There’s no shortage of iconic scenes from AMC’s hit drama Breaking Bad, but one moment fans keep coming back to is Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) famous pizza toss. Taking place during the season 3 episode “Caballo sin Nombre,” the incident sees Cranston’s character throwing a pizza onto the roof of his family home after Skyler (Anna Gunn) makes it clear she’s not interested in rekindling their romance.
The image of a disappointed Walt throwing an entire pie onto the roof of their home is one likely to stay in fans’ minds — and perhaps leave them wondering what kind of pizza one needs to order to pull off such an impressive trick.
The prop department ordered around 10 unsliced party pizzas from Venezia’s
It’s well known among the Breaking Bad fan base that Bryan Cranston nailed Walter’s pizza throw on the first try. However, the show’s prop department didn’t anticipate things going so smoothly. In fact, according to Venezia’s — the Albuquerque-based pizzeria they ordered the pies from, which now goes by the name Gino’s NY Style Pizza — the team bought upwards of 10 party pizzas for the shoot.
“For the scene of the pizza thrown on the roof, they ordered like 10 plus parties,” Gino’s states on its website. “They ordered more just after that and requested them not to be cut. When that episode aired, a lot of people that know our pizza came in and started to congratulate us. It was a real exciting experience.”
Of course, fans immediately took notice of the fact that Walter’s pepperoni pizza was unsliced. According to Gino’s, they even went so far as to call the pizzeria and inquire about whether this was the standard there.
“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 writes. “It was a great gimmick to have. It really stirred up the pizza-eating crowd.”
Vince Gilligan explains the physics behind the unsliced pizza decision
Even in the wild world of Breaking Bad, being sold an unsliced pizza isn’t common practice. Unfortunately, the physics behind the action didn’t leave the creative team much of a choice on that front. Using a sliced pizza would have resulted in a much messier moment.
“We had a long discussion before we shot the pizza on the roof scene about whether or not the pizza should be sliced — because, as all you physicists know, a thrown, sliced pizza would come apart due to centrifugal force or angular momentum (or something like that),” Gilligan explained during a Reddit AMA.
After fans questioned the believability behind Walter being given an unsliced pizza, however, the Breaking Bad writers did attempt to elaborate on the situation. This led to a moment later in the series, when Badger (Matt L. Jones) reveals that the in-story pizzeria that his friends ordered pizza from doesn’t actually cut its pies.
“And yet, you’re right: no self-respecting pizza parlor sells an unsliced pizza, Gilligan added. “So we figured we needed to explain it (in the ‘They pass the savings on to you’ scene), or else face our audience’s righteous wrath!”
It’s not just the lack of slicing that’s sparked debates in the years following the iconic moment, either. Walter’s outburst went from an internet meme to a major controversy once fans began attempting to replicate his little stunt.
How the ‘Breaking Bad’ pizza scene turned into a controversy
After “Caballo sin Nombre” aired, Walter’s pizza toss became an instant internet meme — as one might expect from a pop culture moment so ridiculous. However, the scene quickly transformed from a meme into a controversy when fans began visiting the home featured in Breaking Bad with the sole purpose of slinging a pizza onto its roof.
The owners of the house weren’t pleased with the situation, with TIME reporting that Francis and Louis Padilla had to install a fence to keep intruders off their property. Even Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan eventually got involved, asking fans not to reenact the scene during an appearance on the Better Call Saul Insider Podcast.
“There is nothing original or funny or cool about throwing a pizza on this lady’s roof,” Gilligan said. “It’s been done before. You’re not the first.”
The pizza pranks have slowed down since the series’ glory days, but there’s still plenty of interest in visiting the Breaking Bad house. That’s probably to be expected for a show so huge, even if no one could have anticipated this one small scene blowing up the way it did. One man’s pizza is another man’s treasure…?