Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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OMGWTFLOL: The Two Faces of Kal Penn

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on August 5, 2008

“It’s so you. And so YOUUUU!!!!!”

 

Indian frat film superstar and Ivy League professor Kal Penn is a man far too complicated and multi-faceted to be summed up by any one image. Rather, it takes two–the number of faces of which Penn is apparently capable of making for promotional film posters and DVD covers. And since the article I just linked to is for some reason the most regularly read (read = randomly googled) article on this site, I figure it’s time to give the people more of what they want–analysis of the two sides of the shiny, shiny nickel that is Kal Penn’s film career.

FACE #1: THE KNOWING SMIRK


Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (Unrated Edition), 2004


Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj, 2006


Under New Management, 2007

This is the mature, in control Kal Penn. The knowing smirk is Penn’s way of letting you know that he’s the man, without inviting the schadenfraude implied by more ostentatious poses. It’s him saying “Well, I didn’t necessarily INTEND on being surrounded by beautiful, half-naked chicks, but if that’s the way it’s gotta be, then that’s the way it’s gotta be.” But Penn can’t possibly live his whole sex-drenched existence this way, can he?

FACE #2: THE AUUUGHHH FACE


Dude, Where’s the Party?, 2003


Ball and Chain, 2004


Bachelor Party Vegas, 2006


Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (Unrated Version, 2008)

This version of Kal Penn is significantly less subdued. He is arguably just as surprised to find himself underneath a short-skirted woman’s legs, but rather than react with gentle bemusement, he is endlessly excited at the prospect of making the most of it–as exemplified by the AUUUGHHH face. A lesser journalist might simply refer to this as his O Face, a mid-coital term popularized by That Dude From Office Space, but it’s clearly not sexual rapture that leaves Penn’s mouth so agape. Rather, it’s a combination of  visceral thrill and awe-inspiring novelty, so impressing Penn that he’s just gotta exclaim AUUUUUGHHHH.

Between the two, it’s clear that whether you want an Indian post-frat guy to play a wise, eyebrow-arching sexpert or an Indian post-frat guy to play a wide-eyed, wider-mouthed sexual novice, Kal Penn is your man. Anyone know which one The Namesake falls under?

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One Response to “OMGWTFLOL: The Two Faces of Kal Penn”

  1. rafi said

    In the Namesake he’s the smirking type but he’s covering up his inner existential Auugghh face which eventually emerges after his father’s death (belated spoiler alert!).

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