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TV SHOW REVIEW: Kim's Convenience

Kim’s Convenience


GRADE: B


GENRES: sit-com





GENERAL COMMENTS: Kimchee


Either you like it, hate it or endure its pungent spiciness. For those who don’t know what kimchee is, this truly Korean side dish supposedly cures everything from cancer to annoying roommates. When I first tried it, I really didn’t like it! Think horse radish or sauer kraut. Though, I forced myself to eat it because I live in Korea.


That one word best describes this show about a Korean-Canadian family. Either you will like it, hate it…or somehow grow fond of it along the way.


When I read about “Kim’s Convenience” in a news source, I was excited. I started imagining all the nuances of the Korean culture that could fit into a comedy. And for the most part, this show doesn’t fail to do that.


However, for some reason, some of the episodes and scenes just fall flat. Okay…not some. There are more than some. I’m not really sure why. Maybe the comedic timing is off? Or maybe the humor is not nuanced enough? It is enjoyable to watch, but it really doesn’t leave you rolling on the floor.


It’s endearing enough. Appa is an enjoyable personality to watch. But when I compare this show to “Modern Family”, “Fresh of the Boat” or even one as old as “The Cosby Show”, it just lacks in creating this world that I can’t stop watching. I continue watching because I…well…I have grown fond of kimchee after living twelve years in South Korea.


WHAT WORKS: I really like the character Appa. There is story thread where he is trying to get this photographer to take his “funeral photo”. In the Korean culture, the last image of you at your funeral is this photo, so it is a very important photo. Appa wears make-up and humorously tries to get the photographer to catch his “success” in a natural way. He is a stereotypical bumbling father, similar to Ray in “Everybody Loves Raymond”. You just want to love him because of how awkward he is.


As well, I did like some of the awkward stories the show threw in. One episode tackles the prevalence of corporal punishment in many Korean households. There is this thump on the head that a “bad kid” can get instead of the switch on the butt that I got! I smiled when Appa related how he was forced to hold up a heavy dictionary as his punishment. Another has the “dong chim” or poking a person in the butthole. Yes, that is a thing here in South Korea!


And there are all these little nuggets in the show. Though, I wonder if someone not familiar with the Korean culture would pick up on them.


WHAT DOESN’T WORK: I really gotta watch this TV show with my wife and friends here in Korea. I wonder how they are going to react to this show. I might come back to this review and post an update. Though, the stereotypes are a bit cringe-worthy. But maybe this is just comedy?


And honestly, the acting isn’t really the best. I don’t like the portrayal of Umma by Jean Yoon. She more annoyed me than anything else. I wish I could replace her as she ruins a lot of scenes for me when she enters. And the other actors are so so.


Their characters are also just so so. The only other character I really liked besides Appa is Kimchee. He is the stereotypical lazy goof that is the antagonist to the “bad boy” turned corporate character of Jung.


And the stories are very predictable. There aren’t that many surprises like there were with “The Office” or “Seinfeld”.


And what the heck were you thinking with the character Nayoung? This show keeps pretty true to the Korean culture, but Nayoung was a stereotypical Japanese young lady and not Korean! Did they think it would be cuter if she was Japanese kawaii (cute)? Please don’t do that again!


Like I wrote, I’ll keep watching because…well…kimchee. And who knows, maybe this show will grow on me like “The Office” did – slowly and with a lasting appeal in the end.

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