Appa or Mr. Kim is the main character in Kim’s Convenience. It is his store and his family at the centre of the drama. Many of us draw connection with him directly. We see ourselves in his shoes as men and fathers. Other see him as the father or grandfather in our families or the proprietor in the local family store.
Let’s look at a few ways that we identify with Appa in Kim’s Convenience. I write this after watching Episode 103 and some interviews with Paul Sun-Hyung Lee. My wife is watching Korean drama in the background and I hear the melodic chatter. It is definitely not “white noise.”
1. We have a parent who embarrasses us
Who hasn’t been embarrassed by a parent who says awkward things to us or about us in front of our friends or family members? We know they mean well but some things are not for public consumption. Maybe some things are “lost in translation.” We often grin and bear it but sometime we get so mad that we return a verbal barrage and all hell breaks out.
2. We have difficulty relating to our family members
Each family has its own version of Family Feud. Is it a generation gap or language gap? My sense is that it is due to a personality gap that sparks often fly with those with similar or different personalities. In Kim’s Convenience we see tension between Appa and his wife, Mrs. Kim called Umma. Sometimes they seem off in their own worlds. They relate differently to their children too. Of course we know everyone means well, but there are far from a harmonious family.
3. We put too much attention on ourselves
It is easy to focus on self-promotion and self-preservation. In Episode 103 Appa is totally caught up in his own readiness to have a good “candid” picture of himself. He neglects the customer, the lady buying chocolate milk.
The Bible even talks about men or husbands who care for themselves more than their wives. No doubt that is representative of many men.
As a man and a father, I relate most to Appa. I put my foot in my mouth often with family members and others. I’m sure I embarrass them frequently. I want to provide for my family.
Especially as an Asian man, I want to bring honor to the family name and lead my family to do so as well. Yes, I often feel the tension of the Asian and Western values. I sense I live in several world and not that comfortable in any one of them.
I eagerly await the release of each episode of Kim’s Convenience. For me, I closely follow the “antics” of Appa, my favorite character.
Read my 1st blog entry on this show, Why We Identify with Kim’s Convenience https://drdanielwong.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/why-we-identify-with-appa-in-kims-convenience/