Cause of Death: Sandwich Man

Cause of Death: Sandwich Man

By Desmond Homann, Variety Editor originally published in Issue 11, Volume 30 of The Univeristy Register on Friday, April 27, 2018

I was recently reminded of the existence of a childhood cinematic masterpiece: Hoodwinked!. I first saw this movie at probably the age of seven and I remember completely losing my shit over how funny it was. Rewatching it as an adult, however, I realize that I was wrong. This movie is disturbing on so many levels and has caused me much more stress than I could have ever anticipated. In order to fully ruin this movie for me, I decided I would have to rewatch it at 1 a.m. on a Monday, forcing a close friend to suffer through it with me.

I could go on for hours about the different atrocities I experienced while watching this movie, such as the shoddy animation that was vaguely reminiscent of Playstation 1 graphics, the unfortunate soundtrack, the fact that Red, the main protagonist, is actually a terrible person, the nightmare-inducing children following the schnitzel truck, or the fact that the wolf deserved so much better and was definitely the victim of prejudice due to his species. Instead of rambling about everything that made me question my own sanity, I would like to tell you about the true mystery of Hoodwinked!: The Sandwich Man.

Though I have seen Hoodwinked! more than once, it was not until this week that I noticed the existence of The Sandwich Man. As a child, I was not aware of furries and didn’t think anything of humans and animals coexisting. In this movie, along with many others, it just seemed so normal. To my friend, this was far from normal. She asked me about the different levels of anthropomorphism within the Hoodwinked! universe.

There are humans such as Red and her grandmother, there are anthropomorphic animals such as the wolf or Nicky Flippers, and there are normal animals, some of whom can speak. Though these three groups exist together, there are clear expectations or biological and socio-cultural rules that put individuals in one group or another, with the one exception of The Sandwich Man. This outlier, while fully human, wears a white tiger fursuit. It is unclear why he is dressed as an animal.

Humans and animals exist together, so it’s not that he is trying to hide the fact that he is human. This odd man, whose real name is apparently Wade, is portrayed as a gloomy outcast and doesn’t seem to be making any effort at all to fit in. Of course, this may be due to the fact that he is a minor character who exists in the background of many scenes of the movie.

Another possibility entirely is that poor Wade is wearing this fursuit against his will. Perhaps his pessimistic outlook is connected to his appearance. If, for a moment, we operate under the assumption that the characters of Hoodwinked! understand these three different social groups as separate classes, The Sandwich Man suddenly makes some sense. In that world, humans are the upper class. If you don’t believe me, take a look at how Red prances around the forest acting like, well, the main character. She cares little for inferior creatures, animals, even endangering the lives of several of them throughout her self-centered escapades. Below humans are anthropomorphic animals, who have respectable jobs and are functioning members of the community. Below these are the regular animals. We don’t see many of them, but their wellbeing is not taken into consideration and they are treated as inferior even by the other animals who are above them. I could elaborate upon examples of interactions between those in different groups/classes, but I doubt anyone wants to hear me ramble about why it’s upsetting to me that Nicky Flippers, an anthropomorphic frog, has his notary on a leash. For the time being, just trust me and think about our dear friend, Wade, as an exception.

Wade is a human, and therefore should be on the same level as Red, her grandmother, and the other humans. We don’t see him interact with these characters, however, except when he expresses his clear distrust of Red during her opening song. Could it be that The Sandwich Man has been cast out from the “human” class? Is he not good enough for the rest of them? If this is the case, he would exist within the anthropomorphic class.

Upon reaching this point in my over-analysis of an unimportant character in an unimportant movie, my friends forced me to leave the room, claiming that I was stressing them out. I took a walk, cleared my head, and had a sudden realization that fortified my previous claims. It is clear that The Sandwich Man is anthropomorphic, in his own odd way. To fit into this group, one needs to be an animal with human characteristics or behaviors like walking on two legs, driving, or wearing clothes. Wade is an inversion, as a human with animalistic characteristics and appearance. Wade’s displeasure could be because he is forced to wear his fursuit to be anthropomorphic—to be a mix of animal and human—as he is not good enough in the eyes of the humans. This results in his poor self-image and hatred for humans, especially Red and Granny Puckett.

This all leads us to one final question: what has Wade done to no longer be accepted as fully human? We can speculate, but we will most likely never truly know. The Sandwich Man will forever be a mystery to the world, though I hope my over-analysis of his character has opened the door to future investigation into this odd man. The official Hoodwinked! Wikipedia page claims that “The Sandwich Man has a solo movie in production” that is supposedly going to come out in 2020 as the third installment for the Hoodwinked! movies, but I am highly skeptical of this claim for many reasons. If this is true, I can guarantee you that I am 110% ready to see it as soon as it hits theaters.

I hope that nobody has taken this seriously to any extent, but I also hope that everyone fully agrees with this hot new Sandwich Man lore. I’m probably on some list now because of all of my recent searches about furries, anthropomorphism, and a movie from 2005 that probably never should have happened.