If you thought you’d never see a Kwik-E-Mart, or throw back a Duff with that deep-fried ring of artery-clogging happiness otherwise known as a Lard Lad Donut, you could be in luck — assuming you're not too far from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The Simpsons’ iconic convenience store is even more animated now that it exists in three dimensions at Broadway on the Beach. Its creators say that four years of planning went into making Apu’s dream a reality at a destination they imagined Homer and his dysfunctional family would love as an excuse to wear Hawaiian shirts and get away from Mr. Burns for a while.
"Broadway at the Beach is like no other location," Mark Cornell, senior vice president of attractions development for SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment, told WBTW. "It really draws a lot of foot traffic walking around, and I really think that it's the perfect first place. I think the Simpsons would come to Myrtle Beach for a vacation."
You would think the longest-running scripted series on TV would have multiple real-life experiences like this all over by now, but this Kwik-E-Mart is actually the first of its kind. It also does everything it can to keep up the suspension of disbelief while you browse through aisles and aisles of food and drinks from the show, along with an avalanche of other Simpsons merch. Think Bartman keychains and a plush Itchy & Scratchy.
The food is for real. You can now experience at least trying to finish off a pink-frosted Lard Lad Donut the size of your head, chow down on heat-lamp dogs (now with more heat), and cool off with Buzz Cola, a Duff or five, a Flaming Moe, and 12 flavors of Squishee. You’ll end up more wired than wasted, since anything alcoholic on the show is now an energy drink.
Fact: Duff was originally named for Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan. Duffman even kind of looks like him.
Though The Simpsons caught heat after its reaction to the recent release of docu-series The Problem With Apu, which criticized how the show stereotyped the character of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, an Indian immigrant, the show isn’t going anywhere, with its 30th season set to premiere on September 30. Cornell thought the first family to walk into the store that is Apu’s legacy exemplified Simpsons fandom.
"A 64-year-old grandmother, her son and daughter-in-law, and their three children," Cornell said. "They were all sort of arguing about who were stronger fans, but to see three generations walk through the door that all love The Simpsons, how can you say that about anything else?"