TORONTO – Star Paul Sun-Hyung Lee is in mourning as “Kim’s Facility” approaches the final of its series on Tuesday.
“It’s really like mourning a death: over time it gets better, sometimes it develops like a scar,” Lee, who plays the patriarchal father, said in a recent phone interview.
“You’re fine until you take it, when you take it, it starts to bleed again, it hurts again. And it’s scratched again, and then you can take it, it bleeds again. But the time is shorter and shorter until there is nothing more than that. , It looks like it’s healed. And there may be a small scar on the bottom, but you’re fine.
Last month, successful CBC comedians about a Korean-Canadian family running a corner store in Toronto announced that the show would close its store after the current, fifth season.
It was one season shorter than planned at the beginning of last year, when Canadian Screen Award-winning sitcom was renewed amid praise for its cultural representation and global follow-up on Netflix.
But producers In-Choi and Kevin White are trying to pursue other projects. As they departed from the series, the producers realized they could “not offer another season of the same heart and quality”.
Fans wondered why such an exciting series would end prematurely, especially amid calls for more on-screen Asian representation.
The series stars Jean Eun Matrich as Ummah, Simu Liu’s son Junga and Andrea Bang’s daughter Janet.
According to Lee and cast member Andrew Pung, Choi was exhausted from a huge amount of work as a showrunner and wanted to spend more time with family.
“Ins felt a little burned out, and he said he was over by the end of the fifth season of (shooting),” said Lee, who starred in the 2011 Choi award-winning play “Kim’s Convenience.”
“I know he’s likely to leave,” said Fung, who plays car rental manager Kimchi.
“Making TV is hard. It takes more and more time from you. According to him, he wanted to spend time with his kids. I think he was really burned out.”
The Canadian publishing house listened to interviews with Choi and producer Evan Fecken. One advertiser said attempts to reach Choi had failed and Fekan had refused.
Lee said the producers had said in December that Choi wanted to leave the show and that Fecan was wondering if he could continue without Choi.
The cast and the CBC agreed to continue the sixth season, Lee said, but Fecken finally decided it was not possible and called the actor last month to break the news.
“I’m not very happy with how it ended, but having everything equal is a fantastic ride,” he said.
Lee said he did not speak to Fecken after that conversation and tried to reach Choi.
“He haunted me,” Lee said of Choi, with whom he worked for 10 years. “He would not return my calls or texts. Finally he answered via email and said he was not comfortable talking about it. That’s it.”
He said the show’s demise did not protect him and that it was a “disappointing decision”.
“It hurts, but as a father of two young children, I totally get it,” Pung said. “I know there has been a bit of a backlash against Ince, and I want to say that he gave so much love to the world he created, so this decision was not taken lightly for him.”
This season saw Kim deal with Umma’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, Jung is trying to use his business subject skills, and Janet is moving back after graduation.
Pung said he thinks Choi “really saw this season’s final as a series end.”
“I think fans will get a closed feeling when they see it,” Pung said.
However, “it’s a good season finale, but it’s not a good series finale,” Lee said.
“I never saw the final cut, so I will set aside the final verdict until I see that final episode,” Lee said. “But if we knew it would end – you would be robbed because we never had a chance to say goodbye.”
He said both actors break their hearts like family and for the team members who are counting on the sixth season.
There are also lessons to be learned from how the show ended and its diversity efforts behind the scenes, Lee said.
Despite efforts to bring in color writers throughout the seasons, including workshop efforts, the producers “could have done more,” Lee said.
Although the cast members did not have the authority in the writers’ room, Pung admitted that the actor “may have given more voice to follow, and may ask why there are no BIPOC and different writers in the room”.
The Canadian press made a follow-up request to get feedback from Fecken on that particular topic, but he was not available.
“Taking those lessons with me when creating my project is now my commitment to being a showrunner and a creator,” Pung said of the CBC’s “Run the Burps,” in which he also plays the father who stays at home with his entrepreneurial wife and two children.
Pung, who has two young sons, said he learned from Choi’s experience.
“I’m actively creating obstacles to make sure I have time with my kids, I’m doing things I love, and I’m surrounded by people who take care not to let me burn,” Pung said.
Pung’s show, co-produced with Scott Towne, was announced at the end of last month with “Stress” as the “Kims Convenience” CBC spinoff starring Nicole Power as car-rental agency manager Shannon Rose. White also created new series of Power.
Lee and Pung admit that “Kims”, played by a white cast member, is bad in light of the cancellation of the spinoff optics. But the show had been in development for two years and was to air with the sixth season of “Kims”.
The Funkin series has been in development for a year, and was supposed to air “with Kim”.
“It’s really unfortunate she’s stuck in the crosshairs (of power), and none of this is her fault,” Lee said.
Lee insisted he did not want to point fingers.
“We had a beautiful thing, but I think, like many things, we could have done better in some areas,” he said.
Lee is looking forward to exploring “geek culture” on his YouTube channel and other projects including a TV series pitch.
He and Pung both said they were happy to reconsider “Kims” and that it should be revived in a different form.
“I want to give, I want, I want the fans to the end they crave,” Lee said.
“I think in a way, the end of the series may be the end of an episode, but not the end of the book,” Pung said.
“But as we see this industry continue to grow, I hope we will continue to elevate various creators so that it helps us to revisit these stories in the future because I know this show has had such an impact on Canadians and people around the world.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 8, 2021.