Kim’s Convenience: Janet’s Photos

The second episode of Kim’s Convenience gave viewers an opportunity to get to know some of the finer nuances of the main characters.

The cold open presented two of Janet’s (Andrea Bang) classmates, Gerald and Samira (Ben Beauchemen and Getenesh Berhe) who arrived to work on a mid-term project. However, they first ran the gauntlet that is Appa (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee). Appa not only demanded proof of their work, but also a critique of his own photographic skills. It is scenes like these that set the viewer up to underestimate Appa, only to be caught unawares as he offered yet another cutting rejoinder, in this case his assessment of their work. Appa doesn’t fully understand Janet’s passion for photography and this led to some competitive behaviour from him. It was this enthusiasm  that resulted in some difficulties for Janet at school.

I mentioned in my review of Episode 1 that Jung (Simu Liu) is estranged from the rest of his family.  Much of this episode revolved around this breach, which was particularly difficult for Umma (Jean Yoon). She felt pressured to brag about her children’s successes and yet she was unable to fully rejoice in their accomplishments, particularly Jung’s. Jung, meanwhile, applied for the assistant manager position at his car rental company but where is the accomplishment in that when you dream your children will become a doctor or a lawyer? As children of immigrant parents, Jung and Janet are the source of constant anxiety to them. In the end, Jung got the job and even Umma was able to brag!

This was another solid episode. This is not just a sitcom—there is too much depth of character and too much emotion for it to be a comedy. This is not quirky or off the wall; this is real life. The familial relationships are those that anyone could see themselves in. Having friends who are newly immigrated to Canada, I can see their circumstances represented here. Then, to set this in Toronto … brilliant!

One more thing. It was fun seeing Hiro Kanagawa playing Pastor Choi! I loved him in Blackstone, iZombie, and The X-Files, so it was an added treat to see him here.

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