It’s a show with a near-endless list of memorable TV moments, but any Breaking Bad fan will recall the angry pizza throw as one of the most iconic.
So adored was the scene – in which a pissed off Walt reacts to Skyler refusing him entry into the house by launching the pizza he’d just bought for her onto the roof – that Vince Gilligan has had to publicly ask people to stop reenacting it on visits to the Albuquerque residence that served as the exterior for the White family home.
That decision to chuck it away is in itself controversial; surely the best way to retaliate would be by scoffing the entire thing for yourself and leaving the empty box on the driveway? But the really big question – and one that has bothered the internet since the episode first aired seven years ago – concerns why the pizza was unsliced. It’s not unusual for a pizza restaurant to let you do your own slicing at the table, but a takeaway? What is this madness?
You don’t need to be a genius to deduce that lobbing a pizza that was sliced would almost certainly cause it to break apart, meaning it would very quickly be raining cheese & tomato. If the writers wanted it to remain intact, then leaving it unsliced was a simple editorial decision – even if doing so is an unspeakable crime in the eyes of the mighty God Pepperoni.
But in the meticulously crafted world of Breaking Bad, things are rarely just left as they are. In a totally different episode, Badger turns up at Jesse’s party with a pile of pizzas – all of them unsliced, just like the one the notorious meth-maker tossed. In the scene, Jesse questions why they hadn’t been cut, which sounded very much like a clever callback intended to clear up any remaining confusion.
As suspected, it was no coincidence. In Vince Gilligan’s recent Reddit AMA a curious fan asked, “Was Badger and Skinny Pete's conversation at Jesse's party about the pizzas not being sliced written in after the fact to explain how Walter’s pizza landed on the roof intact? Everyone knows a sliced pizza would have come apart.”
Gilligan’s response cleared up an lingering doubt once and for all:
“Yes! 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). And yet, you're right: no self-respecting pizza parlor sells an unsliced pizza. 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!”
If only every show on the telly had the same approach to loose ends.