Kim's Convenience closes shop with series finale
Director appreciative of show's 'authenticity and depth, heart and comedy'
CBC comedy Kim's Convenience aired its series finale on Tuesday, saying "OK, see you," to fans after five seasons and widespread acclaim.
The producers of the hit comedy show about the beloved Kim family and their fictional Toronto shop announced on March 8 that Kim's Convenience would conclude after its fifth season. The Canadian Screen Award-winning program had been renewed for a sixth season, but the producers said in a statement that co-creators Ins Choi and Kevin White were moving on to other projects.
Kim's Convenience premiered on CBC in 2016 and is based on the play of the same name by Choi. The Toronto-set show stars Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Jean Yoon, Andrea Bang and Simu Liu as the titular Kim family, as well as Andrew Phung and Nicole Power.
The abrupt conclusion may leave some narratives unfulfilled — particularly a full reconciliation between Lee and Liu's father-and-son characters, Appa and Jung.
Tonight’s episode of Kim’s Convenience wasn’t supposed to be the last — a decision star Paul Sun-Hyung Lee says blindsided him. <a href="https://twitter.com/AndrewChangCBC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AndrewChangCBC</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/okseeyou?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#okseeyou</a> <a href="https://t.co/pQ0FKCxR4M">pic.twitter.com/pQ0FKCxR4M</a>—@CBCTheNational
Justin Wu, who made his directorial debut during an episode this season, has fond professional and personal memories of the show.
Wu told CBC Radio's Q that he bonded with his mother, who emigrated from Hong Kong, by watching the show together. "To find a show with such authenticity and depth, heart and comedy about an immigrant family experience meant a lot to her and in turn meant a lot to me," Wu told host Tom Power on Monday.
LISTEN | Q's screen panel discusses the end of Kim's Convenience:
That authenticity and representation has earned the show critical acclaim and a devoted, global fan base. "It was an award winning show starring a mostly Asian Canadian cast, and they gave us five great seasons of family, love and laughter," freelance journalist Kelly Boutsalis told Power. "And I hope that it opens the door for a lot more series like this with that kind of representation."
Sally Catto, CBC's general manager of entertainment, factual and sports, said the show "had a fantastic run on CBC and while we wish the show could continue for another season, we respect Ins Choi's decision to move on."
"As the original playwright and show runner, Ins brought an authenticity that the producers ultimately felt could not be replaced. We understand and support that position," Catto said in a statement on Tuesday.
Stars take on new projects
Fans of the series will have the opportunity to follow the stars in upcoming projects. Phung — whose portrayal of Kimchee on the show earned him a pair of Canadian Screen Awards — and Power will each star in new, half-hour comedies that will debut during the 2021-22 broadcast season, while Liu will star in the Marvel movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
"We were the little show that could," Phung said in a series of tweets after the show's conclusion was announced in March. "This truly Canadian show allowed people to see themselves on television."
With files from CBC Radio's Q and The Canadian Press