BY THE BEAVERTON’S GARY LIM
Okay, full disclosure, I’ve never actually watched Kim’s Convenience. But when I asked my editor if I could pass this article assignment on to another writer, he declined saying how much he valued my specific input and perspective. Then when I asked him to define exactly what that perspective was, he stopped responding to my emails. So I guess I’m doing this.
Alright, so Kim’s Convenience is a critically-acclaimed stage play about, wait, no sorry, I’m on the wrong Wikipedia entry. Kim’s Convenience is a critically-acclaimed sitcom, based on a stage-play, centered around the eponymous Kim family and their adventures in owning a Toronto-area convenience store. Oh! That’s why it’s called Kim’s Convenience, oh that-that’s clever.
Last week stars of the show, Simu Liu and Jean Yoon, made headlines by speaking out against the showrunners over social media. The actors brought to light serious issues including overtly racist storylines and a lack of representation in the writer’s room. Having never seen the show, I can’t comment on whether the storylines were racist, nor can I confirm whether me or the one other Asian writer at The Beaverton have ever experienced a lack of representation. (Hi, Brigitte!)
Asian culture is hardly a monolith and I can only speak from my personal experience but it’s tough being a minority in comedy. Being the one different person in the room and wondering if you’re there by your own merit or just to fill a quota. Maintaining the balancing act of speaking your truth without feeling like you need to be a mouthpiece for your demographic.
These are the sorts of issues I’ve experienced that are addressed by a show like Kim’s Convenience, I think. I don’t know; the only episode I could find on YouTube is the series pilot where Appa creates a “gay discount.”
For all these reasons and more, it’s vital that shows like Kim’s Convenience continue to exist; ones which offer unique cultural insight into— Wait. It’s cancelled? But I was building to a whole conclusion and nevermind.
Wait, hold on, I can salvage this. Look, I clearly don’t know what I’m talking about, and this article would be better served by someone who has a more thorough understanding of the source material and show culture. For a story to resonate with its audience, it has to come from a place of authenticity, like how a sitcom delving into the intergenerational issues experienced by Korean-Canadian immigrants, should ostensibly have input from Korean-Canadians immigrants.
Oh ho ho. What’s this? Was this all a clever metaphor to drive home a point? No! I’ve seriously never watched this show, that’s been the central thesis to this whole article.
By the way, have you guys ever seen Little Mosque on the Prairie? I love that show! Don’t even get me started on Manoj Sood’s stunning performance as the patriarchal Imam, Baber Siddiqui, because I will go on for hours.