Fans of Kim’s Convenience braved the cold on Saturday to meet stars of the hit CBC show — a sitcom that’s shining a spotlight on the Canadian immigrant experience and putting Asian actors front-and-centre.
The meet-and-greet at 252 Queen Street East — home of the real-life Kim’s Convenience store used for the show — gave fans a chance to meet stars Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Simu Liu and Jean Yoon.
The show about Korean immigrants, their Canadian-born children and the family’s convenience store averages nearly 1 million viewers an episode.
And, as Canada’s first sitcom led by Asian actors, it hits close to home for some Asian-Canadians.
“I am half-Korean, so it’s really nice seeing Korean representation on TV,” said fan Katherine Bell at Saturday’s event.
It’s something that’s been missing from a lot of television shows, Bell said.
Same faces, same races
This year, Asian-American actors fought for greater on-screen visibility through the hashtag #WhiteWashedOut, which started trending to highlight the lack of Asians in Hollywood movies and television shows.
It was also a response to roles written about Asian characters being given to white actors.
“You see a lot of the same faces and the same races but you don’t see a lot of Asian representation, especially Korean, at least from my personal point of view,” said Bell.
“So it’s really nice seeing a show that focuses around Korean families and day-to-day lives that’s so relatable.”
Immigrant experience hits home
Many fans also relate to the show’s depiction of the immigrant experience.
“I can identify. One of my parents is an immigrant and I was born here, and like (the character) Janet I want a North American life style,” said fan Amanda Bhaggu.
“It’s kind of weird to see that relationship on TV with different races, and it’s still similar to me,” said fan Enton Hallidri, who immigrated to Canada from Albania.
For actor Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, hearing that from fans is a dream come true.
“It’s wonderful to give a community a voice that hasn’t been given a voice before,” Lee said.
The show’s season one finale airs on Dec. 27 at 8 p.m. with back-to-back episodes.