With only a few structural changes, Kim’s Convenience could easily become the first four episodes in a new Canadian sitcom.
Episode One: Appa and Umma
Playwright Ins Choi, who also plays the prodigal son in episode four, knows who his story is about: the irascible but lovable Appa (the Korean word for dad). Played by Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, there is as much a weariness that runs through him after years of running the convenience as there is a steadfast resolve to make a life for him and his family in his adopted country. The patriarch of his family’s dime-store dynasty, Lee manages to find a genuinely sweet balance in a character that not only plays to many Asian stereotypes, but at times seems to revel in them.
Of Choi’s characters it is Umma (the Korean word for Mom) who is short-changed the most. Perhaps she will get her own episode later in the season, but here she is relegated to an almost guest appearance status. Jane Luk does her best with the small role, but of any of the characters on stage this is one that deserves more exploration.