Like other fans, I was gutted when Kim’s Convenience came to an end. I missed the laughs, the family dynamic, and the diversity I was seeing on my television screen. Thankfully, that hole has been filled by Andrew Phung—Kim’s Convenience‘s Kimchee—in Run the Burbs.
Co-created by Phung and his best bud and collaborator, filmmaker Scott Townend, Run the Burbs—debuting Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. on CBC—follows the Phams, a young Vietnamese-South Asian-Canadian family living on a cul-de-sac in the suburbs.
“Relatable” was the first word that came to mind as I watched the debut episode of Run the Burbs. In those opening moments, I witnessed something I’ve done myself: trying to deliver a trunkful of groceries from the car into my house in one trip. To see the Phams—father Andrew (Phung), mother Camille (Rakhee Morzaria), daughter Khia (Zoriah Wong) and son Leo (Roman Pesino)—draped like pack mules struggling in the heat, made me laugh out loud at them, and myself.
“For this family, in particular, they make these mundane moments big,” Townend says. “And there are the families around them as well. People are going to say, ‘I have a neighbour like that.’ I’ve got neighbours like this, Andrew’s got neighbours like that. It was important to find the comedy in those everyday moments.”
In the works since the summer of 2019, Phung says Run the Burbs came organically and easily, thanks in large part to their longtime friendship and the way they constantly supported each other. By December of that year, Phung was confident what they had created would end up on a network.
“We had something here that was so fun and full of life and energetic,” Phung says. “What’s wild to me is that, through the process, a lot of it has remained the same.”
At the centre of Run the Burbs is Andrew Pham, a whirling dervish of a man who is full of positivity, good-natured humour and truly believes in the good in everyone. Even when there are down moments, like in Episode 1, when a planned block party seems to be going off the rails, it doesn’t last long. And with high-powered and diverse comedic talent in Phung’s co-stars and supporting roles played by Aurora Browne, Ali Hassan, Julie Nolke, Jonathan Langdon, Chris Locke, Samantha Wan, Simone Miller and the late Candy Palmater, the laughs are loud and last long.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have the cast that we do,” Townend says. “It is a powerhouse of comedy and every episode, every actor brought something new to the part. They took what was on the page, directors included, elevated it and made it better.”
Run the Burbs airs Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.
Images courtesy of CBC.