Kim's Convenience S1-2

2018-09-06 13:41


While running a convenience store in Toronto, members of a Korean-Canadian family deal with customers, each other and the evolving world around them.


Kim’s Convenience is a delightful Canadian series that I was hooked on in the first 3 minutes of the show. How do I know this? Well, I checked because I knew right then and there that this was a momentous occasion. It usually takes a few episodes for a series to creep into my heart but Paul Sun-Hyung Lee’s Appa is beloved from the moment you meet him. 

The Kim’s are Korean immigrants to Canada and this is the story of their lives along with their kids who were born in Canada. Their lives and the story centre around the family-run convenience store and what I love about this show is just how intrinsically Canadian it is.

How can you tell that it’s Canadian and not American? Easy! By the way they treat people and specifically the way immigrants are portrayed on this show. Everyone is just so nice!

As a Muslim woman it was refreshing to see Muslims on screen as part of the fabric of society and not being Other. There are often scenes with Muslim women just doing their shopping in the background, but there’s a lovely scene where two women in niqab walk in and Mr. Kim greets them each by name and another customer asks how he can tell them apart with their faces fully covered? He says he pays attention to his customers but when he is out of earshot the girls tell the other customer that half the time he gets their names wrong but “he tries”.

And while Kim’s Convenience focuses very much on the Kim family and their dramas, it’s also a wonderful slice of life as demonstrated by Mr Kim and the various customers who frequent his store. In the first episode there’s an exchange between Mr Kim, his Chinese friend Mr Chin and a Jamaican customer where none of them can understand each other because if their thick accents and how they navigate this encounter. It’s just so fantastic to see this melting pot of cultures come together.

The conversations and topics that the characters explore on the show are quite progressive. From LGBTQ issues to disciplining other people’s kids, and then how that translates across generations and cultures is fascinating.

The narrative that we’re always fed is that immigrant parents are close-minded and against any sort of change in tradition. So, when Mr Kim and Mr Chin have an honest conversation about what the difference between transgender and transsexual is, it’s very relatable to so many people navigating these issues which might be new to them. And the look of utmost respect and curiosity in Appa’s voice and face when he asks a drag queen why he dresses like a woman shows people who might not know how to approach the situation a sensitive way of doing so.

Another topic this show covers so well is that of family estrangement through the broken relationship of Appa and eldest son Jung. There’s a lot of anger and misunderstanding between the two but also it’s clear that each person still loves the other deeply.

This show is amazing and it’s my favourite TV show I’ve watched this year. It’s funny and heart-warming and above all else relatable across so many cultures and races. We see our mothers in Umma and our dads in Appa and the frustration with having parents that are sometimes a little too strict but because it’s what they believe is best for you. The characters in this show will make you laugh but also make you cry. It’s all so familiar and just a reminder that despite race and culture, we’re all just human.

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