Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Harold and kumar go to white castle.jpg

Kumar: No matter what, we are not ending this night without White Castle in our stomachs. Agreed?
Harold: Agreed!


A well-loved Stoner Flick with elements of classic Screwball Comedy, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (Harold and Kumar Get the Munchies in countries that do not have White Castles) captivated audiences in 2004 with its simple premises and the wild hilarity that comes with trying to accomplish said premise.

Harold and Kumar are two New Jersey natives with problems. Harold is an uptight investment banker who is taken advantage of by his douchebag bosses and cannot work up the courage to talk to his hot neighbor Maria; Kumar is being pressured by his dad to attend medical school when he would rather relax.

After getting high and seeing a commercial for White Castle, the duo decide to travel to the nearest White Castle in Cherry Hill for burgers. Unfortunately for them problems, some caused by their own actions, most by events outside of their control, arise to stop Harold and Kumar from reaching their goal.

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle is notable for taking what were normally the ethnic sidekick character types of most teen stoner comedy flicks and making them the stars. As such, the movie gets a lot of mileage out of making fun of ethnicities and other people's perceptions of different races.

The movie is also notable for bringing Neil Patrick Harris back into spotlight. Playing a womanizing, Ecstasy addicted version of himself for a couple of scenes, audiences were reminded that Neil Patrick Harris can do things besides Doogie Howser. Studios quickly picked up on that, and the rest is history.

This movie was followed by two sequels, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay in 2008, and A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas in 2011.

Tropes used in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle include:
  • Adam Westing: Neil Patrick Harris as a crazed, perverted, drug-addled, incredibly heterosexual Former Child Star version of himself.
  • Air Vent Passageway: Inversion; Kumar breaks into a police station where Harold is being held to bust him out. And then subverted when Kumar drops through the vent onto the floor. Thankfully he made a decoy call so the station's empty.
  • All Asians Are Alike: Invoked, Harold (who is Korean) is repeatedly mistaken for Chinese/Japanese.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Rosenberg and Goldstein.
  • As Himself: Neil Patrick Harris, though it's a subversion as he specifically requested to be credited "as Neil Patrick Harris" instead of "as Himself", so that people didn't think he was actually a drug-sniffing, car-stealing womanizer.
      • He also claimed to have had sex with Whoopie Goldberg's stand-in while filming Clara's Heart at age 14.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Harold's co-workers cites this as justification for tricking Harold into doing his work.
    • Zigzagged with Harold. He's an uptight neat-freak who lets bullies from his office and neighborhood walk all over him. But he's also a stoner and an expert at beer-pong. He later ends up standing up to his bullies and screwing them over magnificently.
    • Subverted by Cindy Kim and her East Asian Club. They appear to be straight-laced nerds, but turn out to be drug-using party animals.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Harold. Possibly, Neil Patrick Harris as well.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Tarik the inmate has a remarkably philosophical attitude about all the bad fortune he endures - he explains that having a big penis helps him cope.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Kumar.
  • Butt Monkey: Harold. Exploited at work because of his ethnicity, has parking spaces stolen from him by extreme sports enthusiasts, his best friend uses his scissors for manscaping, he gets attacked by a raccoon, Neil Patrick Harris steals his car, he gets arrested for jaywalking (well, admittedly he also unintentionally punched the cop in the face), his laptop gets destroyed, he gets clotheslined by a tree branch while riding a cheetah, and on top of all of that, he's completely unable to talk to the girl he has a crush on. Harold isn't just the Butt Monkey; he's distinctly headed into woobie territory.
  • Buxom Is Better

Kumar: How were Katie Holmes' tits?
Goldstein: You know the Holocaust?
Kumar: Yeah?
Goldstein: Picture the opposite of that!
Kumar: Nice!

  • Cannot Spit It Out / Cannot Talk to Women: Harold is unable to confess his love for Maria until the very end.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The split-second news report about a cheetah that escaped from the zoo.
  • Determinator: They will stop at nothing to get those burgers.
  • Eagle Land: Kumar gives Harold a speech invoking this in order to justify their actions that night, saying that food was one of the reasons their parents came to America and comparing it to their quest to get to White Castle.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: At least two guys show some attraction to Kumar in the first film; an old man in the hospital tries to hold his hand, and one of the medics is obviously infatuated.
  • Everybody Remembers the Stripper: In-universe. Rosenberg and Goldstein watch The Gift for the sole purpose of seeing Katie Holmes's breasts.
  • Fan Disservice: Two college girls who are also twins with English accents? Fantasy completely ruined when the boys overhear them playing a game of "Battleshits".
  • Food and Animal Attraction: The cheetah finds Harold's beef jerky.
  • Funny Character, Boring Actor: John Cho and Kal Penn have both said their real-life personalities are more or less the reverse of their characters'.
  • Has Two Daddies: Tarik, the guy Harold and Kumar meet in jail.
  • Hero of Another Story: Rosenberg and Goldstein.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Harold and Kumar. This or Ho Yay.
  • Humble Goal: The entire point.
  • Inconvenient Hippocratic Oath: While a medical student rather than a doctor, Kumar in the first film plays this straight, like pretty much every medically-trained fugitive in fiction.
  • Jerkass: The cops/extreme sports guys.
  • Joisey: The setting.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The sports enthusiasts.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: After Harold and Kumar flee from Freakshow's home.
  • Manly Tears: What happens when Harold and Kumar actually made it to White Castle and feasted on those tiny, delicious burgers.
  • Market-Based Title: Known as Harold and Kumar Get the Munchies outside of the US and Canada, because White Castle operates solely within the US, and it can be presumed that most Canadians are familiar with the franchise as well.
    • And only in the Northeastern and Midwestern US, at that. This left viewers in the South and the West Coast confused, as they didn't know what White Castle was.
    • Strangely enough, it was screened as Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle in Singapore, the Philippines, Australia, Belgium and Canada, all of which do not have a single WC restaurant (White Castle's management seems to not want to do international franchises).
    • Actually, White Castle has a line of frozen foods featuring their signature sliders available in grocers and vending machines since 1987. Many people probably didn't know it was an actual restaurant at the time.
  • Meganekko: Cindy Kim
  • The Millstone: Harold's life would be a lot more hassle-free if Kumar wasn't always looking for weed.
  • Mission from God: Neil Patrick Harris believes he's on one. Harold and Kumar aren't convinced.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed
  • No Fourth Wall: The DVD menu for the first film, where both characters comment on the options available as well as how long the viewer takes to make a selection.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: When our titular heroes want to cross a street at a crosswalk. Kumar convinces Harold to jaywalk, and Harold checks both directions, to find the road clear on both sides for miles. Then he steps off the sidewalk and a cop car instantly pulls up from just off-screen. Cue Kumar trying to ignore Harold's Death Glare.
  • Outside Inside Slur: Harold talks about being referred to as a twinkie -- yellow outside, white inside.
  • Planet Eris: Neil Patrick Harris is a crazed, perverted, drug-addled, heterosexual Former Child Star version of himself.
  • Playing Against Type: Neil Patrick Harris.
  • Politically-Incorrect Villain: The cops that harass the two.
  • POV Sequel: As noted below, the actors playing the main characters were Funny Foreigner characters in other gross-out comedies and the movie is sort of a perspective shift to focus on them; Harold's boss is a parody of the Jerkass Designated Hero of most of these films and amusingly, all of his adventures happen offstage. Similarly, the two have a pair of even nerdier friends Rosenberg and Goldstein who also have adventures off-stage, alluding to the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead which is a famous example of this.
  • Product Placement: In the fucking title.
  • Race Tropes: Most of them Played With and Subverted.
  • Random Events Plot: All three movies. And they're hilarious.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight / "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Both Harold and Kumar. Kumar gets his first when an asshole cop gives Harold a ticket for jaywalking after putting one foot down off the curb; Harold's comes when he runs into his co-workers at the White Castle, catching them lying about an "important business meeting" as an excuse to make Harold do all their work.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Kumar accuses a cop of being this, to which the cop happily admits.
  • Serious Business: White Castle hamburgers. One other fast-food cook wants to burn down his restaurant for them.
  • Shout-Out

Harold: (to Neil Patrick Harris) Dude, where's my car?!
Kumar: Where's his car, dude?!

    • A reference to Better Luck Tomorrow (2002) where Cho played the antagonist.
    • Ryan Reynolds wiping Kumar's brow mirrors the scene in Van Wilder where they perform surgery on the dog-sandwiches together.
    • See the poster up there? See the tagline? Heard of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, itself a movie full of stoners?
    • Rosenberg and Goldstein are a reference to Hamlet's (or Stoppard's) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. How's that for an unexpected Genius Bonus?
  • Shown Their Work: Yes, there are White Castle restaurants in New Jersey.
    • Did Not Do the Research: But there isn't one in Cherry Hill. The closest is 1 1/2 hours away (there are a couple of Chick-Fil-As though).
      • Not to mention that the real Cherry Hill is a very suburban area -- it is nowhere near as rural as depicted in the film.
      • The Mountains of Illinois: And how about that cliff?
      • The way Freakshow and his wife talk about Jesus and church would sudgest they are from a low Protestant church. Thus they probably wouldn't have many pictures and statuettes of Jesus or Mary.
  • A Simple Plan: Two guys want to go to a fast food restaurant; what could be simpler? Apparently, a lot.
  • The Stoner: Almost every character is this, from the titular characters.
  • Stoner Flick
  • Stoners Are Funny
  • Three-Way Sex: Explicitly offered by Freakshow and his wife. While they debate whether or not to accept, Freakshow offers to make it a Four Way, which causes them to flee in terror.
  • Token Minority: parodied by posters advertising the first movie as starring "That Asian guy from American Pie" and "That Indian guy from Van Wilder".
  • Typecasting: Kumar lampshades and subverts this:

Kumar: Well, duh! Just because you're hung like a moose doesn't mean you gotta do porn!

  • Tranquil Fury: Harold, Harold, Harold.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Freakshow, who is covered in boils (some of which have pus squirting out of them), is married to a rather good-looking woman (played by Malin Akerman (Granted, this is before she gained that bit of weight, and actually got hot)). She cites his beautiful singing voice as the reason she fell in love with him.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Kumar isn't interested in being a doctor like his father is. He has an epiphany at the end of the first film and decides to give it a shot anyway.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Neil Patrick Harris attempts to avert this at the end of the first movie by approaching Harold and Kumar, apologising for his role in the previous night's events, and offering to pay for their breakfast. They then launch into this trope anyway, leaving him to irritably point out that he's aware of the dick move he pulled, hence the apology-and-offer-to-buy-their-breakfast.
    • Also $200 for Harold's car. He made some "love stains" in the back.
  • World of Cardboard Speech: Harold's tirade to his coworkers at the end.