As the fifth and final season of Kim's Convenience releases on Netflix this week, series star Simu Liu is taking to social media to air his frustrations over the beloved Canadian sitcom starring a Korean family, front and center, ending so early. After it was announced in March that the CBC Television series would end after five seasons, Liu took to social media Wednesday to call out the "overwhelmingly white" producers of the sitcom who did not welcome any input from the Asian-Canadian cast.
"It is, of course, our last season, thanks to a decision by our producers not to continue the show after the departure of two showrunners. There's been a lot of talk and speculation about what happened, and I want to do my best to give accurate information," Liu wrote, going on to itemize his thoughts in seven bulleted points. Revealing that the show had not been "canceled in a traditional network," that is by a network, it was more about the producers who were unable to find another Asian writer after Ins Choi's departure to fill that voice. The 32-year-old adds how the largely Asian cast provided input for their characters' stories but were rebuffed and ignored by producers and writers who "lacked both East Asian and female representation" and "a pipeline to introduce diverse talents" for the progression series. "Aside from Ins, there were no other Korean voices in the room. And personally, I do not think he did enough to be a champion for those voices (including ours)."
Liu revealed that talk about a Kim's Convenience spinoff is in the works with the only non-Asian character for Shannon (played by Nicole Power), proving something very wrong with the narratives built through mainstream media. "It's been difficult for me. I love and am proud of Nicole, and I want the show to succeed for her... but I remain resentful of all of the circumstances that led to the one non-Asian character getting her own show," he said. "And not that they would ever ask, but I will adamantly refuse to reprise my role in any capacity."
Elsewhere in his criticism of the producers and show's end, Liu reveals he was growing "increasingly frustrated" with the way his character was being portrayed and how he was "being treated" on set. "I think this is a natural part of a collaborative undertaking like making a TV show; everyone is going to have different ideas on where each character ought to go, what stories ought to be told. But it was always my understanding that the lead actors were the stewards of character and would grow to have more creative insight as the show went on," he said. "This was not the case on our show, which was doubly confusing because our producers were overwhelmingly white, and we were a cast of Asian Canadians who had a plethora of lived experiences to draw from and offer to writers."
He adds of the unprofessionalism onset that the cast was oftentimes told of the next season's plans just days before shooting would begin, forcing any of the cast members a way to provide positive input for inclusive narratives. "Imagine my disappointment year after year knowing that Jung was just stuck at Handy and in absolutely no hurry to improve himself in any way," he said of his character. "More importantly, the characters never seemed to grow. I can appreciate that the show is still a hit and is enjoyed by many people... but I remain fixated on the missed opportunities to show Asian characters with real depth and the ability to grow and evolve."
Most shockingly, Liu reveals they "didn't always get along" with each other either, and that "part really breaks" him because of how committed he was — along with his castmates — to share a story about an Asian character in an authentic Asian family in Toronto. "This is a reality of show business; there is only so much to go around," he said before sharing he always made sure to present a "united front to the press" to maintain the integrity of the work.
The Canadian actor, who will star next in Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, also revealed the show's ending had nothing to do with him getting a superhero role and always desired to be a part of Kim's Convenience Season 6. "I've heard a lot of speculation surrounding myself — specifically, about how getting a Marvel role meant I was suddenly too 'Hollywood' for Canadian TV," he said. "This could not be further from the truth. I love this show and everything it stood for. I saw firsthand how profoundly it impacted families and brought people together. It's truly SO RARE for a show today to have such an impact on people, and I wanted very badly to make the schedules work."
While he shares his appreciation for the actual day-to-day crew, calling them "phenomenal," Liu ends his note by admitting how "incredibly saddened" he is that he will never get to watch these characters grow. "That we will never see Jung and Appa reuniting. That we will never watch the Kims deal with Umma's MS or Janet's journey of her own self-discovery," he said. "But I am still touched by the volume and the voracity of our fans (Kimbits...still hands-down the best fandom name EVER), and I still believe in what the show once stood for; a shining example of what can happen when the gates come down and minorities are given a chance to shine."