I stared at him to see if he were just a cartoon character.
I stared at him to see if he was just a cartoon character.
The intended meaning of the two sentences above are that due to
him (his behavior) that the writer is (
I am) staring at, that is, in the writer's imagination, they are imagining because of his absurd statements prior, that he is cartoonish. The writer is being sarcastic, because they know that he is not actually an animated cartoon, but rather he is just acting like one.
I'm confused about whether it should be
were, however (I'm a native English speaker) my intuition tells me it should be
was and another person is telling me that it should be the subjunctive
Any help gladly welcomed!