|Based on||Kim's Convenience|
by Ins Choi
|Developed by||Ins Choi|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||65 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producers||Ivan Fecan |
|Production locations||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company||Thunderbird Films|
|Original network||CBC Television|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||October 11, 2016 –|
April 13, 2021
Kim's Convenience is a Canadian television sitcom that premiered on CBC Television in October 2016 and ran on Tuesdays until 2021. It depicts the Korean Canadian Kim family that runs a convenience store in the Moss Park neighbourhood of Toronto: parents "Appa" (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) and "Umma" (Jean Yoon) – Korean for dad and mom, respectively – along with their daughter Janet (Andrea Bang) and estranged son Jung (Simu Liu). Other characters include Jung's friend and coworker Kimchee (Andrew Phung), his manager Shannon (Nicole Power) and Janet's friend Gerald Tremblay (Ben Beauchemin). The series is based on Ins Choi's 2011 play of the same name.
The first season was filmed from June to August 2016 at Showline Studios in Toronto. It is produced by Thunderbird Films in conjunction with Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre Company, with Lee and Yoon reprising their roles from the play. Scripts were created by Choi and Kevin White, who previously wrote for Corner Gas.
The second season premiered September 26, 2017. In July 2018, the series became available outside of Canada when it debuted internationally on Netflix. However, since January 2020, it is no longer available in all markets (e.g., the Netherlands), making the fourth season unavailable to a worldwide audience. The third season premiered January 8, 2019 and the fourth premiered January 7, 2020.
On March 31, 2020, it was initially announced that the show had been renewed for two more seasons, and on March 8, 2021, it was revealed that the show would end after the fifth season, due to the departure of the show's two co-creators. Since the show's cancellation, several of the show's actors have publicly discussed production issues, particularly criticising a lack of diversity among behind-the-scenes staff.
Cast and characters
- Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Mr. Sang-il Kim ("Appa"). The family patriarch, Kim Sang-il, studied to be a teacher in Korea before immigrating to Canada with his wife, where they now own and operate Kim's Convenience, a convenience store in Toronto's Moss Park neighbourhood. Mr. Kim is traditional, proud and stubborn, practical, opinionated and blunt. He is 56 years old at the start of the series and estranged from his son Jung, a frayed relationship he gradually attempts to mend beginning in Season 2.
- Jean Yoon as Mrs. Yong-mi Kim ("Umma"). The family matriarch, Kim Yong-mi, 54 at the start of the series, was also a teacher in Korea. She is hardworking and kind but also meddles in the lives of her family. Her life revolves around the store, family, and church, where she volunteers.
- Andrea Bang as Janet Kim, 20 at the start of the series, Mr. and Mrs. Kim's daughter and Jung's younger sister. She is the family member in most frequent contact with Jung. Attending OCAD University, where she studies photography, Janet is a talented artist but is frustrated by her parents' traditionalism, their lack of support for her art, and the fact that they overparent her due to Jung's estrangement from the household.
- Simu Liu as Jung Kim, 24 at the start of the series, Mr. and Mrs. Kim's son and Janet's brother. Jung works at Handy Car Rental, where he is promoted to assistant manager at the beginning of the series but returns to his former job after an attempt at moving to another company is scuttled. He was a rebellious teenager who had engaged in petty street crimes, earning him a brief stint in juvenile detention, but has since cleaned up his act. He was kicked out of the family home by Mr. Kim after stealing from him and remains estranged from his father, though he is still in contact with the rest of the family, and gradually reconnects with his father over the course of the series.
- Andrew Phung as Arnold "Kimchee" Han, 25 at the start of the series. Jung's best friend since childhood, co-worker, roommate, and former partner in crime. He is promoted to assistant manager after Jung initially leaves Handy Car Rental at the end of Season 2, now serving as his superior.
- Nicole Power as Shannon Ross, 26. The manager of Handy Car Rental, and Jung and Kimchee's boss, she has a crush on Jung in season 1 and is often awkward in her attempts to appear cool and hip. Over multiple seasons with sexual tension between them, Shannon and Jung enter into a relationship after Shannon breaks up with Alejandro - who repeatedly cheated on her. Jung and Shannon's relationship is complicated due to Shannon being his manager at Handy. In the first episode of season 1 it is revealed that she is a diabetic.
- John Ng as Mr. Chin, Mr. Kim's friend and a successful entrepreneur, owning several businesses. Fastidious, he does not like to do manual labour. He is single with a dog named Ginger. He often treats Ginger like one would treat a significant other.
- Ben Beauchemin as Gerald Tremblay, Janet's classmate at OCAD. He is intimidated by Mr. Kim and has awkward interactions with him. He and Janet later become roommates after Janet moves out from home in season 2.
- Michael Musi as Terence Pepler, a mild-mannered employee at Handy Car Rental whom Kimchee inexplicably hates. He is promoted to back manager at Handy's in Season 3.
- Getenesh Berhe as Semira, one of Janet's OCAD photography classmates and friends.
- Derek McGrath as Frank, a repairman and friend of Mr. Kim's who tells pointless anecdotes while working, often reminiscing about his former wife Bernice. Mr. Kim is almost always annoyed by this.
- Soo-Ram Kim as Nayoung, Janet's cheery, popular, and trendy cousin from South Korea in season 1. In season 2 she moves to Canada to attend the University of Waterloo. She leaves Canada to return to South Korea in season 5.
- Michael Xavier as Alex Jackson, a police officer who was Jung's childhood friend and who is romantically interested in Janet in season 1.
- Sabrina Grdevich as Ms. Murray, one of Janet's professors at OCAD. She parents her five-year-old son with little discipline, and holds Janet's work in a low regard.
- Hiro Kanagawa as Pastor Choi, the pastor at the Kims' church in season 1.
- Amanda Brugel as Pastor Nina Gomez, associate pastor at the Kims' church. Becomes pastor after season 1.
- Christina Song as Mrs. Lee, Grace Lee's mother and Mrs. Kim's friend and fellow parishioner at their church.
- Uni Park as Mrs. Park, a supercilious and well-to-do parishioner at Mrs. Kim's church who looks down on the Kims.
- Sugith Varughese as Mr. Mehta, a friend of Mr. Kim's who owns an Indian buffet restaurant nearby. Despite being friends, Mr. Mehta and Mr. Kim never use their first names, which are Sanjeev and Sang-il, respectively.
- Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll as Enrique Moratonas, a registered nurse and regular customer. He considers Mr. Kim his friend, but this is unrequited. He alerts Mr. Kim to a potentially significant health issue.
- Tina Jung as Jeanie Park, Mrs. Park's introverted teenage daughter
- Kris Hagen as Sketchy-Looking Dude, a regular customer who is also revealed to be a bike thief in Season 2.
- Gavin Williams as Cereal Customer, a regular customer who is frequently and inadvertently present in intense Kim family arguments.
- Marco Grazzini as Alejandro, Shannon's boyfriend beginning at the end of season 1.
- Ellora Patnaik as Mrs. Anjali Mehta, Mr. Mehta's wife and a friend of Mrs. Kim.
- Ishan Davé as Raj Mehta, an emergency room doctor who is the Mehtas' son and Janet's boyfriend in season 2 and her ex in season 3.
- Gabriella Sundar Singh as Chelsea Chettiar, Gerald's girlfriend beginning in season 2. Moves in with Gerald and Janet in season 3.
- Akosua Amo-Adem as Stacie, one of Jung's co-workers after he returns to Handy in season 3. She is incredibly stoic and any degree of active friendliness from her is taken as strange.
- Ziad Ek as Omar, one of Jung's co-workers after he returns to Handy in season 3.
- Lara Arabian as Mrs. Ada, a regular customer, and the matriarch of a new immigrant family. She briefly works for the Kims as a cleaner in season 3.
- Kayla Lorette as Dree Davis, Janet's popular classmate at OCAD.
- Soma Chhaya as Divya, Raj's fiancé in Season 3. Raj breaks off their engagement near the end of the season in the hopes of winning Janet back, whom he still has feelings for.
- Gia Sandhu as Marlow, an associate at Handy Car Rental. She has a brief flirtation with Jung, but rejects him when it becomes clear that he is still hung up on Shannon.
- Benjamin Sutherland as Nathan, a yoga instructor and one of Janet's classmates at OCAD who later becomes her boyfriend in season 4.
- James Yi as Jimmy Young, a car dealership owner & parishioner at the Kims' church who later becomes the boyfriend of Pastor Nina in season 4.
- Jenny Raven as Gwen, Kimchee's girlfriend from season 3 onward. It is also learned that Terence gives her flute lessons.
- Daren A. Herbert as Kwami, a roommate of Shannon & Jung's in season 5. He is also the director at the Desmond Community Centre where Janet works.
Interior scenes at the store, Handy Car Rental and home are shot at Studio City Toronto (formerly Showline Studios) at 915 Lake Shore Boulevard East, where an exact replica of Mimi Variety, the model for the store, has been recreated. The studio is also used as the exterior of the car rental business. One episode was shot in Koreatown at Bloor and Christie Streets.
The long-established Mimi Variety store at 252 Queen Street East is used for exterior shots and as the model for the interior set built in the studio. While the signage has been adjusted, the "Kim's Convenience" sign uses the same red and green lettering as the original sign. All other sections, such as the "7 DAYS A WEEK" element, are the original signage of Mimi Variety. The owners of the Mimi Variety store have retained the new signage, even though the business has not officially changed its name. The producers also painted a mural on an exterior wall, mostly seen in the credit sequence and for stock transitional shots, as well as for promotional shots.
Episodes for season 5 were filmed in 2020 under strict protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Simu Liu had planned to return to Toronto for the start of production once he was finished shooting Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in Australia. Since filming for both projects overlapped due to delays caused by the pandemic, he was only able to return to Toronto toward the end of production, where he continued shooting for nine days until he had completed "all the stuff that he missed out on".
On March 8, 2021, it was announced that the series would be coming to end after the fifth season, despite being renewed for a sixth season a year earlier, due to the departure of series creators Choi and White, who decided to move on to other projects after the production completion on the fifth season. The show's producers, Thunderbird Films, ultimately decided not to move forward with the sixth season, believing that they would not be able to deliver the "same heart and quality". One of the aforementioned projects was a spin-off of the show, Strays, which would center on character Shannon Ross, played by Nicole Power, and was developed by White with Kim's producer Ivan Fecan serving as executive producer. Fecan explained that Choi was unsure of how to continue with the show beyond the fifth season. The cast and crew attempted to persuade Choi to remain for the show's planned sixth and final season, but ultimately Choi decided to depart the show. Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, who played Appa in both the series and the original play, said that Choi stopped contacting Lee after speaking with him about staying on the show. He later said the series "died from within...No matter how good it can be, if you don’t deal with issues from within and try to gloss it over because everything on the surface looks fantastic and idealistic, then you are just asking for trouble. I think that’s the unfortunate lesson from this whole thing.” Fecan decided to end the show as he believed the series could not continue without Choi.
On June 2, 2021, cast member Simu Liu claimed that the show suffered from a lack of diversity among writers and producers and that there was discord behind the scenes. He also claimed that actors were not allowed to offer creative input and that the cast was poorly paid. Shortly after, on June 6, 2021, actor Jean Yoon stated on social media that "[A]s an Asian Canadian woman, a Korean-Canadian woman w [sic] more experience and knowledge of the world of my characters, the lack of Asian female, especially Korean writers in the writers' room of Kim's [Convenience] made my life very difficult and the experience of working on the show painful." Liu also stated that he would not reprise his role in the Strays spin-off due to it focusing on Nicole Power's character Shannon, the only white main character from the show.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||October 11, 2016||December 27, 2016|
|2||13||September 26, 2017||December 19, 2017|
|3||13||January 8, 2019||April 2, 2019|
|4||13||January 7, 2020||March 31, 2020|
|5||13||January 19, 2021||April 13, 2021|
|1||13||March 7, 2017|
|2||13||March 6, 2018|
The show was released to mostly positive reception from critics. The first season holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 12 critics' reviews. John Doyle of The Globe and Mail wrote that the show "stays away from the pseudo-seriousness that could easily plague a comedy about immigrants and family dynamics." In conclusion, Doyle called it "a clever, generally engaging screwball comedy with an eye on entertainment". The Toronto Star's Tony Wong wrote that "the show is good. Possibly even great. The dialogue is sharp, on point and borderline subversive. It has the potential to be a future classic. It has bite...It's funny and true, but not a reality we typically see reflected on television." Reviewing the series following its release for US audiences on Netflix, Bryan Washington of Vulture remarked on the series' treatment of political issues surrounding immigrants, noting the tensions are never truly in the background but also do not take precedence over the comedy, remarking "I haven't laughed as hard all year, with feeling, as I have alongside the series."
Rick Salutin, also of the Star, was less enthusiastic of the show's portrayal of minorities on television saying "only accents are funny in Kim's Convenience" and that audiences are "laughing at the characters not with them". Salutin concluded by stating "I don't see why supporting Canadian culture means you should be uncritical, as if someone will take it away if you weren't. You should be most critical about what you care most about like public education or the CBC, you want them to be good not just there". Although not directly a response to Salutin's review, actor Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Appa) has questioned critics' inclination to cite accents as offensive: "They won’t say—but is it because you’re seeing Asians on the screen? Oh, no? Well, then it must be because he sounds different. Well, guess what: Asian people have accents. The accent isn’t about a joke, it’s part of who that character is, but it doesn’t make it intrinsically racist. If you’re uncomfortable with that baggage, then you need to examine it yourself and see where it comes from."
Mark Breslin, founder of the Canadian comedy club chain Yuk Yuk's, was critical of the show's lack of strong humour, saying "As a sitcom, it's more sit than com. It's pleasant to watch but just not that funny. The characters aren't exaggerated enough. They lack big comic flaws. The conflicts are subtle and minor key. You want to give its creators kudos for finally putting Asians on TV in the right way, but the whole enterprise plays like a civics lesson. The characters all behave with dignity, and dignity may be the enemy of laughter."
For the 5th Canadian Screen Awards in 2017, Kim's Convenience garnered 11 nominations, including Best Comedy Series, Best Actor in a Comedy Series (Lee), Best Actress in a Comedy Series (Yoon and Bang), and Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Phung). Lee won the award for best actor in a continuing leading comedic role for his portrayal of Appa, and Phung won Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Kimchee.
At the 6th Canadian Screen Awards in 2018, the series received 12 nominations. It won the awards for Best Comedy Series, Best Actor in a Comedy Series (Lee) and Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Phung).
As the show's third season aired in the winter of 2019 rather than the fall of 2018, it did not air inside the eligibility period for the 7th Canadian Screen Awards.
|2017||ACTRA Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actress||Jean Yoon ("Gay Discount")||Won|||
|Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble||Won|
|Canadian Screen Awards||Best Comedy Series||Nominated|||
|Best Direction in a Comedy Program or Series||Peter Wellington ("Gay Discount")||Nominated|
|Best Writing in a Comedy Program or Series||Ins Choi, Kevin White ("Gay Discount")||Nominated|
|Garry Campbell ("Ddong Chim")||Nominated|
|Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Comedic Role||Jean Yoon||Nominated|
|Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Comedic Role||Paul Sun-Hyung Lee||Won|
|Best Achievement in Casting||Deirdre Bowen, Millie Tom ("Frank & Nayoung")||Won|
|Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role
or Guest Role in a Comedic Series
|Andrew Phung ("Janet's Photos", "Ddong Chim")||Won|
|Best Photography in a Comedy Program or Series||Fraser Brown ("Frank & Nayoung")||Nominated|
|Best Picture Editing in a Comedy Program or Series||Kye Meechan ("Gay Discount")||Won|
|WGC Screenwriting Awards||TV Comedy||Garry Campbell ("Ddong Chim")||Nominated|||
|Ins Choi, Kevin White ("Janet's Photos")||Nominated|
|2018||ACTRA Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor||Paul Sun-Hyung Lee ("Hapkido")||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble||Nominated|
|Canadian Screen Awards||Best Comedy Series||Won|||
|Best Direction, Comedy||Aleysa Young ("Date Night")||Nominated|
|Best Photography, Comedy||Fraser Brown ("Cardboard Jung")||Nominated|
|Best Picture Editing, Comedy||Aren Hansen ("Date Night")||Nominated|
|Best Writing, Comedy||Anita Kapila ("Resting Place")||Nominated|
|Matt Kippen ("Business Award")||Nominated|
|Best Achievement in Casting||Deirdre Bowen||Nominated|
|Best Lead Actor, Comedy||Paul Sun-Hyung Lee||Won|
|Best Supporting or Guest Actor, Comedy||Andrew Phung ("Cardboard Jung", "Resting Place")||Won|
|Best Lead Actress, Comedy||Andrea Bang||Nominated|
|Best Supporting or Guest Actress, Comedy||Nicole Power||Nominated|
|WGC Screenwriting Awards||TV Comedy||Anita Kapila ("Resting Place")||Nominated|||
|Matt Kippen ("Business Award")||Nominated|
|2019||Seoul International Drama Awards||Most Popular Foreign Drama of the Year||Won|||
|2020||Canadian Screen Awards||Best Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Best Lead Actor, Comedy Series||Paul Sun-Hyung Lee||Nominated|
|Best Lead Actress, Comedy Series||Jean Yoon||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor, Comedy Series||Andrew Phung||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress, Comedy Series||Nicole Power||Nominated|
|Best Guest Performance, Comedy Series||Amanda Brugel||Won|
|Best Costume Design||Ruth Secord, "Appanticitis"||Nominated|
|Best Casting||Deirdre Bowen||Nominated|
- Nestruck, J. Kelly (November 3, 2015). "Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre Company announces 2016 lineup". Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
- @KimsConvenience (November 21, 2019). "This just in: Kim's Convenience Season 4 hits your screens January 7. #OkSeeYou" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- @kimsconvenience (March 31, 2020). "#KimsConvenience is officially renewed for Seasons 5 & 6 on @cbc! #OkSeeYou" – via Instagram.
- @kimsconvenience (March 8, 2021). "Authenticity of storytelling is at the center of the success of Kim's Convenience..." – via Instagram.
- Moreau, Jordan (March 8, 2021). "'Kim's Convenience' to End With Season 5 on CBC". Variety.
- Volmers, Eric (March 19, 2021). "'It died from within': Two actors lament the untimely demise of Kim's Convenience". Calgary Herald. Postmedia Network. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
- Gardner, Chris (June 7, 2021). "'Kim's Convenience' Stars Simu Liu and Jean Yoon Open up on 'Painful' Lack of Diversity, 'Overtly Racist' Storylines". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
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