SPOILERS for Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness follow! You’ve been warned!!
There I am, it’s opening weekend of the new Sam Raimi Marvel movie and I’m seated ready for the movie. After a (punishing) amount of previews, the movie finally starts. Minutes into the movie my body betrays me, and I can tell it’s now going to be a fight to figure out when best to get up to pee.
Cursed with a small bladder and a love of movies, I’ve developed a solid radar for knowing good opportunities to dash to the bathroom and back. At Multiverse of Madness however, this radar failed me in the worst way possible—I returned to discover I’d missed the Bruce Campbell cameo.
The Monday before the movie was released, I’d opened up Twitter only to see the Illuminati spoiled for me. But alas, I knew there’d be a Bruce Campbell cameo waiting for me and that was all that mattered. Before my screening I’d double featured The Evil Dead and Darkman, prepping for some Raimi superheroics and even having the confidence to post the Darkman Campbell cameo to my Instagram noting “First Bruce Campbell cameo of the day!” Oh, the naive hubris of it all.
Cut back to my Multiverse of Madness screening, I’ve returned to my seat and my partner solemnly has to deliver the news that I missed the Bruce Campbell cameo. I am devastated. For me personally, I would rather miss the Illuminati than Bruce! Once the credits roll and I’m waiting for the post-credts scenes, I text my sister who’d already seen the movie that I missed it the cameo. In an attempt to set me up for the final scene, she casually mentions what happened to him earlier in the movie:
Thankfully, I was able to understand the final scene! And I was delighted. In classic Raimi fashion, there was Bruce Campbell forced to hit himself on camera, and with a nod and a wink he happily exclaims “It’s over!” I giggle, satisfied for the moment.
I assume I’ll be able to find the scene online—after all, spoilers have been everywhere at this point—and begin my search immediately. At first, nothing. All I can find is the post-credits scene. I figure it’s only Saturday on opening weekend, I’ll give it a little time.
On Sunday, progress is made. I find a TikTok with a clip of the movie in a language I don’t understand, but I can see Bruce Campbell attempt to squirt mustard at Doctor Strange and I’ve discovered from Twitter that his name is Pizza Poppa. At this point I’m like “a ha! Look at this jerk Pizza Poppa. He must be a real rude guy, look at him trying to squirt mustard on Doctor Strange!” I couldn’t wait to see the whole clip, I had to know what prompted the mustard attack and resulting 3-week punching spell.
Finally, on Monday, I’d grown impatient. Clips of Black Bolt’s death (which had me absolutely cackling in the theater, because I am a monster) and Captain Carter getting cut in half with her own shield are everywhere. Surely someone has the whole Pizza Poppa clip!
Then, it finally happens. I see a new link with a 26 second clip and I just know that I’ve finally found it. I excitedly hit play, ready to find out what horribly rude thing Pizza Poppa does to deserve his fate. 26 seconds later, I am dumbfounded. Was that the whole clip?
It was the whole clip.
PIZZA POPPA WAS INNOCENT THIS WHOLE TIME! They literally robbed him! They robbed him, and then Strange forced him to punch himself for 3 weeks! Pizza Poppa I am so sorry I doubted you.
Watching Pizza Poppa’s scenes in reverse order I couldn’t help but feel for him, and I think it’s clear that Sinister Strange isn’t the only evil Strange out there. What must have gone through Pizza Poppa’s head during those three weeks when he couldn’t stop hitting himself? Did he wonder, delirious from lack of sleep, if this was his life forever now? As his face bruised and swelled did he reconsider his life choices? Was there even a lesson to be learned in this casual cruelty from Doctor Strange?
Pizza Poppa, wherever you are in the multiverse, I hope you’re out there getting paid.