The CBC-TV series was originally an acclaimed stage play
Canada’s first Asian-led sitcom, Kim’s Convenience, is debuting tomorrow, 4 October 2016.
[UPDATE: The show is actually being pushed to October 11th due to a baseball game]
Ins Choi, the Korean-Canadian actor-playwright behind the hit theatre production said “I’m really excited to have the show being broadcast at this time in history”.
The sitcom debuts amid discussions surrounding the criticism about Hollywood’s lack of diversity. Speaking to CBC News, Choi said, “I love that we are part of that [discussion]. That this show — in a positive, proactive way, with a lot of humour, a lot of heart, kind of an essentially Canadian way — we can add to that conversation.”
The sitcom focuses on a Korean-owned convenience store in Toronto. Dad and store owner Mr. Kim is played by Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), who goes by the name of Appa in the family. Mr. and Mrs. Kim (known as Umma and played by Jean Yoon) have had their store location for decades and have two young-adult children – Janet (Andrea Bang) and Jung (Simu Liu). Janet is at art school and Jung is working at a car rental company.
The stars of the shows have wanted to see the lives of Canadian Asians represented on screen for a while. “I love hockey. I love the Blue Jays. I drink beer, maple syrup. I’m Canadian through and through, but a lot of times I’m not allowed to play a Canadian. I’ve got to be the guy in the background,” Lee said.
Jean Yoon added, “it’s great as an artist of colour to be playing a fully rounded character.In my experience, we’re coming in to play roles that will further the plot, that would deliver information, that would set the hero up, but in this show we — the people of colour — get to be the heroes.”
Choi, who lived above his uncle’s convenience store as a child, used his life experience to develop Kim’s Convenience – his first ever play. The play proved to be a great success, debuting at the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival, before prompting a bidding war from several theatre companies. Choi eventually chose to sign with Toronto troupe Soulpepper. “At the beginning, we knew there was something special,” Choi said, “we just didn’t know it would get to these levels.”
The series spans 13 episodes and debuts tomorrow on CBC-TV on Oct. 11 at 9 p.m. ET (9:30 NT).