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The world is suddenly divided into three categories: people who watch "Breaking Bad," people who don't, and people who spend $250 on a Lego-inspired meth lab to lament the series' impending finale.The Superlab Playset – a 500-piece plastic miniature version of anti-hero Walter White's elaborate chemistry compound – comes complete with industrial-strength miniature gas tanks, "poison" and "flammable" signage, a dead version of one of the show's previous characters, Gus, and inevitably, some controversy. The $250 collector's item, released last month by novelty company Citizen Brick, is decidedly not for kids, and both Citizen Brick and Lego have made that clear. A clause on product page of the now- totally-sold-out item states: "This set is a product of Citizen Brick, and is not sponsored, authorized or endorsed by the LEGOGroup, owners of the registered LEGO(R) trademark."
But that hasn't stopped UK newspapers and some Twitter followers from posting what-is-the-world-coming-to commentary. "Have companies gone too far in creating products based off of hit TV shows? This one is not the smartest choice," a Daily Mail reader tweeted in response to the newspaper's claims of outrage over the product. "Is this any different than selling toy guns?" tweeted another.
Actually, there's a big difference, according to fans of the product (who are far more vocal online than those detractors). "This is for adults to have something to remember a great TV show. I would buy one for myself, not for my children. Just like it would be a cold day down below before my CHILDREN ever watched a TV show like this," wrote a fan of the product on Citizen Brick's Facebook page. Another simply posted: "Shut up & take my money!!!"
More on the latest Breaking Bad novelty after the jump.
In an interview with Wired, Citizen Brick's owner, Joe Trupia, claims the toy was made "partially to comfort ourselves" over the fact that the AMC series is coming to an end.
Die-hard fans of the series are coiled in the fetal position now that Walter White's kingpin days are almost over, and the only thing that seems to ease their pain are toys. There's the recently released Heisenberg action figure and the "Breaking Bad" paper dolls. And don't forget the video game parody on YouTube, which has already received well over a million views. Back in 2012, a homemade Lego model of White's meth village took Reddit by storm, though that one wasn't for sale.
Why does a show about a chemistry teacher-turned-meth lord with terminal cancer (played brilliantly by Bryan Cranston) inspire so much child-like whimsy? Blame the viewers, who are, according to ratings, young (18-29), predominantly male, and armed with a disposable income ($100K or more). In other words, exactly the demographic that might spend $250 on a novelty toy to ease its separation anxiety from a fictional father figure who's proven that nerds can be sociopathic criminals too. Concerned parents can take comfort in the fact that their kids won't be able to afford those toys inspired by the series, and even if they could, they probably wouldn't draw too many parallels to real life. The same can't be said for adult kids.
- Piper Weiss