Kim's Convenience is a hit

Though cranky and self-important, Appa has an endearing softness. Picture: Supplied
Though cranky and self-important, Appa has an endearing softness. Picture: Supplied

Kim’s Convenience

Available on Netflix SA

. . . . -

This could probably be the first time I’ve watched a Canadian sitcom and boy, oh boy, I haven’t laughed this much in ages. If you love family sitcoms then you add this to your binge-watch list. Based on a play, Kim’s Convenience – about a Korean Canadian family – the show has become a word-of-mouth phenomenon. It’s got two seasons available on Netflix, a third to debut next year and the green light for the fourth.

The show takes its name from the Toronto shop run by Appa and his wife Umma – the names for dad and mom in Korean, as well as what Korean husbands and wives customarily call each other.

Though cranky and self-important, Appa has an endearing softness. Umma is sweet as pie. Helping them run the store is their daughter, Janet, a college student who’s inherited her father’s stubbornness. Most of the show’s secondary plots revolve around the Kims’ grown son Jung (Simu Liu), who has been estranged from his father for the past decade and rarely sees his mother and sister.

Halfway through the first season there’s a scene that encapsulates the show. Appa stares at a black guy sifting through snacks in the store. He asks Janet: “What you think, steal or no steal?” Janet asks her father if the man took something, but Appa dismisses her question: “He’s a no steal, because he’s a black guy, brown shoes.”

Appa claims, this is a “cancel-out combo”. White guys with white shoes are “steal”. Brown women with blue jackets are “no steal”. “But,” he says, “a lesbian – that’s a girl who is the gay – if she’s whistling, that’s a steal. But two lesbians? That’s a no steal. Even if whistling. That’s a cancel-out combo.”

In just more than 90 seconds, the show touches on racial profiling, privilege and queer stereotypes at an amazing pace. The delivery is effortless and the scene’s flow is so instinctive, that you have no choice but to laugh. Expect tons of this watching the two seasons.

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