‘Kim’s Convenience’ review
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
Today, there are many shows that talk about various cultures, like African Americans in Blackish and Chinese Americans in Fresh Off the Boat. Now, Korean Canadians are depicted in Kim’s Convenience, the small-screen adaptation of Ins Choi’s hit play of the same name. Kim’s Convenience is about the fictional Kim family: Mr. Kim (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), who manages a typical convenience store in Toronto; his wife (Jean Yoon); their photographer daughter, Janet (Andrea Bang); and their son Jung (Simu Liu), who works in a car rental centre called Handy Car and Truck Rentals.
In the first episode, Mr. Kim offers a 15 per cent discount to all the gay customers who were attending Toronto Pride Week, and he learns about the many different types of people who are in the LGBTQ community. Meanwhile, he and his wife question Janet’s dating life, and Janet convinces Jung to see his father. Then Mr. Kim accidently sells pictures that Janet was going to use at an open house in her college, and Jung tries to get a better job.
The show has many comedic elements, such as Mr. Kim’s broken English. For example, when two men try to get a job in the convenience store and Mr. Kim thinks that one of them is gay, he says, “It’s okay. Sometimes gay take time.” Another funny moment in the episode is the scene when Janet explains to her mother that there is no such thing as a cool Christian Korean boyfriend. The episode contains some censored content covered by bleeps, which may or may not be included when the show is released on DVD.
I recently went to Toronto during the summer and I learned that, like Coquitlam, there is a large Korean community in the city. The show demonstrates the multiculturalism, tolerance, and distinctive features of Toronto. Kim’s Convenience is not the only show about Asian-Canadians; there is also City’s offering Second Jen, which features Chinese-Canadians and Filipino-Canadians, among others.
The first episode sets up the storylines for the season. Will Mr. Kim settle his differences with Janet? Will Mrs. Kim outperform Mrs. Park, who she regularly sees at the Toronto Korean East-West Presbyterian Church? Will Jung climb up the ranks in his workplace? All these questions will be answered when you make a visit to Kim’s Convenience. Kim’s Convenience airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC as part of CBC’s Tuesday night comedy lineup.