As the holiday season descends, parents perusing the shelves at Toys 'R' Us may stumble upon something odd: Breaking Bad action figures, in many cases positioned within arm's reach of more predictable, innocuous staples (your G.I. Joes, your Super Marios).
That’s right: the toy store chain is selling drug-dealing dolls, based on chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-lord Walter White and his accomplice Jesse Pinkman, the two central characters from AMC's hit show Breaking Bad. The bendable, life-like White figurine comes with a pint-sized baggie of fake crystal meth, and a duffel bag full of plastic cash. Pinkman, meanwhile, is accessorized with a gas mask, Time reports.
Understandably the fact that a chain -- which markets itself explicitly to kids and their parents -- is selling action figures best known for illicit, illegal and murderous behavior has caused a stir. Susan Schrivjer, a mother from Fort Myers, was so upset she launched a petition on Change.org earlier this month to get the figures removed from Toys 'R' Us's shelves, and appeared on the Today Show earlier this week. As of this writing, the petition had racked up more than 7,500 signatures.
It's not that Schrivjer is anti-Breaking Bad: “I thought it was a great show,” she told a local TV station. “It was riveting!”
She's not against the Walter White and Jesse Pinkman figurines, either; instead, her point is that a toy store, whose customer base is primarily young children and their families, isn't the right place to sell the drug-dealing dolls.
"While the show may be compelling viewing for adults, its violent content and celebration of the drug trade make this collection unsuitable to be sold alongside Barbie dolls and Disney characters," she wrote on the Change.org petition.
Despite the hoopla, Toys 'R' Us isn't backing down: “The product packaging clearly notes that the items are intended for ages 15 and up. The toys are located in the adult action figure area of our stores," a company spokeswoman told NBC News in a statement.
For his part, Bryan Cranston – the actor who played Walter White on the show -- took the time to weigh in on this contentious issue:
"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