A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kim's Convenience is a popular Canadian series that revolves around a Korean Canadian family and uses this premise to address issues like racial profiling, discrimination, and other contemporary social issues. There's some occasional strong language (including a few curse words), and some sexual innuendo. Conversations about getting married and having children are common, and in one episode bare bottoms are visible in an artistic photograph. Beer drinking is visible. This is a great show for families with teens to start conversations about diversity, the immigrant experience, and loving family.
What's the story?
Based on Ins Choi's 2011 stage play of the same name, KIM'S CONVENIENCE is a comedy series that centers on the daily life of a Korean Canadian convenience store owner in the diverse city of Toronto, Canada. Mr. Kim (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) lives above his store with his wife (played by Jean Soon) and their adult daughter, Janet (Andrea Bang), who's an aspiring photographer. Also close by is their estranged son, Jung (Simu Liu), who hasn't spoken to Appa (Korean for "father") since he was 16, but remains close to Umma ("mother") and his sister. The elder Kims work hard to maintain their Christian Korean values but consistently find themselves negotiating their customs and beliefs with the modern Canadian world, especially when it comes to their children, and at times, their customers.
Is it any good?
This sharp, well-written series uses humor as a way of commenting on contemporary social issues, ranging from racial profiling and misconceptions about the LGBTQ community to coping with the assimilation of their children. Mr. Kim, as the family patriarch, plays a central part in this, bluntly offering often misguided perspectives. But his approach isn't cruel, and despite his gruff, outspoken ways, he's often a man who is simply unfamiliar with, but sincerely not opposed to, what's happening around him.
While some may find the show somewhat stereotypical (especially when it comes to Appa and Umma's accents), the main characters are not caricatures. Instead, they are well-developed personages that both reflect and challenge multiple facets of the contemporary Korean Canadian experience. The punchlines aren't excessive, either. It's maybe because of this that Kim's Convenience lacks the edginess prevalent in popular U.S. comedies, especially those that address similar themes. Nonetheless, it's both entertaining and thoughtful.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the immigrant experience in Canada vs. in the United States. Are there differences between the way immigrants are received in Canada vs. the United States? In which country is it easier for people from other countries to assimilate? Why?
Does Kim’s Convenience reinforce generalizations, or does it defy them? If viewers with backgrounds or experiences similar to the show's characters can identify with them or their behavior, does this make it any less stereotypical?
For kids who love diverse TV
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