Crazy Relatable Asians: Kim's Convenience mirrors the modern Asian experience with comedy and heart

Crazy Relatable Asians: Kim's Convenience mirrors the modern Asian experience with comedy and heart

Modern family

Text: Yimin Huang

Editor: Aravin Sandran

Korean-Canadian series Kim Convenience offers a down-to-earth, incisive look into the modern lives of Asians

Crazy Rich Asians and the recent Netflix series To All the Boys I've Loved Before both feature Asian leads and have gained tremendous publicity for their Asian representation. Kim's Convenience, a comedy series that debuted on Netflix internationally in July this year, may not have the glitz and glamour, or a dreamy romance fairytale to boast of, but its ability to be fall-on-the-floor funny while staying true to real-life experiences makes it perhaps the most relatable show on television right now.

The general plotline of the show is built on the everyday lives of an immigrant Korean family who owns a local 'mama shop'. Tensions and challenges arise because of generational gaps, personality clashes and culture shocks. Though seemingly mundane on the surface, on-the-nose punchlines dare to be a little politically incorrect while the multi-dimensional characters make the series highly watchable and resonant, not only for Korean-Canadians but for Asians all over the world.

The father "Appa" is a blunt character with a typical paunchy dad bod. On one occasion in the pilot episode, he expresses discomfort at the noise created by the Pride parade, and asks some pretty legit questions ("what is the difference between a transsexual and a transgender?") but nonetheless treats LGBTQ customers with respect. The church-going mother "Umma" starts off the series being intrusive about her daughter's love life by pressuring her to seek out potential dates at church, a suggestion that wouldn't be out of place in Singaporean families. However, she slowly grows to recognise the importance of giving her daughter autonomy in her life's choices. There is also the opinionated modern woman, Janet Kim, who is frustrated with her parents' traditionalism and lack of understanding for her endeavours in art. She is the voice for every young Asian person who has ever felt estranged from their parents and society for pursuing a less 'pragmatic' passion. Finally, Jung Kim, Janet's rebellious brother who was once a teenage delinquent struggles to find acceptance from his father. No main character is flat or black-and-white, and their conflicts are often hilarious with plenty of heart. 

Kim's Convenience is available for streaming on Netflix.

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