Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | kal penn
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The characters Harold and Kumar, played by APA actors John Cho and Kal Penn, are like embarassing uncles who fart in public and cuss and tell stupid jokes. In fact, in lots of ways, Harold and Kumar are stupid jokes. But like those uncles, you have to embrace them when you see them, even though you wince every time they walk in the room. That's because in their 2004 debut, Cho and Penn's characters smashed Asian American stereotypes about being the model minority. Cho played Harold, an earnest numbers-cruncher by day who has the hots for a hot neighbor and has the internalized heart of a slacker; Penn's Kumar is the slacker externalized. He's a pot-hound and horndog and crude as he can be, always trying to drag Harold into his slackdom. Kumar is supposed to become a doctor, and it turns out he's quite capable, except he's pathologically incapable of following his ethnically preordained career path. The two go on a marijuana binge and seek out a White Castle burger, or more accurately, a whole bunch of 'em, to assuage their munchies. (It helps to understand the plot if you've enjoyed the strange pleasures of a tiny White Castle "slider.")