Kim’s Convenience Stars on the Magic Behind One of TV’s Best Friendships

The last year has been tough. No one is denying that, but as we begin a new year there’s always hope that things will be better. Thankfully for TV fans, hope, guaranteed smiles, and laughter returns in the form of Kim’s Convenience. The CBC comedy series is back for Season 5, beginning Tuesday, January 19 at 8 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem, and fans aren’t the only ones celebrating its return. “It’s the thing we look forward to so much,” Kim’s star Andrew Phung, who plays Kimchee, recently told The TV Junkies. Phung also noted that “A show like Kim’s is perfect right now because it’s got this heart and love and positivity that is just infectious.”

Phung’s co-star, and on-screen BFF, Simu Liu echoed those sentiments. Liu, who wil star in the upcoming Marvel film Shang-Chi, just finished shooting the blockbuster right before returning to film Season 5 of Kim’s. “The show actually started shooting while I was still in Sydney, but somehow, we found a way to make it work,” Liu explained. The delay made Liu’s return all the more sweet, and he referred to the show as “an old friend that you haven’t seen in awhile.”

 So what can fans expect from Kim’s in Season 5? For starters, Liu said that “this is the season that I’m the most proud of.” Phung previewed that “there’s a bit of a dramatic turn” in the season premiere episode, and that’s when “we see some real-life stuff happen.” That real-life stuff will be one of the toughest challenges yet for the family, as they navigate a difficult medical diagnosis for Umma (Jean Yoon) that will force Appa (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) to step in as the primary caregiver.

Kim’s won’t be all serious in Season 5 as Jung faces a crisis of where to live. “That’s a pretty big problem that was posed at the end of last season,” said Liu. With Jung away at business school, it also means there’s some challenges to his relationship with Shannon (Nicole Power). “We’re going to see them getting a lot deeper into it. Now you’re going to see them together, learning each other, and learning how to exist as a couple,” Liu previewed. He told us that the Jung and Shannon moments this season were “some of the most fulfilling stuff I’ve ever shot.” He credits a lot to his costar saying “Nicole is so fantastic as a performer and it’s been really good to find that chemistry.”

Credit: @KimsConvenience

As for Jung’s BFF Kimchee, Phung said that “we begin to see his exploration into his relationship with Appa, which in turn is a triangle with Jung. We see Kimchee in his relationship with Gwen.” Phung also added that “just for fun we get a high school reunion” thrown in the mix. He said that personally he “was so pumped” and that the reunion means things are “going to be real fun.”

 Of course Season 5 expectations are also high to see the continued friendship that exists between Jung and Kimchee. Phung said that even though it’d been awhile, with “the first scene, first take, we were back.” He added that he and Liu are “friends off screen” which helps with their chemistry, and what he loves most is that “with the Jungchee relationship we see bros and friends, but they also get at each other and call each other out. This season, in particular, there’s moments like that.”

Phung went on to discuss why he thinks the friendship between Jung and Kimchee is so special. “At its core, it’s two male friends who are willing to show emotion, care, and love for one another. We see these guys hug, closely, often. In Episode 3, I’m hugging him in my underwear and that’s our relationship. They are bros but they just love each other.” All of that love makes this friendship unlike many others we see on TV right now. “It’s so sad to say, but we so rarely see that on TV — dudes who just love each other. They found each other in a world where Jung ran away from home, and Kimchee didn’t have a father, and they found each other and are there for each other. At the core, it’s just two guys who really love each other,” said Phung.

In fact, Phung joked that “when Shang-Chi comes out, I want to tell the world that I’ve spent more time hugging, and in close proximity to, Simu than anyone else.” Does that mean that hugging is Shang-Chi’s actual superpower? Liu laughed and then said that he likes “to think it’s my real-life superpower. I do enjoy both giving and receiving hugs which made this season extremely difficult. With the COVID protocols in places, we couldn’t hug all the cast and crew members we wanted to. Thankfully, there were periods where it was scripted and we were able to do it safely.”

Kim’s Convenience Season 5 premieres Tuesday, January 19 at 8 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.