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Dagwood Sandwich

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Truly a well-balanced meal.

"I'm gonna need a bigger mouth."
Dean Winchester, Supernatural

You know, those ludicrously tall sandwiches that a Big Eater makes. Often in Western Animation a common gag will be for a character to distend his jaw like a snake and swallow it whole, only for it to expand and leave his neck in the shape of the towering sandwich. Another possibility is for a character to take two or more already made sandwiches and 'shuffle' them together like a deck of cards, creating this.

As the page image demonstrates, these often have an olive and toothpick in the top, ostensibly to hold the massive stack together. In animation, (Garfield notably) the sandwich will be consumed in one gulp without removing said toothpick, since the character's mouth can get as big as it needs to be. Don't try THAT at home.

The name is commonly believed to have originated with Dagwood Bumstead from the newspaper comic strip Blondie, the character being famous for making a sandwich by filling an entire, long bread stick often referred to as a French Loaf note  with various ingredients, hence this trope can also apply to ridiculously long sandwiches as well as to ridiculously tall ones.


Related to Satiating Sandwich. Also known as Sandwich Tower.


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  • A '70s Cola-Cola ad depicts a (relatively mild) example incorporating Thanksgiving leftovers.

     Anime and Manga  

  • Episode 13 of Steam Detectives has Narutaki order one. He has to squish it down to the size of a normal sandwich and eat it in one bite when he sees the cat he's been looking for the whole episode.
  • Food Porn series Toriko has the Toriko Burger. It's so tall that Toriko has to dislocate his jaw just to take a bite.
  • In Eyeshield 21, during a team selection meeting at a fast food joint, Rikiya Gaou orders a towering 40+ patties hamburger... then proceeds to discard the buns and lettuce.

     Comic Books  

  • Fantastic Four: Benjamin J. Grimm loves these.
    • A memorable issue of Fantastic Four Adventures involved the Inhumans' giant teleporting dog Lockjaw stealing a cartoonishly enormous sandwich of Ben's, then getting indigestion and uncontrollably teleporting the team to random locations all over the world for the rest of the issue until his tummy felt better.
  • Jughead Jones made one of these. He was unhappy to learn that it was too big to fit in his mouth.
    • In another comic, he sprains his jaw trying. Generally, he goes for many small sandwiches instead of honking big ones though.
    • In yet another comic, he built a Dagwood Sandwich, then realized he couldn't fit it in his mouth, so he disassembled it and rebuilt it as a six-foot long sub.


     Films — Animated  

  • In Frozen, Anna and Kristoff randomly show up in the middle of Olaf's dream sequence for "In Summer" holding these, and they both look outright confused as to why they are even doing this.
  • In the "All The Cats Join In" segment of Make Mine Music the soda jerk seems to make one (complete with toothpick and olive), but it's really a stack of sandwiches that he slides down the counter so everyone can take one (leaving the last guy with only the toothpick and olive).

     Films — Live-Action  

  • Mentioned by name in sci-fi children's book adaptation Zathura. The visiting astronaut immediately ransacks the main characters' fridge upon being rescued, and although the sandwich he makes isn't ludicrously huge, it's still pretty sizable.
  • Rosencrantz makes a more reasonable one of these in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. It's still too big for him to eat, though, since his mouth won't open wide enough.

  • In Chapter 3 of Discworld Sandwiches by BaronVonChop (which, as the title suggests, is about various Discworld characters having sandwiches) the wizards are making sandwiches for an expedition into L-Space, which, Discworld wizards being what they are, means "elaborate piles of food they were stacking between tiny slices of bread". Ridcully points out that the initial aim was for the sandwiches to be portable. (His own creation is just as large but easier to carry; he began by taking a whole loaf of bread and slicing it horizontally.)


     Live Action TV  

  • The Brady Bunch: In "Welcome Aboard" — the episode that introduced us to Cousin Oliver (both the character and concept) — Greg is building one of these to eat, when Oliver tries (too hard) to help with the ketchup.
  • Supernatural:
    • Dean made one for comedy in an episode where they were switching between "shows" and ended up in a sitcom.
    • About eight seasons later, Dean and Sam get zapped into Scooby-Doo itself, meaning Dean gets to join in with the masters of this trope.
    Dean: Oh, heck yes! [...] Sam! Sam! Look how big my mouth is!
  • Lizzie McGuire. Gordon made one of these out of boredom. He gave up trying to eat it as soon as he realized his jaws couldn't stretch like that.
  • Parodying the recent trend of restaurant sandwiches that replace the bread with full meals in and of themselves, The Colbert Report had a grilled cheese sandwich where the bread was replaced with grilled cheese sandwiches, ad infinitum, to create what he called "The Mobious Melt": an infinity symbol made of grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • On That Mitchell and Webb Look, one of the "party planners" sketches about how fictional characters would behave if you really had them over had the couple complaining about Shaggy and Scooby-Doo ("He treats that dog like it's a person! It's creepy!") and included pulling a leftover giant sandwich out of the fridge and saying it's cruel to feed this kind of thing to a dog.
  • On Man v. Food, though Adam has encountered a few of these, he's only had one as a challenge once (Des Moines, Iowa's Adam Emmenecker Sandwich Challenge).
  • On TV Colosso, a man made the world's tallest sandwich and would show it on television but two network employees ate so much of it the remains weren't taller than a regular sandwich.
  • In the ITV Saturday Morning Kids Show No. 73, the daring, dazzling, delectable, delicatessable, dangerous, death-defyingly dull Sandwich Quiz kept score with these. Every time a contestant got a right answer they added another filling and slice of bread to their plate.
  • The Electric Company (1971): Deconstructed in that the ingredients are actually given for "our delicious and sandwich": "ham and cheese and tomato and bacon and lettuce and baloney and cream cheese and celery and chopped meat and soy sauce and coleslaw and meat loaf and pot roast and olives and tuna fish and turkey and shrimp and corned beef and peanut butter and liverwurst!" Subverted in that the customer doesn't want it because it doesn't have salami!
  • Fuller House: Kimmy builds one after she sees the boys playing Jenga.
  • There is an episode of Sesame Street where Telly tries to create such a sandwich after being told you can put almost anything on a sandwich.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: In one episode, Ned brings a "Dagwood" for lunch, marveling everyone around him, including a kid who asks him for just one bite... That one bite becomes enough for him to devour the entire sandwich.


  • The Ultimate Sandwich from the Ninja Sex Party song of the same name is five feet high and three feet wide, and "as dense as an anvil". It's served with a five-gallon bucket of Ranch Dressing on the side. It's topped with quantities of chicken, ham, clams, panther, bear, duck, bacon, tomatoes, Carolina Reaper peppers, lettuce, and yams represented by terms such as "fuck-load" and "explosion". Unsuprisingly, nobody can eat the whole thing in one go and live (probably because it was literally invented by a demon of gluttony).

     Newspaper Comics  

  • Dagwood Bumstead of Blondie is the Trope Namer, although Dagwood originally created a ridiculously long sandwich rather than a ridiculously tall one by using a long loaf often called a French Loaf. Later, he began to build tall sandwiches as well. The term has entered the English language, as per the Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. He was once shown using a hand drill to take out the center of one of these... and then inserting a frankfurter into the center as a dowel.
  • Garfield occasionally has these.
    • One strip features a ridiculously tall sandwich falling on Jon. Another time he made a horizontal one that went all the way across the street.
    • In an April Fool's strip when the creators of Blondie and Garfield switched places, Dagwood made one of these sandwiches and said that "Making sandwiches is an art and I am an artist". Then Garfield showed up and ate it while claiming to be "a patron of the arts".
  • Peter from FoxTrot, being a Big Eater, has made several such sandwiches. One is dubbed "The Leaning Tower of Peter". Peter once spent an entire Sunday strip making another one.
  • There's a Zits comic out there where Jeremy unhinges his jaw to eat one of these.

     Video Games  

  • A food item (called "Dire Sandwich") in Dungeons Of Dredmor.
    This sandwich is of great stature; it has unmanned better heroes than you. Dare you feed on its glory?
  • Team Fortress 2: The Medic is seen gifting the Heavy one in a promotional Christmas card.
  • It's implied that some of the sandwiches an Avatar of Boris can demand in Kingdom of Loathing are of this type. In particular, the Club Sandwich is called such because you flatten it with a club before eating it.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV has this Burger Shot commercial for the Heart Stopper six-pound burger.
  • Persona 5 has the Big Bang Burger challenges which pit your character versus an increasingly improbably-sized burger. The first one resembles one of the real life examples below, and it just goes from there. Morgana comments on how just watching you eat makes him feel full.
  • One boss microgame in WarioWare: Smooth Moves requires you to put down the Wii remote and wait as a multitude of ingredients fall onto a sandwich. You must pick up the remote as soon as the top piece of bread lands or you will fail.
  • The "Lunch Break" minigame from Fisher Price Big Action Construction allows you to create such a sandwich, even with non-food items like hard hats and hammers!
  • The mobile phone game Sandwich! is a puzzle game where you build one of these by flipping one component onto another to make a an ever-growing stack of ingrdients.

     Web Comics  

  • Being a Big Eater, Monica of Wapsi Square has been known to eat these.
  • Scandinavia and the World: Denmark's smørrebrød. Humon notes, however, that what's in the sandwich is just as important as how tall the sandwich is; America's hamburgers are a level of filling comparable to smørrebrød, and an American meal for one can comfortably feed two Scandinavians.

     Web Original  

     Western Animation  

  • Scooby-Doo and Shaggy both enjoy these (but don't confuse this trope with Scooby Stack). In many of the newer cartoons, however, these sandwiches never contain meat, since voice actor Casey Kasem (who did Shaggy) became a vegetarian and insisted that all his characters eat vegetarian, too. (Although it wouldn't be terribly out of character for Shaggy anyway. In early cartoons he would eat hamburgers, tacos, and pretty much anything else, meat or veggie.) Interestingly, Kasem's favorite kind of sandwich is apparently eggplant.
  • Tom of Tom and Jerry also eats them on occasion.
  • Sealab 2021 had a good example of this, with Stormy miraculously making one underwater after fixing a submarine in near-freezing temperatures.
  • Happened to be Mickey Mouse's favorite in Mickey Mouse Works episode, "Mickey Tries to Cook."
  • Donald's Country Cousin ate this (and a lot more) when he visited Don in his first short movie.
  • In the Merrie Melodies cartoon "Hollywood Canine Canteen," there is a "Dogwood" sandwich made of bones interleaved with slices of bread.
  • Perry and Heinz Doofenshmirtz accidentally create one on Phineas and Ferb during a deli meat food fight in "Mommy Can You Hear Me?".
  • An entire episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes featured Jimmy making one of these and then refusing to allow it to be eaten, since it was art.
  • Mr. Bogus:
    • Brattus creates one of these in the kitchen in the episode "Et Tu, Brattus?" before he eats the entire thing in one bite.
    • Bogus dines on one of these in the episode "Bad Luck Bogus". However, in a rare example of the trope, Bogus actually eats the sandwich one layer at a time with a fork instead of the usual practice of devouring the entire sandwich in one bite. Considering that the contents of the entire sandwich itself are all bigger than Bogus, that's a pretty understandable matter entirely. In another rare example, swallowing one layer of the sandwich also caused him to gain a Balloon Belly.
  • In an early Popeye cartoon, Bluto orders a half-dozen sandwiches in Popeye and Olive's diner (not intending to pay.) Olive shuffles ham and bread like cards and deals them out - Bluto gives the stack a toss and gobbles them all down at once like a hungry dog. Just to give an idea of how early that cartoon was, Popeye and Olive actually believed Wimpy would gladly pay them next Tuesday for that hamburger and the pickles he ate.
  • Garfield and Friends: Garfield made an alphabetical sandwich. 26 ingredients inside and each one starting with a different letter in the alphabet. Unfortunately, he couldn't find anything for X other than X-ray.
  • Bubble Bass's order from Spongebob Squarepants: One double triple Bossy deluxe, on a raft, four by four animal style, extra shingles with a shimmy and a squeeze, light axle grease, make it cry, burn it, and let it swim. Somewhat inverted by how, in the episode, the Krabby Patty looks no different than others, but the real life version which fits the name definitely fits this to a tee.
    • Binging With Babish tried to make the order, but found it was unstable and pretty much impossible to build without falling apart.
  • In The PJs episode "A Hero Ain't Nothing But a Super" Thurgood contemplates eating one before compacting it to fit his mouth. But then he says. "Muriel, I think the mayonnaise has gone bad."
  • The Hair Bear Bunch: In "I'll Zoo You Later," the bears enter the hideout of two bank robbers and raid their refrigerator. While Hair Bear makes himself a triple-triple-triple decker sandwich, he makes modest chicken dinners for Square and Bubi. Square makes a wish with the wishbone from the chicken ("I wish I had Hair Bear's sandwich!").
  • Les Sisters: Marine once makes one of these. Reality Ensues and she finds herself unable to fit it in her mouth.
  • In Adventure Time Hunson Abadeer, who rules over what is essentially this universe's equivalent of Hell, casually makes one of these in "Return to the Nightosphere," with what appears to be lettuce, tomato, pimento loaf, and "Cut The Mustard" brand mustard.
    • Jake makes one, which he calls his "perfect sandwich", topped with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cream cheese, hardboiled eggs, sweet yellow onions (organic), pickles "from my boy Prismo", dill, meat cooked sous-vide, bacon, a bird from the window, Jake's own tears for salt and the soul of a boiled lobster.
  • In The Simpsons, Chief Wiggum tried to eat one of these. However, it was so thick he opened his mouth too wide and got his jaw stuck open. It was so wide Eddie managed to fit his entire fist inside.


  • This Springbok jigsaw puzzle.

     Real Life  

  • In-N-Out Burger in the American Southwest allows hamburgers and cheeseburgers to be ordered this way. A cheeseburger with two slices of cheese and three hamburger patties is a '2x3'. Three slices of cheese and three patties becomes a '3x3', etc. Some people ordered a 100x100 mega-burger, and the restaurant actually made it. After the incident was posted about online, there arose concerns that the meat of such a large burger wasn't being cooked thoroughly. As a result, the burgers now have a limit of no bigger than 4x4. (Though you can still order 25 of them at once.)
  • The Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas is an extreme hamburger joint that only serves these types of monstrosities. Considering some of the controversy surrounding them and having two spokesmen succumb to heart attacks... it's hard not to admire them for their sheer gall.
    • The main difference is the lack of variety. These things are known as Bypass Burgers, and contain anywhere up to four eight-ounce patties (that's up to almost a kilo of beef), optional (greasy) bacon, cheese, red onion, sliced tomato and the special sauce. And then there's the Octuple Bypass Burger, 8 patties stacked on top of each other with or without toppings.
  • Just look at the picture, which comes from The Other Wiki.
  • One early issue of Disney Adventures magazine had an article describing how to create a "Squish Sandwich," which plays with this trope: it looks like a Dagwood at first, but as the name implies, the ingredients are specifically chosen to make it easy to squash flat (and make a satisfying noise while doing so).
  • As noted above, the Smørrebrød, Danish open-face sandwiches stacked pretty much anything. They're typically eaten with knife and fork rather than attempting to pick them up.
  • American burger chain Hardee's/Carl's Jr is unapologetic about this kind of burger. One of their most recent hamburger creations features a split-open-lengthwise hot dog, bacon slices and potato chips on top of a standard issue ground beef patty. Previous iterations have included such items as chicken nuggets.
  • So McDonald's is test-running a "Create your Taste" kiosk-based order. Simply put, you order your burger and customize what you want on it and how much at the touchscreen kiosk. So naturally, someone had the idea of ordering a burger with 10 of everything.
  • Milder example: At sandwich shops such as Subway or Which Wich, load up your sandwich with toppings and it'll be stuffed. Doubly true if you ask for extras like double meat, bacon, extra veggies... Some employees even call this "Dagwood Style" referring to how hard it is to close the sandwich.
  • Western US diner chain Lumberjack's has a burger with a one pound patty in addition to the toppings and bun. Ordering for a takeout box will have you provided with one normally reserved for whole cakes.
  • Braeburn Lodge in Canada's Yukon Territory makes absolutely massive sandwiches. Subverted in that they're very broad instead of very tall.
  • Club sandwiches used to only have one layer, nowadays double-decker is the norm. Meat (often chicken but sometimes ham, turkey, or roast beef, and there's always some bacon), cheese, lettuce, and a tomato. Some people like them with a fried egg in for breakfast. They often have to be pinned together.

"You're gonna need a bigger mouth."

Alternative Title(s): Sandwich Tower, Massively Multilayer Sandwich


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