Actor Simu Liu, one of the stars of the hit Canadian TV show Kim’s Convenience, wrote a lengthy post on Facebook revealing the many reasons why the show abruptly ended after only five seasons.
"I'm feeling a host of emotions right now," Liu started. "There's been a lot of talk and speculation about what happened, and I want to do my best to give accurate information."
Liu, who played Jung Kim on the CBC original program, took the occasion of the series being available on Netflix as a chance to clear the air.
In the post, the actor explains that the show was not cancelled due to ratings, but as a result of the producers choosing not to continue. The same producers are now working on a spin-off centred around a white character on the show, Shannon, played by actress Nicole Power.
“It's been difficult for me," Liu wrote. "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."
“And not that they would ever ask, but I will adamantly refuse to reprise my role in any capacity.”
Liu said he felt his character, along with others on the show, lacked dimension, which led to “missed opportunities to show Asian characters with real depth and the ability to grow and evolve.”
“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,” Liu wrote.
Liu said he felt like the "odd man out or a problem child," though admits the Kim's Convenience team did not always get along.
Liu also revealed that despite the show’s immense success and ratings that were higher than Schitt’s Creek, the cast was paid “an absolute horsepoop rate.”
“Basically we were locked in for the foreseeable future at a super-low rate... an absolute DREAM if you are a producer,” he wrote.
“But we also 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. Maybe also because we were too busy infighting to understand that we were deliberately being pitted against each other.
"Meanwhile, we had to become the de facto mouthpieces for the show (our showrunners were EPICALLY reclusive), working tirelessly to promote it while never truly feeling like we had a seat at its table.”
Liu claimed the show’s writers' room lacked East Asian and female representation, aside from writer and co-creator Ins Choi, whose stage play was adapted into the TV show. Liu felt Choi didn’t do enough to champion those voices and left with a goodbye note to cast.
“(He) left no protege, no padawan learner, no Korean talent that could have replaced him,” Liu wrote.
In March, the show’s producers put out a statement saying that Cho and co-creator Kevin White were moving on to other projects.
"Given their departure from the series, we have come to the difficult conclusion that we cannot deliver another season of the same heart and quality that has made the show so special," it read.
Despite Liu's disappointment in his experience on the popular show, his career does not appear to be stalling. He's featured on this month's cover of Men's Health, recently made his first talk show appearance on The Kelly Clarkson show and will star in the upcoming Marvel movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Despite his busy schedule, Liu wrote that he "wanted very badly" to be a part of the sixth season and would have found a way to make the schedules work. He resents the notion that some have suggested his Marvel role made him "too Hollywood for Canadian TV."
"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."
Despite pleas from fans and the show's popularity, Liu wrote that it "can't be saved."
"Our producers (who also own the Kim's Convenience IP) are the ones who chose not to continue. Neither CBC nor Netflix own the rights to Kim's Convenience, they merely license it."