I was trying to come up with a clever title for my first post and I think Kim-unity sums it up perfectly. I’ve been a huge fan of many things growing up: WWF, Saturday morning cartoons, Final Fantasy, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Superman. But I’ve never gone full fledged into their fandom. Who knew that a CBC comedy would be that one interest that reeled me in?
It was the fall of 2016 when Kim’s Convenience debuted. It was on my radar, but I wasn’t especially excited leading up to it. On TV, there were already ABC’s Fresh off the Boat and Dr. Ken. While I enjoyed the Asian-American comedies, it didn’t really speak to me. The Toronto Blue Jays truly captivated Torontonians (and Canadians) at that moment, and it forced Kim’s to be delayed by a week.
To my pleasant surprise, the comedy about a family-run convenience store WAS in fact funny and had a different tone. A few episodes in, I was really hooked. I loved all of Appa’s interactions with Gerald, especially the “successful face” Mr. Kim modelled for the photography student. That scene had me laughing harder than I could remember.
During the Reel Asian International Film Festival, episodes of Kim’s Convenience were screened at Glenn Gould Studio in the CBC building. Creator Ins Choi and actors Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Appa), Jean Yoon (Umma), and Simu Liu (Jung) were in attendance. One of the episodes involved an irate Mr. Kim flicking a kid who had caused a mess inside his store. I took that scene as inspiration and asked Paul if he could flick my head when he discovered my attempt at taking a selfie was actually a video recording. An innocent mistake, right?
I think Paul remembered me from that point on, because he would always address me by my name whenever I saw him at fan events. But the actors were also very engaging online. I thought Simu was part of the social team early on, because any mention of Kim’s Convenience on Twitter and he’d find it and reply to it. The past few months, Paul and Andrew Phung (Kimchee) have been hosting weekly Zoom meetings to chat with fans from all over the world in an after-party like setting. Season 5 was supposed to have already started production, but this interaction seemed to provide comfort for both the cast and fans alike.
Speaking of us fans, the Kimbits, what a great group! What started as a local collection of passionate fans has since mushroomed across Canada and now globally. We’re extremely fortunate to live in the city where Kim’s Convenience is filmed, so local fan events make the stars of the show accessible. But what I’ve really appreciated about Kimbits in particular is the camaraderie we have with each other and the respect we show the cast.
In fact, my lovely wife surprised me last month by organizing a Zoom party with my fellow Kimbits for my birthday. We had a nice chat followed by Kim’s Convenience related trivia. I came in 2nd place, haha! In fact, a couple of other May babies were greeted with virtual festivities. And with the news that the series has been extended for two more seasons, it will give fans of the show more moments of laughter and love, and a reason for Kimbits to continue partying on.