Don’t you love it when you discover a “new show” like Kim’s Convenience and then find out the show has been running since 2016?
To be fair, though, I’m a good old American that watches good old American TV (except for great shows like Dark or The Rain or any number of British TV shows). I don’t generally watch anything until someone recommends it specifically for me or it shows up on Netflix.
These days, Netflix has been pushing Kim’s Convenience at the top of “shows I might like.” I watched the trailer. I was intrigued so I watched the first episode. I liked it but didn’t love it but my opinion was in the minority in the household so we trudged on.
Thank God we did because this has quickly become the go-to, have-fun, not-worry-about-anything show we need every night before bed. And I’m here to convince you to watch it too.
About Kim’s Convenience
Although the show has been around for a while on Netflix, it’s only recently become significant… because I finally discovered it and now I’m telling everyone!
Remember when Schitt’s Creek exploded and we were all like, “Seriously? You want me to watch a Canadian sitcom?” Same kind of thing.
Kim’s Convenience is a Canadian sitcom that premiered on CBC in 2016 based on a play of the same name by Ins Choi. Choi is a Korean-Canadian who grew up working in – you guessed it – a Toronto convenience store. This one, however, was owned by the parents of a friend.
The play was brought to the stage in 2011 where a familiar cast performed on stage. Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Appa, Jean Yoon as Umma, and Choi himself as Jung.
After many successful runs, the play was adapted for television and premiered on CBC in the fall of 2016. Since then, this popular show has filmed four seasons.
The show itself is about the family dynamic of two Korean immigrant parents, Mr. and Mrs. Kim, and their adult children, Janet and Jung. There is a struggle between old world and new world, parent expectations, next generation, and the normal trials and tribulations of a family.
It’s all done with love, care, a few stereotypes, and much hilarity.
Where to Watch Kim’s Convenience
If you’re in Canada, you already know that Kim’s Convenience is available on CBC and streaming (for Canadian citizens only) on CBC Gems.
For those of us south of the (Canadian) border, all four seasons are now streaming on Netflix. It’s actually unusual for Netflix to air a show so close to it’s actual premier date (season 4 ran in January 2020 on the CBC) but we aren’t complaining about that.
The Stars of Kim’s Convenience
Every character has its moment but the glue that holds the entire show together is lovable, hilarious, politically incorrect Mr. Kim, played by Paul Sun-Hyung Lee. But this show is truly an ensemble cast.
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee is the Korean Canadian actor plays Mr. Kim. Reprising his role from the stage, he plays the long-suffering shopkeeper and patriarch to the Kim family. He’s been recently keeping himself busy by creating unboxing videos under his online handle, Bitter Asian Dude.
Jean Yoon, better known as Mrs. Kim, is a Canadian citizen born in the United States to parents of Korean descent. She once had her own theater group called Loud Mouth Asian Babes and has appeared in Orphan Black and The Expanse.
Simu Liu is a Canadian actor who immigrated from China as a child. He plays Jung, the sometimes estranged oldest child of the Kim family. His star power is on the rise as he has been cast as Shang-Chi, the Marvel superhero movie of the same name.
Andrea Bang is a Canadian actress with Korean immigrant parents. That makes her well-suited for Janet, the never-quite-good-enough daughter of the show studying to become a photographer. She’s from Vancouver and is also a writer.
Nicole Power plays Shannon, the goofy but adorbs car rental manager and sometime love interest for Jung. She has primarily been involved in musical theater prior to the show.
Andrew Phung is a Canadian actor and comedian known for his role as Kimchee, the Jung’s mostly lovable roommate. His father is of Vietnamese descent and his mother is Chinese.
Other standout members of the diverse cast include Ben Beauchemin (Gerald), Michael Musi (Terence), Sugith Varughese (Mr. Mehta), Amanda Brugel (Pastor Nina), and John Ng (Mr. Chin).
What’s Next for Kim’s Convenience
This is a good news, bad news situation.
The good news is that Kim’s Convenience has been renewed for two more seasons, with an estimated premiere date on CBC of January 2021 for season 5. With the extended shutdown, however, we expect the launch date to be delayed (along with everything else).
Visiting Kim’s Convenience in Real Life
If you just can’t wait for more Appa and Umma, you can hop in the car and visit the real Kim’s Convenience.
Yes, THERE’S A REAL KIM’S CONVENIENCE!
Located at 252 Queen Street East in downtown Toronto, this convenience store owned by Yong and Kyung Chung was originally named Mimi’s Variety. They had no connection to the name and were more than happy to change it to Kim’s Convenience.
Only the exterior is used for filming but the rest is shot on a set that’s an exact replica of the store.