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8 Reasons "Kim's Convenience" Makes Me Feel Seen As A Child Of Immigrants

It's an authentic portrayal of the immigrant experience.

I stumbled upon Kim's Convenience just a few months ago while browsing Netflix. Initially, I was worried the show would be ridden with stereotypes.

CBC Television / Via gph.is

I was weary of another show that detailed the tales of an immigrant family at a surface level — cheap parents with strong accents and first-gen kids learning to balance Western culture with family tradition by listening to rap music and eating their mother's home-cooked food every night. While the show did cover identity issues like balancing cultures, it went deep below the surface, making it the most relatable show I've ever seen as a child of immigrants.

1. The first and most obvious point of relatability for me was Kim's Convenience, the store.

CBC Television / Via gph.is

Growing up, I spent a lot of time hanging out in the back office of my dad's small business: a convenience store. I would do my homework while listening to the radio, which was constantly interrupted by the friendly door chime that would ring when someone walked in. Spending time in the store was such a formative experience. It showed me just how hard my parents worked to make my and my sister's lives better and easier. From the first episode to the last, Mr. Kim's dedication to his work felt familiar. I quickly realized this show wasn't about making fun of a man with an accent running a convenience shop. It was a deeper dive into the immigrant experience.

2. Umma's love language involved Tupperware towers of homemade food. So does my parents'.

CBC Television

In an episode of the show, Umma swings by Jung's apartment with kimbap and other food she cooked for him. It was a small moment and not really the subject of the scene, but this visual of Jung's mom bringing over food was really special to me. My parents used to do the same thing when I was in college. They would never let me go back to my apartment without a cooler bag filled with home-cooked daal chawal, pasta, or other Punjabi dishes. I didn't always appreciate it at the time, but watching this scene reminded me of how a homemade, cultural meal can speak a thousand words for immigrant parents.

3. Like Appa, my dad always goes the price match route when purchasing home appliances.

CBC Television

In Season 3, Umma decides it's time for the family to get a new dishwasher. Appa hesitantly agrees, and makes an elaborate plan to get a discount on the dishwasher, which involves making a fake flier with a lower price and asking the store to price match it. While my dad has never gone so far to make a fake flier, he definitely invokes price match power whenever and wherever he can. And now I do it too.

4. Janet's decision to pursue photography doesn't go over easy in her community. I experienced the same pushback for becoming a writer.

Another mother at Umma's church rudely says Janet is so brave for pursuing photography, but that we need our starving artists.
CBC Television

One of my favorite parts of the show is the fact that Janet is pursuing an artistic career. One of the biggest stereotypes about Asians in the diaspora is that they only become doctors, lawyers, engineers. When I decided to study journalism, my parents fully supported me. However, it wasn't always so easy to get other people in the Indian American community onboard. Janet also had her parents' support for the most part, but the other mothers in Umma's church group didn't always respect Janet's career choice. It was cool to see myself in Janet and watch how she navigated this disconnect and pursued her dreams regardless of her community's opinion.

5. Appa, like my dad, can and will fix everything.

CBC Television

My dad is a jack of all trades. If my door fell off its hinges, he could fix it. If my car broke down in the middle of the road, he could probably repair that too. Coming to this country with close to nothing, my parents had to learn to how to do things on their own, whether it was repairing their own things without help or taking on tough jobs to support themselves. Now, since my dad has experience fixing everything under the sun, hiring a professional repair person is his last resort.

6. The gossipy ladies at Umma's church remind me of the snoopy people in my own community.

CBC Television

The women at Umma's church are always trying to one-up each other, comparing their kid's job or education to another person's. I see this happen a lot within the Indian American community. Everyone always wants to know who's going to which college or who's marrying who. Umma and Appa don't usually get too caught up in the drama, unless they need to defend their kids. Seeing that reminded me of how my parents interact with other people in the community, and how glad I am that my parents don't get too involved in the drama either.

7. Umma and Appa's parenting style is somewhere in between PTA mom and tough love, just like my parents'.

Appa tells Janet that her photos are really well done, but that there is still room for improvement
CBC Television

Parenting in Asian culture gets a bad rap for being "affectionless," when that isn't really the case. My parents are super loving. They would do anything for their kids — from building all the furniture in my sister's apartment to reading through my college application essays 3,000 times till it was just right. So while I would literally choke in shock if my mom called me "sweetie" one day, I recognize the many other ways she shows her love for her family. I really loved that Kim's Convenience didn't rely on a stereotype, instead exploring and celebrating the deep and complicated love that exists in relationships between Asian immigrant parents and their children.

8. Perhaps the most relatable part of Kim's Convenience is its authentic portrayal of an Asian immigrant family.

Disney

Kim's Convenience doesn't represent Asians just for the sake of filling a diversity quota. The relationships the characters have are meaningful and multi-layered. Janet balances her desire to pursue her dreams, embrace her Canadian identity, and maintain relationships with her parents and brother. Jung grapples with losing his relationship with his father and making something of himself. And Umma and Appa try their best to give their kids a good life in a country they're relatively new in, while adapting to the fact that their kids may not be as involved in their culture and traditions as they'd like. It's not the typical TV portrayal of immigrants. I can see myself and my family more in this show than in any other I've watched.

Check out how BuzzFeed is celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! And follow @buzzfeedapop on Instagram!

BuzzFeed / Kathy Hoang

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