Opinion

Breaking Bad toys: The real issue for parents

Parents have been up in arms about the Breaking Bad toys stocked at Toys 'R Us. But here's what they should really be concerned about.

Toys ‘R Us

You’re no longer able to buy Breaking Bad toy figures at Toys ‘R Us after an online petition and the ensuing media coverage. So, apologies to those who had a gun-wielding, meth-carrying Walter White action figure on their wish list.

Florida mom Susan Myers noticed the Breaking Bad figures at her local Toys ‘R Us and started an online petition at Change.org last week. The petition gathered more than 9,000 signatures before the company removed the figures from their shelves and website. Toys ‘R Us released a statement claiming that the figures are on “indefinite sabbatical” but assured the public that they were sold in limited quantities, were shelved in the adult section of their stores and were clearly marked with a stamp for ages 15 and up.

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The figures were based on characters from the Emmy Award-winning AMC series, which depicts a cancer-striken chemistry teacher who resorts to cooking and dealing meth to earn enough money to cover his hospital expenses and support his family. There were four figures in the Toys ‘R Us set, a couple of which came with Hazmat suits, a detachable bag of cash and a bag of blue meth.

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Bryan Cranston, who played Walter White in the series, tweeted a tongue-in-cheek response to the controversy:

I, for one, didn’t realize that Toys ‘R Us even had an adult action figure section, but I do know that there is a market for them. I often let my kids wander around toy stores so they can point out what toys they want (within reason) for their holiday lists.

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To be honest, I’m much more concerned with the violent toys that are actually aimed at young children than I am at a few Breaking Bad figures that are obviously geared toward the adult fans of the show. Sure, it might not have been the best decision on the part of Toys ‘R Us to sell the figures, but is anyone creating a petition about the videogame-based Mega Bloks Halo sets that are aimed at young kids? Or the scores of other violent toys and games that our kids covet?

Toys ‘R Us deserves their slap on the wrist for stocking Breaking Bad figures. However, we consumers have to shop carefully and spend wisely—especially when looking at the toys that are actually stocked in the children’s section. It’s the only way that the stores and toy manufacturers will stop and listen.

Emma Waverman is a writer, blogger and mom to three kids. She has many opinions, some of them are fit to print. Read more of her articles here and follow her on Twitter @emmawaverman.