In this week’s edition of “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” fans of “Breaking Bad” won’t be able to find action figures of Walter White and Jesse Pinknman at Toys R Us toy stores anytime soon.
A couple of days ago, THR reported that Susan Schrivjer, a mother in Florida, had started a petition online (where all important arguments begin) to have Toys R Us remove “Breaking Bad” action figures from shelves after she was “very shocked, appalled” to find the toys based on the meth-dealing characters from the show on sale. The woman added, “I just think they need to look at their visions and values as they call them. Anything to do with drugs is not doing the right thing.”
Toys R Us initially responded to NBC News, “The product packaging clearly notes that the items are not intended for ages 15 and up” and also the figures are located “in the adult action figure area of our stores.” But the over 8,500 signatures from people who had nothing better to do during the week intimidated Toys R Us, and the store announced with a bit of a wink to fans of the show that the figures would be taking an “indefinite sabbatical” from the store.
This is absolutely ridiculous. Obviously, Toys R Us has a brand to protect, and they’re being smart by reacting to complaints like this, but my problem comes from the existence of the complaint itself. And guess what? The woman who started this nonsense says she doesn’t have a problem with “Breaking Bad” and even likes the show. But she apparently doesn’t understand that Toys R Us also has things that aren’t intended for young kids, even if 90% of the store still is.
For example, in that same adult action figure and collectible aisle that “Breaking Bad” toys are found, you’ll also find figures from the films Predator and RoboCop, both bloody R-rated action films that comes with guns and blades as figure accessories. But it’s the little plastic bag of blue crystal meth that threw this mother overboard. Bryan Cranston showed his faux outrage with this update on Twitter:
"Florida mom petitions against Toys 'R Us over Breaking Bad action figures." I'm so mad, I'm burning my Florida Mom action figure in protest
— Bryan Cranston (@BryanCranston) October 20, 2014
Oh, here’s another question for Susan Schrivjer: Did she not notice the action figures of the Ghostface killer from Scream, Freddy Kreuger from A Nightmare on Elm Street or Michael Myers from Halloween? They’re all serial killing maniacs with action figures in that same aisle that I’ve seen right next to Walter White and Jesse Pinkman in stores, and that’s probably not good for the store either, right? But no complaints about those.
It would be one thing if the action figures had instructions on how to make your own meth, or even allowed kids to pretend that they’re drug dealers, but again, as the packaging states, these toys are meant for ages 15 and up. If you have a kid younger than that who is smart enough to know what meth is, I don’t think an action figure based on a show where that drug is prominently featured is going to influence them to try or deal drugs.
Ms. Schrivjer, you may also want to complain about some other items that you’ll find in Toys R Us too. They’re limited but not included to Oujia boards (witchcraft is dangerous!), adult board games like Rotten Apples (there’s probably talk of sex in there!), movies intended for older audiences like X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Fault in Our Stars or any of the maternity and baby items sold in the store, because that’s going to influence teens to get pregnant.
The internet can be used for so much good, and yet people like this mother from Florida decide to use it to complain about something this inconsequential, especially when all anyone has to do in order to allow these toys to be in stores is ignore them. And if your kid stumbles upon one and asks about them, then you just might have to pretend to be a reasonable parent for a few minutes. My apologies if you actually have to pay attention to your kid in a giant toy store and make sure they are looking at age appropriate toys.
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