Posted in *Recommended, Reviews, TV

Kim’s Convenience – Season 1, Episodes 1-2

kimsconvenience-s1ep1-e1-gaydiscount

Gay Discount

As the series premiere, this episode does a good job of introducing us to the Kim family. There’s the father and mother, referred to as Appa and Umma. They run a convenience store in Toronto. There’s the daughter, Janet, who helps out and studies photography. Jung is the son who doesn’t live at home and is estranged from Appa.

The story starts with Appa hastily offering a gay discount to a couple of gay men when he doesn’t allow them put their gay pride week poster up at his convenience store. It’s kind of gutsy to have an episode essentially centered on reverse discrimination but Appa’s surprisingly accurate gaydar makes for some of the better jokes. The episode shows a rather diverse set of characters such as a transgender (whom Appa has an interesting conversation with) and a woman with a West-Indian accent, whose accent he doesn’t understand. The woman also doesn’t understand Appa’s accent and Mr. Chin, a fellow business owner, is also involved in the misunderstanding. It’s really interesting to see such a real-life occurrence as a scene on TV show because it’s not necessarily something you would see on a typical, generic sitcom where everyone speaks perfect English.

Umma and Janet have some exasperating and totally relatable exchanges about cool, Christian, Korean boyfriends (or lack thereof). The resolution to this subplot ends with a funny scene where Appa questions a potential date on Korean history. Jung doesn’t get much screen time compared to the other family members here. We see him at work with his best friend KimChee.

Overall, I didn’t really find the episode all that funny, it tries but some jokes didn’t really work for me but that might be because some of them are obvious to me. Jung’s scenes are probably the most awkward with ho-hum jokes that the actors try their best to sell. However, the story and characters are good. Janet seems to standout in particular to me but I think each family member will appeal to different audiences. Read on for my thoughts on the second episode…

Janet’s Photos

I’m sure this second episode will feel familiar to a lot of young adults who’ve chosen an artsy/creative career much to the dissatisfaction of their parents. There’s one funny exchange of angry words between Appa and Janet where she manages to get the upper hand but that doesn’t last long as Appa’s childishness gets on her nerves. Later on, a discussion between Mr. Chin and Appa reveals Appa’s jealousy. The comparison they make between Ginger and Janet is hilarious after you realize who Ginger is after Appa’s last line.

We get to see more of Jung in this episode. He wants to apply for the assistant manager job. His manager, Shannon, is pleased in more ways than one but due to his checkered past is not optimistic about his chances. In reaction to this, Umma has one of the best lines of the episode, “Good luck being assistant ass manager.” KimChee is also not enthusiastic about it. He’s the type of loudmouth character that I never really like and that didn’t really change here.

This episode is funnier than the first. The resolution between Appa and Janet is quite touching.

Misc

There is some criticism in regards to Appa and Umma speaking to each other in accented English rather than Korean. Yeah, it’s true in real life they would be speaking to each other in Korean but this is one thing that I don’t think is a big deal. I’m pretty sure it’s done more for people who just hate reading subtitles.

Although the humor was hit and miss in some cases, episode 2 was stronger in the humor department. I would say these episodes are worth watching more than once since it’s actually easy to miss some jokes, like the amount of Umma’s bribe, a detail I completely missed on a first viewing.

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Author:

Longtime fan of East Asian films. Occasional guest "movie reporter" on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" broadcasted on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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