Kim’s Convenience: Ins Choi can take pride in this debut

The long awaited—and much-hyped—debut of Kim’s Convenience finally aired on CBC on Tuesday, and here’s a bit of background in case you have missed it. Mr. Kim, a.k.a. “Appa” (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) and Mrs. Kim, “Umma” (Jean Yoon) immigrated to Canada from Korea in the 1980s, and own a convenience store in downtown Toronto. They have raised two children: Jung (Simu Liu) and Janet (Andrea Bang); Jung has been estranged from his father for several years and is working at a car rental shop, while Janet remains at home, attending college as an arts major and helping out at her parents’ store when she can.

The premiere episode, entitled “Gay Discount,” began as its title might suggest, with Mr. Kim offering a gay discount to his gay customers during Pride Week. There is no need to tell Mr. Kim you are gay, because he can tell. Mr. Kim has 100 per cent guarantee gay-dar. Word spreads of the discount. Some customers like it, some try to take advantage, whilst others find it completely discriminatory. Meanwhile, Mrs. Kim thinks it is time she found Janet a “cool Christian Korean boyfriend.” I have a feeling this will be an ongoing concern for Mrs. Kim, an annoyance for Janet, and provide many humourous situations in the weeks to come.

The other long story arc will focus on the rift between Appa and Jung, and the family’s desire to see it mended, making the family  whole again. But, it seems Jung will have his hands full with his enamoured manager, Shannon (Nicole Power).

As stories go, Kim’s Convenience is a fun show. I hope that the hype leading up to it doesn’t leave viewers expecting more than it delivers. Time will tell if Tuesday’s back-to-back episodes prove strong enough to keep viewers returning in the coming weeks. This was truly a charming beginning with some laugh-out-loud moments. The show features characters that are real. Series co-creator Ins Choi is not giving us humour at the expense of stereotypes, but rather he gives us believable characters we can connect with on a human level so we find the humour in the mundane. All told—very refreshing.

Kim’s Convenience is based on the award-winning play by Choi, who also adapted it for television. Kevin White serves as showrunner, and co-created the series with Choi, who both hold executive producer credits along with Thunderbird Films’ Ivan Fecan and Soulpepper Theatre Company’s Albert Schultz.

Kim’s Convenience airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.

Carolyn Potts
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Carolyn Potts

Teacher. Writer. Mom. Masters' Candidate, Faculty of Education, Western University. Studying Pop Culture Media as a Decolonizer of Education Policy and Practice. I also volunteer as a Girl Guide leader in my spare time.
Carolyn Potts
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