I’m kind of ashamed to say that I don’t watch a lot of Canadian Television. I’ve been burned by CBC many times. Whenever I love a show (Wild Roses, anybody?) it seems to disappear into the void. Here and there I’ll dabble in a Canadian made show, often sci-fi, like the wonderful Continuum or Travelers (now homed at Netflix). I’ve watched some Mr. D, and don’t get me wrong – I like it! I just never seem to fully invest in Canadian television. There’s always been this void, where I shamefully view American TV as the default. That’s not to say that production quality in Canada is bad, and yes, I’m aware that so many American shows are filmed in Canada. Still, I’ve been apprehensive when it comes to Canadian television. I feel bad about that because Kim’s Convenience has let me know just how much I may have been missing.
Kim’s Convenience tells the story of a Korean family in Toronto running a convenience store. While there are a few quips here and there on what it means to be a Korean in Canada, the show itself is very Canadian. It’s smart, witty, and authentically warm. The gags on Kim’s Convenience don’t seem contrived. They don’t seem like they’re being stretched to the limits just for gags. They are moments that feel real and for that, the writers and actors deserve much credit. Kim’s Convenience could lean into plots about race, or try to bait viewers. It never does. Instead, it opts for moments that you might find in your own life, and because of this, the show flows from one scene to the next, without ever tricking the viewer or insulting their intelligence.
As a 24 year old girl from Nova Scotia, I see more in common with the Kim family than I do different. I grew up on the East Coast in a Catholic family, and many of the conversations sound like something I would hear my friends and neighbours talk about. Kim’s Convenience successfully steps over everything that makes us divided and different and shows a human experience of life in Canada. I mean, what’s more Canadian than mom & pop’s stores? Sure, they have lots of them in America, but the friendly smiles and the shop keeper that knows your name are something that provide a soft backdrop for the comedy.
It’s not all comedy though, and Kim’s Convenience does not shy away from family conflict, especially between Mr. Kim and his estranged son, Jung (Simu Liu). The comedic undertones show characters that also have been through their fair share of pain. There’s also a lot to be said for the empathetic, charismatic and electrifying chemistry that the cast shares. Everytime Umma (Jean Yoon) and Janet (Andrea Bang) are on-screen, I smile. Every character is interesting in their own way – whether it’s the awkward pining of Gerald (Ben Beauchemin), the hilarious exchanges between Mr. Mehta (Sugith Varughese) and Mr. Kim (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), or the countless neighbours that wander in and out of our store, Kim’s Convenience never fails to deliver.
There’s really nothing negative that I can say about this show. I’ve loved every second of it since I’ve started watching. I also never skip the intro (watching on Netflix), because there’s something uplifting and enchanting about the colorful starter. I guess the only complaint I have thus far is, what happened to Alex (Michael Xavier)? I have faith that Season 3 of Kim’s Convenience is going to be just as charming and amazing as the first 2 seasons, and I can’t wait to share it with the world now that it’s streaming on Netflix. I’m proud that Kim’s Convenience is representing Canadian TV – and maybe now it’s time I start watching more Canadian shows. Also, I kind of want the ugly yellow jacket Shannon (Nicole Power) dons, but I’d rather anybody but her help me shop for it, not that I don’t think her company would be amazing – but, her bargaining could use some work.