‘Breaking Bad’: Inside the Iconic Pizza Throwing Scene That Became a Popular Prank in Real Life
With so many epic moments in the beloved television drama Breaking Bad, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But fans have always been partial to one of Walter White’s many tantrums. Over the years, the famous pizza throwing scene has become an ongoing prank that shows no sign of slowing down.
Why did Walt throw the pizza? Why was the pie unsliced? And most importantly — how many delicious pizzas have been wasted for the sake of a laugh?
The real reason Walter White threw the pizza
Breaking Bad’s pizza throwing came courtesy of season 3, episode 2, “Caballo sin Nombre.” It happens when Walter White arrives at his home bearing pizza for his family, but his wife Skyler locks him out because she just found out he’s been secretly selling meth and lying to her about it.
The road to ruin for Walt was paved with good intentions. At first, he wanted to ensure his family had enough funds for their future in the wake of his terminal cancer diagnosis. But his methods of making meth and distributing it with his former student, Jesse Pinkman, were ultimately flawed.
When Skyler locks Walt out, he takes the pizza he purchased and tosses it like a frisbee out of frustration. It lands perfectly on the roof of the White family home.
Bryan Cranston nailed the pizza throwing in a single take
Time reported that the Breaking Bad prop department had a huge stack of pizzas ready to go in case actor Bryan Cranston didn’t quite hit the target on his first take. But then he surprised everyone and perfectly landed the whole pizza on the roof the first time he tried.
Walt made the pizza launching look so easy that it spurred hundreds of copycats. Unfortunately, the homeowners are not pleased about that.
Showrunner Vince Gilligan scolded fans for throwing pizzas at the real house
The White’s house in Breaking Bad wasn’t just a set — it’s a real home that belongs to the Padilla family. In 2010, they spoke up about how unamused they were by constantly having pizzas lobbed at their home.
“We’ve had pizzas on our roof. We’ve had pizzas on our driveway; pizzas until we’re sick of looking at pizzas,” homeowner Francis Padilla told NPR. “I’ll sit outside with a shotgun in a rocking chair. You know, like Granny from Beverly Hillbillies.” According to Padilla, up to 200 people per day would arrive with pizzas to throw.
And Vince Gilligan wasn’t happy about it. “There is nothing original or funny or cool about throwing a pizza on this lady’s roof,” he said during a Better Call Saul podcast interview. “It’s been done before. You’re not the first.”
The mystery of the unsliced pizza
Eagle-eyed Breaking Bad fans noticed that the pizza Walt throws has one peculiar quirk — it’s not sliced. But apparently, the decision was intentional and referenced again later in the series.
Jesse questioned the unsliced pizza Badger brings to a party and he replies, “That’s the gimmick. This place, they don’t cut their pizza and they pass the savings onto you.”
And the rel-life pizzeria saw an uptick in business after the episode aired, too. Gino’s NY Style Pizza reported that unsliced pizza attracted customers. “After that episode aired, we were getting calls from all over asking us why we don’t cut our pizzas, and asking, do you cut your pizzas?” Gino’s website said. “It was a great gimmick to have. It really stirred up the pizza-eating crowd.”
That all sounds delicious. As long as you don’t really throw your pizza on the roof like Walter White did.