The Cereal Choice In 'Bandersnatch' Matters — But Not Why You Think


When was the last time you stood in a grocery store and stared at a wall of different cereal boxes? You were probably thinking about whether or not you favored taste or nutritional value — but could choosing Cheerios over Reese's Puffs lead you down a path where you lose your grip on reality, relinquish control over your life, and butcher your loved ones in an effort to develop and create the perfect video game? Probably not, right? A popular cereal fan theory related to Bandersnatch, the interactive Black Mirror film released on Netflix at the end of 2018, suggests that fans coulddo right by Stefan if only they had made the first choice differently.

The very first choice that viewers who dare the venture into the world of Bandersnatch encounter is a seemingly innocuous one: Would you like to start your day with Sugar Puffs or Frosties? They're both sugar-loaded cereal, but while Sugar Puffs are a UK-specific treat with honey flavoring, Frosties (better known as Frosted Flakes in the USA) are simply sugary corn flakes. You probably picked one randomly.

But 90 minutes and a dead body later, one might be curious if things could've just been a little different had they chosen a different cereal. Did those that choose Sugar Puffs summon the chaos the ensued? Or were those on Team Frosties to blame? Many people are convinced that it was the most important meal of the day that messed things up. But they'd be wrong.

Actually, the choice of cereal has little to no impact on the tragedies that occur in Stefan's quest to create the perfect adaptation of Bandersnatch. Viewers who have dug through the film's many branching paths have noticed that the only thing that changes as a result of the cereal choice is which commercial plays when Stefan is first setting up a VCR in his room. If you chose Frosties, you get to take a peek at Tony the Tiger, and if you pick Sugar Puffs, you and Stefan are subjected to this abomination.

While you may be having a bad day because you decided to eat an entire box of Oreo O's in one sitting as opposed to a sensibly-portioned bowl of granola, the choice of what cereal Stefan starts his day with is of no consequence, just like the choice of what music he should listen to on the bus, or whether you pick "Yes" or "F**k Yeah" in his therapist's office has ultimately no effect on the outcomes that follow.

So why have the choice at all? Well, to use a term borrowed from the video games that Stefan obsesses over, the choice of cereal is likely a simple "tutorial choice" or a way for viewers to get accustomed to how things will go in Bandersnatch that doesn't have too much consequence, but adds to the overall effect. By offering seeming innocuous choices at the beginning, the film's later, violent choices eventually start to feel easy and even comfortable. In that sense, the choice of cereal in Bandersnatch does matter — just not in the way that you may have initially thought.