Two days after the series finale of Kim’s Convenience, I already miss it. Wrapping the comedy with the social issues, the show is another great sitcom that aired in the perfect timing.
Kim’s Convenience tell you the story and the misadventures of a Korean Canadian family running a convenience store in Toronto. From the under-achieving son to the overcompensating daughter. This show was my first introduction to the Asian Canadian culture. There’s almost nothing edgy about the show, yet this quality is precisely why I kept watching.
So, what makes it a great show?
During its five seasons run, Kim’s Convenience falls into the pleasant rhythms of the traditional family sitcom in many ways. Wrapped around the family vibe is another show that’s unapologetically Korean (complex Korean church politics anyone?). The second layer of the show is a layer of immigrant culture, represented by the customers who drop by the store for a pop or some chips or just to hang out.
In addition, all the characters feel real, and vibrant, and necessary: When Mr Kim tries to connect with his customers, he’s only right about half the time, but he tries. Watching it gives you the feeling of a rare sitcom that understands that not every joke needs to be explained to the molecular level, because its viewers live in the world as well.
These are not big stories, but they are valuable stories. And, by mixing these with the beats of a family sitcom, we got a successful portrayal of the immigrant experience without ever becoming something that could be cynically dismissed as “the immigrant show”.
There’s another important dynamic in the show: the complex, contentious relationship between Mr. Kim and his son, Jung. As we kickoff the first season, the two haven’t spoken in years after a falling out. In fact, the slow and timid steps they take toward reconciliation are as painful and awkward and funny as any will-they-won’t-they in television. Which made it almost impossible for me to not root for them to somehow get over their stubbornness and pride before it’s too late.
Should you watch it?
If you loved Schitt’s Creek, you’ll like this one. Same vibe, different treatment. Plus, it introduced us to Simu Liu. If you love good family sitcoms, watch Kim’s Convenience.