Polarized feedback about Kim’s Convenience from Korean community

TV show popular among Korean community, but faces criticisms as well

Koreatown is on Bloor Street West where you can experience genuine Korean culture. (Yeye Zhu/Toronto Observer)

The TV show Kim’s Convenience has run on CBC Television since October. As the first Canadian show featuring the Korean community, Kim’s Convenience is seen by many as a promoter of multiculturalism.

Veronica Lee, 63, works as a shopping assistant in PAT Mart, a Korean grocery store in Koreatown on Bloor Street West. As a Korean immigrant who has lived in Canada for 40 years, she said she thinks Kim’s Convenience represents the Korean Canadians properly.

“All my friends like the show very much.” she said, “And actually [the original] Kim’s mother came to the store all the time.”

For Korean people who have been in Canada a while, this show reminds them of their early experience when they first arrive in Canada.

“For the first generation Korean immigrants, it was sad,” said Sung Lee, owner of a clothing store in Koreatown. She said it was hard to fight for good life in Canada when she first came here a long time ago.

“As old generation people, we still think and live in an oriental (traditional) way of life,” she said. “But for second generation and younger people, it’s getting better.”

However, there are also people who think Kim’s Convenience could have done better.

“I don’t really like the show,” said William Yoo. “They over-exaggerated Korean people’s characters.”

Yoo, 41, came to Canada from South Korea 15 years ago, and now works as a body builder. He said he was really looking forward to the TV series as he missed the stage version of Kim’s Convenience earlier in 2013, but he was disappointed after watching the show.

“I was so upset,” Yoo said. “I read about the actor who plays the father in the show. He came to Canada when he was very little, he had no accent in English. But [in the show] he way too exaggerated the accent in Chinese or somewhere else, but not Korean.”

The show also attracts people from other countries. Youg Ling, 33, who originally came from Singapore, has been living in Canada for three years, and she’s an illustrator. She said she enjoyed the show a lot.

“It was really funny,” Ling said. “But I didn’t find too much connection because I’m an Asian Asian, not a Canadian Asian.”