of the Canadian sitcom “Kim’s Convenience” were disappointed to learn earlier this year that the show’s next season would be its final, despite the fact that the show was allegedly renewed for two more seasons in 2020. One of the series’ stars, Simu Liu
, wrote candidly this week about the circumstances of the show’s abrupt cancellation and a lack of behind-the-scenes representation
In a lengthy Facebook
post on the day the fifth and final season premiered on Netflix
, Liu claimed the show's producers were "overwhelmingly white," the writing staff "lacked both East Asian and female representation," and series creator Ins Choi was the only writer
of Korean descent. Liu also claimed Choi did not do enough to train and mentor others to take over after his departure.
“Kim’s Convenience” has received widespread praise, particularly from Asian viewers, for the ways it incorporates the characters’ identities in culturally specific ways — without making it the main plot point or perpetuating tired tropes. The CBC
sitcom, which is available on Netflix in the United States
, revolves around the Kims, a Korean Canadian family in Toronto: convenience store owners Mr. and Mrs. Kim (Paul S.
Choi's representative did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Thursday.
Liu's remarks serve as a reminder that on-screen representation in pop culture is not a panacea; off-screen representation is just as important, if not more so. For a show to be truly groundbreaking, it must contribute to the creation of a new system and a network of new talent.
The series was canceled, according to Liu, because Choi and co-creator Kevin White left; the production company that owns the rights to “Kim’s Convenience” decided not to continue making episodes, despite the fact that the series had been renewed for a sixth season. A representative for the CBC declined to comment, directing Stardia to the original announcement of the show’s final season.
The actor then blasted Choi and White for creating a spinoff for Shannon (Nicole Power), Jung's love interest and the show's only non-Asian major character.
“I love and am proud of Nicole, and I want the show to succeed for her,” he wrote. “But I remain resentful of all of the circumstances that led to the one non-Asian character getting her own show, and I will adamantly refuse to reprise my role in any capacity.”
Liu, who is set to appear in Marvel
's "Shang-Chi," also claimed that he and his "Kim's Convenience" co-stars were paid "absolute horsepoop" even after the show's popularity grew.
The actor stated that he and his castmates "were deliberately pitted against each other" and "never banded together and demanded more - probably because we were told to be grateful to even be there, and because we were so scared to rock the boat
." This is a common mindset that disempowers many people
of color in industries where they are underrepresented.
He contrasted their situation with that of the cast of “Schitt’s Creek,” which, like “Kim’s Convenience,” began as a CBC production and then became more widely available on Netflix. “Schitt’s Creek,” unlike “Kim’s Convenience,” “had ‘brand-name talent’ with American agents,” Liu wrote. “Schitt’s Creek” went on to win major awards, including sweeping last year’s Emmys.
Liu also expressed disappointment that he and his co-stars were not given more opportunities to be involved in the show's creative direction. Liu wrote that he frequently suggested ways to give Jung more character development and said he wanted to learn how to become a director or writer, but "those doors were never opened to us in any meaningful way."
“I’m so incredibly saddened that we will never get to see these characters grow. That we will never see Jung and Appa reuniting. That we will never see Kim deal
with Umma’s MS, or Janet’s journey of self-discovery,” he wrote. “But I am still touched by the volume and voracity of our fans (Kimbits...still hands-down the best fandom name EVER), and I still believe in what the s
Liu's entire post is available here.