Hey Patton Oswalt, is a hot dog a sandwich?

Photo: Evans Vestal Ward (NBC), Graphic: Natalie Peeples
Is A Hot Dog A Sandwich?Is A Hot Dog A Sandwich?Welcome to Is A Hot Dog A Sandwich? in which The Takeout asks famous and important people to answer the most important question to ever beguile the human race.

The Takeout would like to officially voice our hope that someone will #SaveAPBio, and not just because Patton Oswalt so keenly hopes it will happen. Though Oswalt is undeniably biased—he plays the long-suffering Principal Durbin on the Mike O’Brien-created sitcom—he’s also clearly passionate about this thoughtful, strange, open-hearted, and often wildly funny sitcom. He’s also very persuasive, and if we weren’t were already pro-Bio, we would be now. Here’s The A.V. Club’s William Hughes on the recently cancelled NBC comedy, in his piece on why it deserves a rescue, Brooklyn Nine-Nine style, by some other lucky network:

That radically honesty kid-teacher dynamic—playing out over a tapestry of revenge schemes, insults, and surprisingly heartwarming moments of raw unsentimentality—was the core of what made Mike O’Brien’s A.P. Bio such a refreshing show to watch over the last two seasons. It’s also a big reason why it’s such a stone cold bummer that NBC’s decided that the show’s upcoming second-season finale will be the series’ last.

Not the only reason; as we noted in our write-up of the show’s abrupt cancellation—announced by a heartbroken O’Brien last week, and kicking off the sort of fan-rallying “save the show” Twitter campaign that you can only hope will end up less quixotic than it initially seems—A.P. Bio was also the showcase for a near-criminal array of comedic talent, a crew it got a lot more comfortable deploying as it settled into its far-more-confident second season.

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Suffice it to say Oswalt thinks the appealingly off-kilter writing, sharp direction, and top-tier cast deserves another season, or six and a movie. That cast includes Glenn Howerton, Paula Pell, Jean Villepique, Oswalt himself, and a terrific roster of smart young performers who he believes are bound for greatness. “They’re just insane,” he said. “Unbelievably funny.”

The final two episodes of the season, if not the series, air this Thursday on NBC. If he could, he’d like to humbly request that you watch them live. “And then go buy the episodes on iTunes,” he says when asked what viewers can do to help resuscitate this show. “If we can get a spike [in viewership] and the people who watch say, ‘Oh god, this is good,’ it’ll be undeniable.”

Also undeniable? His opinion on hot dogs as they relate to the classification of sandwiches.


The Takeout: Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Patton Oswalt: Oh, god, okay, let me think about this. You know what? No, and here’s why. It’s the seam. A hot dog bun is connected on one side, which changes the shape of the sandwich in a fundamental way. If the bread portion is in any way enclosed, it is not a sandwich.

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TO: So, that opens up a few other questions.

PO: Of course it does.

TO: If the seam is the problem, then is a lobster roll a sandwich?

PO: No, of course not. That’s why we don’t call it a lobster roll sandwich. No one orders a hoagie sandwich. You do sometimes see “hamburger sandwich,” which is appropriate, because there’s no seam. But I think the name reflects its state. If there’s a seam, it is not a sandwich.

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TO: So, what if a hot dog bun breaks? If the seam is no longer there, does it suddenly become a sandwich?

PO: Whoa! You know what? Yes, it does. I’ll allow it. The court recognizes that a hot dog with no seam becomes a hot dog sandwich.

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About the author

Allison Shoemaker

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves television, bourbon, and dramatically overanalyzing social interactions.