Hollywood, what do you have against Asian women?
The final season of ‘Kim’s Convenience’ was as bittersweet as ‘Girlfriends’ and ‘Half & Half’
The show was canceled. I’ve seen this happen enough times to know it’ll happen again, and somehow I’m still sad when it does. It happened with “Girlfriends” and “Half & Half.” I watched it happen with the Latino/a version of “One Day at a Time.” I shrugged my shoulders when it happened with “Fresh Off the Boat” but only because of the tantrum Constance Wu went on, and quite frankly, the show was strong enough to survive with just Randall Park and Lucille Soong as guardians. Somehow though, the CBC/Netflix show “Kim’s Convenience” ending was more confusing than the other shows.
Hollywood really just does not know what to do with minority-dominant shows, even when it has a well-written, funny, intriguing team of solid characters. “Kim’s Convenience,” a show about Canadian Koreans, was a winner on the checklist of what makes a family sitcom fun to watch. Not only had I never seen a Korean-led show, but I damn sure never saw a show about Koreans in Canada. I’ve been to Toronto and Ontario before, so I expected the impressive amount of diversity walking in and out of the stores each day — black, white, Asian, Latino/a, LGBTQ+, and so on.
I loved the rotation of customers, but my heart was really invested in that family. The Asian women on the show defied every single stereotype of that bashful virgin who won’t speak up. Janet (Andrea Bang) and Umma (Jean Yoon) were headstrong and funny as hell. They were sexually liberated and beautiful without playing into the “loose” role. They were as charming as they were clever with their wit, and I found myself folding over laughing at some of their zingers.
Appa (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) nailed the loveable dad and husband role while still managing to have his own independent moments as much as his wife, Umma, had hers. And a small part of me liked that Jung (Simu Liu) was far more rough around the edges than Hollywood would normally allow for an Asian character — unless he was (to no one’s surprise) some type of fighter. Like Andrew on HBO’s “Insecure,” Jung had the kind of sex appeal that was not common on TV shows for Asian men.
The entire family was a little bit of everything. Churchgoing. Borderline agnostic. Pro-marijuana. Anti-drugs. Multiple sclerosis. Gleeful about handicapped parking signs. Fashionable. Cheap. Frisky in the sheets. Traditional. Bi-curious (or maybe lesbian?). Family-oriented. Loner. Former juvenile delinquent. Role model. Sexy. Insecure. Suave. Clumsy. Artist. Teacher. Skeptical. Warm-hearted. Hilarious. Intense. Financially stable. Broke. And that’s just describing the Kim family — never mind their significant others, roommates, co-workers, mentees, Poker buddies, corner-store customers, clients and church members.