It’s come to this: The culture wars take the form of a tug-of-war over “Breaking Bad.”

Earlier this week, a Florida mom successfully petitioned Toys R Us to rid its stores of a line of toys inspired by the Emmy-winning AMC show “Breaking Bad,” which centered around a high-school chemistry teacher who turns to making and dealing methamphetamine with one of his former students.

Susan Schrivjer of Fort Myers, Fla., started a petition. The crux of her argument: Toys R Us is a “family friendly” store, and therefore, it had no business carrying “Breaking Bad” dolls.

Wrote Schrivjer:

Toys R Us is well known around the world for their vast selection of toys for children of all ages. However their decision to sell a Breaking Bad doll, complete with a detachable sack of cash and a bag of meth, alongside children’s toys is a dangerous deviation from their family friendly values. …
Parents and grandparents around the world shop at Toys R Us, online and in stories, with their children and should not be forced to explain why a certain toy comes with a bag of highly dangerous and illegal drugs or why someone who sells those drugs deserves to be made into an action figure.

More than 9,000 people signed the petition and Toys R Us yanked the toys, not just from its brick-and-mortar stores, but from its Web site as well.

Aaron Paul, the actor who played Jesse Pinkman on “Breaking Bad,” responded Thursday night.

Paul also tweeted a link to a petition started by Daniel Pickett of Manhattan Beach, Calif. — apparently the beach dwellers of America are particularly invested in whether Toys R Us carries “Breaking Bad” dolls — calling for the store to keep the dolls and other adult-themed toys on its shelves. So far, almost 17,000 people have signed it.

“Why can you sell guns and not Walt and Jesse? YeahB—-,” Paul tweeted, invoking Jesse’s signature line. As of early Friday morning, the store was still selling “Call of Duty,” “Assassin’s Creed,” “Halo” and “Grand Theft Auto V,” all of which are rated “M,” meaning they’re intended for gamers age 17 and older.

And now, the argument has become one over Toys R Us’s apparent hypocrisy. Paul and “Breaking Bad” supporters see the store as capitulating to the gripes of one self-righteous busybody while avoiding a closer examination of all the wares its sells. Earlier in the week, NBC News reported Toys R Us told it “the product packaging clearly notes that the items are intended for ages 15 and up” and “are located in the adult action figure area of our stores.” But something changed — by Tuesday, the store told the Associated Press the dolls had “taken an indefinite sabbatical.” Walter White himself — or rather Bryan Cranston, the actor who played him — weighed in as well.