,” then yes, you’d be rightly accused of misogyny. But this is a fictional show, and one where Gilligan has created this dark, dark anti-hero-turned-villain with whom we’ve developed a emotional investment. The people that hate Skyler — and I’m not counting myself among them — don’t necessarily hate her because she’s a “henpecking” shrew, but because she’s an obstacle to Walter White, who, despite ourselves, we kind of root for (although, not as much of late).

Ironically, Gilligan says that he likes “Skyler a little less now that she’s succumbed to Walt’s machinations,” and I think that’s the opposite of how many of us feel, mostly because she’s become a much more interesting character, now that she is unwillingly and passively aggressively going along with Walt. We also think it’s only a matter of time before she snaps.

Here’s the thing: the “Internet” doesn’t root for characters in dark dramas based on morality or lack thereof — I mean, look at Nucky Thompson or Dexter or Hannibal or anyone on Game of Thrones — we root for characters based on how dynamic or interesting or compelling they are. They are works of fiction. They are not reality, and our sense of morality is divorced from our desires to be entertained. Vince Gilligan has created one of the most complex, most interesting characters in all of television history, so naturally, we’re going to root against anyone that stands in his way. But, because we are human, we will also celebrate the person that ultimately takes him down, even if — and maybe especially if — that person is Skyler White.

Oh, and one other thing: Let’s not forget that she did f**k Ted.

By Dustin Rowles (5.14.13)

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All or Nothing

All or Nothing

Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

World Series of Poker


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Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.