Following the introduction of Breaking Bad dolls to the shelves of Toys ‘R’ Us, a legion of pitchfork toting mothers have jumped at the chance to show how much they care about their beloved little darlings by attacking the largely innocent owners of one of the most successful toy shop chains in the western world.
To give the story some context to the uninitiated, Breaking Bad is an Emmy award winning and fantastically successful drama about a chemistry teacher who gets cancer and decides to earn money to provide for his family by cooking Crystal Meth. Not only is the TV show incredibly successful – so much so that even if it is decidedly unsuitable for minors, they have certainly heard of it – but it also happens to have the perfect combination of dark humour, violence and sex which is so attractive to a youngster looking to watch something “naughty” and “grown up”. I remember that when I was around ten years old I watched Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers, the grizzly violence and the sex scenes made it something endlessly fascinating to me especially once my mother found I’d watched it at a friend’s house and banned it.
The problem with the desire to ban these toys from the shelves of a popular toy store actually shows an ignorance towards the nature of children who are almost always desperate to get their hands on anything with a bit of blood and guts in it. It’s a fascination which parents all too often ignore when allowing their kids to play the most recent first-person-shooters on their Xboxes or Playstations. If you have ever played online games you’ll know that there are far too many children at primary school who play 18 rated games in their spare time. In fact, Call of Duty has numerous tie in toys to expand the game from the digital to the physical world. Surely parents should be just as concerned that 18 rated games which involve disturbing scenes, violence and swearing should also have tie-in toys on the shelves next to Barbie dolls and Lego?
The problem of this doesn’t land in the hands of the boss of Toys R Us (or Sony, who have made the toys in question) but with hypocritical parents who are happy to let their kids have a taste of the adrenaline fuelled shooting games which are inappropriate for them, go on about how good a show like Breaking Bad is and hand an iPad over to the kids to play Candy Crush without using parental locks to prevent access Netflix.
Of course, all of this is ultimately frivolous because Toys R Us isn’t a shop which sells only Lego and Disney toys to youngsters; it also sells the 18 rated games I’ve spoken about (why no petition to stop them?), it sells collectables and more mature items catered at a teen market (which is exactly where the Breaking Bad toys were stacked).
The problem isn’t Toys R Us, it is a culture of parents who are wrapped up in protecting their kids from pretty harmless toys but who are inadvertently letting their children have access to an iPad without parental locks. Outraged parents can claim that their children would lose their innocence by stumbling across Breaking Bad toys in Toys R Us but there are far worse things only a few taps away for inquisitive young minds.
Rights; High Bridge Entertainment, Gran Via Productions, Sony Pictures Television