By ERICA BURNHAM
Breaking Bad, a crime drama television series about a high school chemistry teacher turned meth cooker, is widely regarded as one of the greatest television series of all time. The main character, Walter White (also known under the alias, Heisenberg), is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer and has two years to live. Walter decides to use his chemistry skills to cook methamphetamine (meth) so that his family will have financial stability after his death. The show then spirals into heavy drug manufacturing, usage and debauchery. Naturally, because of the show’s popularity, action figures modeling the characters in the show became available to the public at local stores, namely at Toys “R” Us. The action figures are modeled after Walter White, the high school chemistry teacher, and his partner-in-crime Jesse Pinkman, a drug dealer and former student of White. Both action figures come with a lab coat, two beakers and a gas mask.
Immediately, the toys raised controversy. One mother in Florida voiced selling the Breaking Bad action figures in children’s stores as inappropriate. One mother in Florida protested the distribution of these action figures in Toys “R” Us by creating a petition that now includes over 8,000 signatures advocating for all Toys “R” Us stores to remove the toys.
There is nothing wrong with selling action figures from this popular television show, but to do so in a store that primarily caters towards young children is inappropriate. It is more understandable for other stores like Target, Walmart and Barnes and Noble to distribute these action figures mainly because these stores are not centered around children. Toys “R” Us has stated that the action figures are only sold in the adult section of the store, but how often do you see adults go into children’s toy stores or even play with action figures for that matter?
When children play with action figures, they tend to act out the parts of the characters. If a six year old had any type of knowledge about the television show, to see a child play with drug paraphernalia and talk about “blue crystals” would be mildly horrifying. Not only is selling the action figures in a children’s store inappropriate, but it also does not make sense economically. I highly doubt such young children would know anything about the television show. Toys “R” Us is not going to be making a large profit on action figures from a television show that most children are unaware of.
All Breaking Bad action figures should be removed from Toys “R” Us. Protecting young children from idolizing drug usage and activity should not be too much to ask for.