January 9, 20195:00 AM ET
Archetypes, not stereotypes.
That’s what the creators and cast of the hit play-turned-sitcom Kim’s Convenience, the first Canadian TV show with an all-Asian lead cast, have striven for from the beginning. And as the series starts its third season, the CBC production has found lasting success in being both funny and deep.
Creator Ins Choi, whose family moved from Korea and settled in Toronto when he was very young, started penning Kim’s Convenience as a play in 2005. At the time, with his acting career off to a bumpy start, he was invited to join the playwriting unit at fu-GEN, a Toronto theater company dedicated to developing Asian-Canadian stories.
“I came in with an idea: Write what you know,” Choi says.
At the same time, Choi also felt the stage was missing stories like his.
“I wasn’t seeing Asians on stage, I wasn’t seeing Asian stories,” he says.
Indeed, Kim’s Convenience — from its setting in a convenience store in downtown Toronto, to the generational differences between the immigrant parents and their children, to the prominence of the Korean church — is infused with the parts of Choi’s life that shaped him.