Kim’s Convenience: a fond review

I am not sure why it has taken me so long to finally watch this wonderful, Canadian produced TV show. I think it was all the promo spots that I was seeing, in anticipation of the launch of Season 3, in addition to the endorsement of NPR’s Kat Chow (of my beloved Pop Culture Happy Hour and Code Switch podcasts) that finally got me to select this title on Netflix. In a matter of a week I watched all 26, 21 min-episodes of the first 2 seasons. In no time I was caught up to join the rest of Canada as CBC aired the Season 3 premiere.

Kim’s Convenience is equal parts work place and family comedy. Father “Appa” (Paul Hyung-Sun Lee) and Mother “Umma” (Jean Yoon) Kim are Korean Canadian’s who run a convenience store in a diverse Toronto neighbourhood. Their daughter, Janet (Andrea Bang) helps out when she isn’t too busy with school. She is a photography student at The Ontario College of Art and Design. And then there is her brother Jung (Simu Liu), who is estranged from his father. He seems to have outgrown his juvenile delinquency and works at a rental car agency with his best friend and roommate Kimchee (Andrew Phung).

This show rings true to the North American immigrant experience. It is based on a successful play of the same name, written by Ins Choi. Much of the humour in this series illuminates cultural in addition to generational divisions. As the Canadian born daughter of Eastern European immigrants, I can relate wholeheartedly.

Alongside the brilliant core of actors, who portray the Kim family, this show has a wonderful supporting cast of friends and community members/store regulars. In addition to Kimchee, I have particular fondness for Janet’s friend Gerald (Ben Beauchemin), Pastor Nina (Amanda Brugel), and Jung’s boss Shannon (Nicole Power).

If you are looking for a family friendly comedy that is gentle, kind, respectful, funny but by no means saccharine and gives space for character development, I would highly recommend Kim’s convenience.

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