Netflix Review: Kim’s Convenience (Seasons 1-3)

It has been a crazy couple of weeks. Crazy busy. I also have a full-time job, for anyone reading who doesn’t actually know me. I’m a school counselor, and that means that it’s the “end of the year” (little known fact: we educators never actually make references to the widely-accepted Jan-Dec calendar year). So as much as I have wanted to just jump on here and crank out a review of one of my current favorite streaming shows, Kim’s Convenience, I haven’t really had the time or brain capacity to do so. Even now, I just left a two day school conference and then replied to the 23 emails I received while at the conference. Yes, twenty+three. But such is my life, and I actually quite enjoy it. I wouldn’t even hesitate to say that I enjoy my job more than I enjoy watching and discussing movies and tv shows. And if you couldn’t guess, I like doing those things too. Anyway, all that to say that I feel like I possibly have just enough left in me today to add this review to the scoreboard (Netflix vs. Amazon Prime, the former taking a significant lead now at 6-3). So here we go!
Kim’s Convenience is a Canadian comedy series picked up by Netflix just over two years ago. It is the first show in CBC history to have an all-Asian cast of lead characters and is subsequently infused with many early childhood experiences of the show’s creator, Ins Choi, who originally wrote the show to be a play that had a four-year run throughout Canadian theatres (plays, not films). The huge success of the play led to a television adaptation a few years later, thus bringing us to the here and now. The show centers on a Korean-Canadian family and their convenience store in Toronto, owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Kim, referred to as “Appa” and “Umma” (father and mother in Korean). In the first season, we learn two important things that continue to move the show forward: 1) The Kims hope to one day hand off the family business to their daughter, Janet, who helps run the front counter from time to time, and 2) They also have an estranged son, Janet’s older brother Jung, who lives nearby but has virtually no contact with his parents due to the fact that he ran away from home years earlier and ended up in juvenile detention for a short time. One of the biggest reasons why I enjoy this show so much is because although other things happen to and around the Kim family, these two plot points remain central to the family’s story line.
The show is also really funny (you could’ve guessed…comedy genre). It didn’t take more than 5 minutes for me to basically commit to finishing at least the first season. In addition to the four family members, the viewers are also introduced to the other “main” characters Kimchee (Jung’s best friend/roommate/co-worker), Shannon (Jung’s boss), and Gerald (Janet’s best friend), along with several recurring characters that walk in and out of the Kim’s lives…literally, because they own a convenience store. The dialogue is great, full of quips and accents, and the characters are well-rounded with family and relationship struggles. And that character depth is genuine, unlike many other comedy shows with on-screen minority families. There isn’t a laugh track, and the family doesn’t always resolve their conflicts in one or two episodes. The generational differences are often highlighted but not always explored through comedy, and I think the dramatic moments are another strength that the show has, being in the comedy genre.
So that’s my brief review of Kim’s Convenience, and you should go check it out. Three seasons are now available to binge watch, and it’s relatively easy to do. In other cinematic news, have you seen Avengers: Endgame yet?! If not, go back and read the first three paragraphs in my Endgame review, spoiler free! If so, go back and read the whole dang thing! I mean, the movie just passed the $2 billion earnings mark after only 12 days in theatres and it looks to have what it takes to dethrone Avatar for the title of highest grossing movie of all time (not adjusted for inflation). At least until Avatar 2 is released, right? Who knows. But in opposition to that statement, I want you all to knows to come back here Saturday and read my review of my most anticipated film of 2019, Pokémon Detective Pikachu 😀 Yes, and I already knows it deserves that open-mouth smiley face because it’s Pokémon and it’s Ryan Reynolds. It will be like almond butter and bananas. Which is delicious. Cheers!

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