Sitcoms Online - Main Page / Message Boards - Main Page / News Blog / Photo Galleries / DVD Reviews / Buy TV Shows on DVD and Blu-ray

View Today's Active Threads (No Chit Chat/Chit Chat Only) / View New Posts (No Chit Chat/Chit Chat Only) / Mark All Boards Read / Chit Chat Board

Sitcoms Online Message Boards - Forums  

Go Back   Sitcoms Online Message Boards - Forums > Current Sitcoms > Superstore

Notices News Blog Headlines Twitter Facebook Instagram RSS

MeTV Summer 2021 Schedule, Monk Joins Lineup; HBO Max Sets Cast for Period Comedy
New Chip 'n' Dale Series Premieres July 28 on Disney+; Cruel Summer Returning for 2nd Season
Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 21, 2021)
SitcomsOnline Digest: Perfect Strangers Reboot in the Works; New Head of the Class DVD Release
Fri-Yay: Master of None Pivots Genres in Season 3; Highway to Heaven Event Movies Coming to Lifetime; Remembering Frank Bonner of WKRP in Cincinnati
Antenna TV Summer 2021 Schedule; The CW Fall 2021 Premiere Dates
All-Star Cast Set for Paramount+ Animated Comedy Series; Home Makeovers with Marsai Martin

New on DVD/Blu-ray (February-June)

Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series Happy Together - The Complete Series 'Til Death - The Complete Series Fuller House - The Complete Series Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

02/02 - Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In - The Complete Series (2021 Retail Release)
02/16 - Fam - The Complete Series
02/23 - Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series
03/02 - Blue Mountain State - The Complete Series
03/02 - Happy Together - The Complete Series
03/02 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-4 (DVD) (Blu-ray)
04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series
05/11 - Dead to Me - Season Two
06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 03-25-2021, 07:11 PM   #1
Forum Junkie
Join Date: Jan 09, 2001
Posts: 42,279
Default Superstore stood out as one of the few to get it right — and seemingly without trying

...too hard

"In a period where 'middle America' has taken on a central role in the country’s politics, the coincidence of Superstore being set in St. Louis was perfect timing," says Kovie Biakolo in advance of tonight's series finale. "It’s true that on the show, St. Louis is more backdrop than character; but even in its shadows, the city operates more as an idea of a midsize American metropolis away from the coasts, with the idiosyncrasies of a space that has some of the access of a big city with the pleasantries of a small town. Rather than play into stereotypes or completely ignore them, the show offered an evolved depiction of the region that is closer to the truth: a place of varied people with varied politics that don’t fit neatly into the country’s dichotomies of conservative or liberal, religious or secular, patriotic or apathetic. At first, the premise of the show appears to center on Jonah (Ben Feldman), a business-school washout who takes a job at a giant retail store, Cloud 9, presumably a stand-in for Walmart. But viewers are soon disabused of any presumptions that the show will replicate yet another narrative of a lost white man seeking meaning in life from supposedly simpler people. Indeed, while the show has given Jonah an ongoing arc of his own — one that intersected with that of Amy (America Ferrera) prior to her departure in the final season — the hallmark of the show is the complexity it affords a large cast of characters, who collectively represent the multifaceted realities of working-class people within the workplace and beyond it. A highlight among these portrayals is Superstore’s presentation of Amy as a Latina woman who is not rigidly defined by this identity but is also self-conscious of it both internally and among her co-workers. In the third episode of season one, when Amy realizes she has to perform 'Latinaness' in order to boost sales at a salsa sample booth, the incident speaks to both the commodification of identity and the expectations for those who bear it to present a certain way. It’s a continuous narrative that Amy contends with at different points, but crucially, it’s not her only narrative; Amy is also at the center of the show’s outstanding commentary on sexism, sexuality, and women’s bodies."

  • Superstore ends its run as the punch-clock analog to another great NBC workplace comedy, The Office: As Scott Tobias notes, Superstore creator Justin Spitzer wrote for The Office. "There are unmistakable echoes between the two, from the Jim and Pam-style will-they-or-won’t-they chemistry between Amy and Jonah to staff meetings that regularly descend into chaotic forums for dumb ideas or embarrassing personal squabbles," says Tobias. "And yet Superstore, with its more diverse and underpaid staff, kept bumping into issues more common to the American work force, specifically the vested legions of stockers and checkout clerks lining the aisles of Target, Walmart and other department-store beachheads. Unionization, immigration, racism, gun control, reproductive rights: The show wasn’t necessarily inclined to pick fights, but characters with low wages and few benefits are bound to have practical problems, and a store like Cloud 9 never insulated them from the outside world. It was an ecosystem, but not a bubble...So what was the America of Superstore? It’s a place where blue-collar workers cannot make a living wage and have to rely on ad-hoc solutions to problems that corporate can’t solve. When Cheyenne can’t get maternity leave, Glenn gives her a six-week paid suspension. (He is fired for that.) When deductibles become too high, Jonah tries to start a health care fund to pay for them but inadvertently creates a pyramid scheme."
  • Superstore’s cast members speak about finding their chemistry and the legacy of the show: Ben Feldman tells The A.V. Club he appreciated how his own character attributes or those of others, including Glenn’s traditional views, weren’t necessarily mocked but given room to grow. “Idiosyncrasies are naturally funny and with a team of lazier writers, it would’ve been easy to belittle or poke fun at them, but it was presented as a reality and with empathy and compassion," he says. Feldman adds: “We are a TV show owned by a parent company owned by a parent company. We have corporate overlords and have felt their presence. So it was just rare to see the professional dynamic of workers with the people upstairs play out in a comedy. We were around for the Obama to Trump to Biden administration(s)—what a time in America to represent the working class and culture.” Nico Santos says he's glad to put a face on what many undocumented immigrants are going through. He says he found that storylines like Mateo’s can help “compensate for the absence of real-life contact with immigrants. It’s a great legacy to leave behind.”
  • America Ferrera on returning to Superstore for the series finale: “I expected and hoped that the show would go on after my departure for many, many years,“ she tells Variety. “So it was definitely coming back sooner than I think any of us imagined. But at the same time, we knew that in the setup of how Amy left, it really lent itself to how she could come back.”
  • Watch the Superstore cast's audition tapes ahead of the series finale

Superstore was TV's last great workplace comedy, refusing to sanitize the realities of work

The NBC big box comedy ended its six-season, 113-episode run Thursday night as TV's best sitcom, says Josh Terry. "Too often workplace comedies substitute conflict and address unfairness for breezy, kumbaya hangouts," says Terry. "By the end of Parks and Recreation, there was no tension in Pawnee and even Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) and Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) ended the series best friends despite the characters being written to be perfect antagonists to each other. In The Office, even Carrell's Michael Scott received a fond farewell from his staff who endured his often-nightmarish managerial reign with Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) tearfully saying, "You turned out to be the best boss I ever had." But Superstore stood out from the rest because it refused to sanitize the realities of work. Superstore dealt deftly with the realities of working-class life and tackled hot button issues like immigration, health care, racism, pyramid schemes, gun control, and conspiracies with such good jokes they're eviscerating of systemic problems never felt preachy. The characters all come from different backgrounds, but Cloud 9 employees are constantly reminded of their precarious economic situations: they deal with bills, low wages, unsafe working conditions, unruly customers, ghoulish corporate overlords, product scanners that don't work, and in the latest season, the COVID-19 pandemic. If you've never seen Superstore before, imagine if The Office ditched the documentary conceit and Dunder Mifflin employees spent more time staging walkouts and union organizing than pranking their weird colleagues. Superstore admittedly owed a lot to The Office. After all, original showrunner and creator Justin Spitzer penned several episodes of the iconic Steve Carrell-led series. The surface-level parallels are immediately recognizable: there's the oafish but ultimately well-meaning manager Glenn (Mark McKinney) and an intense, rule-following Dwight Schrute-like assistant manager in Dina (Lauren Ash). There's even a series-long up-and-down office romance between leads Amy (America Ferrera), who's been working at Cloud 9 for over a decade, and Jonah (Ben Feldman), the New Yorker-reading business school dropout from Chicago. But unlike The Office, the emotional stakes in Superstore always felt higher due to the fact that these characters live paycheck to paycheck. No one at Dunder Mifflin had to take the bus to work every day."

  • Superstore's series finale provided closure and some hopeful happy endings for all its central characters: "For a comedy like Superstore, one that’s usually bursting with rapid one-liners and heartwarming humor, exiting in other way wouldn’t have made sense," says Saloni Gajjar. "No tornado or unexpected blizzard was going to shut down the St. Louis Cloud 9 store forever with everyone trapped inside. The show did take some intense routes and twists during its run—remember when they found out corporate only agreed to their union deal because they’d been sold out to Zephra?—but this a series ender here. Despite the store going out of business in the traditional sense, the two-part finale not only brings Amy (and America Ferrera) back properly, it also gives a satisfactory and firm resolution to everyone’s arc, wrapping it all up with callbacks, extremely moving voiceovers, and flash-forwards."
  • Superstore's final season proved it was an ensemble show: "That was never as clear as in its final season after Ferrera left," says Vivian Kane. "The season leading up to that departure was the show’s weakest, but the final season was a total joy and allowed the more supporting characters to shine even more than they had all along. This was also probably the best show on television when it came to portraying life during COVID-19. Yes, they struggled with how to implement masks in the show but the depiction of working retail during the pandemic, being declared both essential and expendable by your corporate bosses and the general public, felt entirely honest. Honest depictions of working-class retail employees were a hallmark of this series from start to finish. Superstore tackled it all, from the mundanity of daily life to casual racism and workplace microaggressions, to the lack of health benefits and maternity leave, to unionization attempts and even an entire storyline about immigration that ended a season with Mateo (Nic Santos), a major character, being held at an ICE detention center–not exactly typical sitcom material! Equally as impressive as the show’s ability to handle that kind of subject matter is the fact that once that story arc ended, they didn’t just drop the issue. Mateo has since returned to Cloud 9, but his status as an undocumented worker still informs his character in myriad ways."
  • Superstore doesn’t pretend to know what’s next, but that doesn’t mean it’s short on ideas — or lessons: "For six excellent seasons, Justin Spitzer’s NBC sitcom has detailed the space between dreams and reality, between the vision we have for our careers and the work we actually do," says Ben Travers. "Its ending, via Thursday night’s two-part season finale, will presumably answer the long-lingering question of what happens to Jonah. One of the ensemble comedy’s ostensible leads, Superstore could form a nice arc by starting with Jonah’s arrival at Cloud 9 and ending with his exit. But where will he go? And perhaps more significantly, where will they all go? The series finale comes at a time when even the Sandras of the world, who already value the jobs they have and do them well, are on shaky ground. The labor force is shifting. The future is uncertain. Some people, like Jonah, are asking if they can afford to go after their dream job, or even bank on a specific career. Others are wondering if they can count on the jobs they relied on before in a post-pandemic world."
  • Superstore's finale was perfect: "It's always bittersweet when a show ends, especially when it feels like there was more story to tell. But it really helps lessen the sting when the ending turns out to be perfect," says Lauren Piester. "When Superstore announced that the current season would be the last, there was a certain sense that it didn't have to be this way. America Ferrera, the show's lead, had decided to exit at the beginning of the season, and the way her character Amy Sosa was written off was less than pleasant. Amy moved to California for a promotion and suddenly decided she didn't want to marry her boyfriend Jonah (Ben Feldman), and they broke up. Her final scene was sad, but not in a good way. It was just a real bummer. We then had to watch Jonah sadly try to get over the break up while the store moved on without its manager, and it wasn't very fun. The final season announcement felt a little like an admission that the show didn't work without Ferrera, or at least it didn't work the way they wrote Ferrera off. The former star returned for tonight's final two episodes and suddenly, this rough season became totally worth it."
  • Ben Feldman calls the series finale "hugely satisfying and super emotional": If America Ferrera hadn't returned, he says, "we would have found a bow somehow. We would have found a Jonah bow, but we wouldn't have found the shippers' bow, the Simmosa bow...It was incredible having America back for a bunch of reasons. Story-wise, of course you want to give (the fans everything). Our fans have been so incredible. You want to give the fans the ending that they need. You don't give the fans what they want all the time, you give them what they need. And to a degree, Superstore did that a lot. We rarely trafficked in happy endings."
  • Feldman on being a union member telling a "scary story" about unions on Superstore: "I think you don’t see this dynamic a lot on television," he says. "It’s a scary story to tell, because we are union members, and we have this dynamic in real life. I work for NBC, which is Universal and Comcast. There are corporate overlords, and there are elements of greed, or even just sort of a distant separation, between the people on the ground and the people upstairs. I thought it was an important story to tell, because you don’t see that a lot on television, and particularly in the working-class world, with these big-business grocery stores or big-box stores, and certainly right now when (real-life people are) risking their lives to show up to these jobs. Yes. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of, I think, on this show."
  • Lauren Ash wants Superstore to return for a "reboot season": "Listen, from the very beginning of this show, I said the pilot’s getting picked up and this show is going to run for 7 seasons," she says. "I have always been steadfast in that. Now we did 6 seasons, and what that suggests to me is that we’re going to have to do a reboot season because I refuse to be wrong. Obviously, these characters have resonated with people around the world. We have fans of the show, especially now that the show has gone on to Netflix, in so many places internationally. So many people everywhere have responded to these characters and loved these characters so much. I think that’s really a testament to the show and to the cast, and it would be a joy. I don’t think that shows like this come around that often. For an actor, I think the stars align, and you get maybe a couple of really cool ones in a career. So I absolutely would jump at the chance to play Dina again 100 percent. I need that reboot season so that my prediction comes true."
  • Superstore showrunners Jonathan Green and Gabe Miller say they had to move up their planned ending: "We knew that’s where we would head for the end of the series, but we really thought there might be more seasons," says Miller. "It obviously all had to get moved up, and there were challenges involved with that." Green adds of America Ferrera: "We did call her right away. She’s living in New York, and we knew how busy her schedule is now. We thought, hopefully, we could get her for one episode, and we were lucky enough to be able to get her for two episodes."
  • What a Season 7 of Superstore would've looked like: The producers say they had to cut some scenes from the series finale. “Initially, we imagined the store getting converted into one of these store/fulfillment center hybrids we’re seeing now,” says Green. “The last image of Season 6 was going to be a wall going up to divide the store into two sections: one with customers, managed by Glenn (Mark McKinney), and the other becoming more of a warehouse, managed by Dina (Lauren Ash). It would’ve been a good Season 7, and we changed it into this when we realized it was the end of the series.”
  • Creator Justin Spitzer had a number of endings in mind for the series finale: "I always had in the back of my mind that this series would end with Amy finally leaving Cloud 9, but then that ended up happening at the end of season 5 anyway, so that was moot," he says. "The only other thing I always had in mind was bringing back my daughter who was in an interstitial in the pilot getting on the potty. I’d always said that whenever we wrapped up the series, I’d want her to be at whatever age she was on the potty in the finale."

Superstore should be celebrated for the smart way it told stories about fraught topics

"It felt surreal to see Superstore wind down to its final episodes," says Caroline Framke. "Despite running six full seasons at a time when sitcoms more and more rarely get the chance, Superstore never had a dip in quality that signaled its natural end. It was consistently, impressively funny and adaptable. That its creators would have to eventually figure out the curveball of a premature cancellation, and that they nailed it, makes a sad but fitting end for a show that always embraced the opportunity to change with the times. Many people, myself included, have written plenty about how well Superstore, a sitcom about the employees of a Walmart-esque big box store, dealt with capital i Issues over the years. Its first two seasons alone tackled topics like gun control, birth control, racism and the everyday peril of being undocumented, as well as a union drive that would eventually fold under incredible corporate pressure. It was one of the first shows to incorporate Donald Trump’s election victory into its reality without it taking over the entire story. It constantly underlined how dehumanizing the experience of working for a behemoth corporation can be, from that failed unionization effort, to the indignity of its laughable 'maternity leave,' to the very real danger of having to physically work in the store during a pandemic. Vanishingly few stores center working class people, let alone their experiences at work, in the way that Superstore could, and the show made the most of it with sharp stories that rarely waded into Very Special Episode territory. Every Issue listed above has distinct roots in the show’s characters, from new mom Amy (executive producer America Ferrera) to misplaced religious fervor from store manager Glenn (Mark McKinney), to the store’s break room becoming a house divided on election day. Superstore deserves to be celebrated for the deft way in which it handled increasingly fraught topics. But it also deserves recognition for the smart way in which it told those stories, using and twisting sitcom conventions to make one of the best workplace comedies around."

  • Superstore's finale traded its head for its heart: "The NBC sitcom ended its six-season run with an episode that emphasized the sweetness of its key relationships rather than its cynicism about modern capitalism," says Daniel Fienberg. "Dark corporate cynicism is a familiar default approach to depicting modern capitalism and the well-intentioned peons caught in its path. Bright and cheery corporate cynicism is a more complicated thing, one worth treasuring when done right. I'd point to ABC's Better Off Ted as a fine example of this subgenre, a creation so precarious that part of me is relieved it didn't tempt fate for longer than 26 episodes. NBC's Superstore, which ended its run Thursday night (March 25), was perhaps even more tenuous: a show that did bright and cheery corporate cynicism but also aspired to a romantic's heart and a Dick Wolf procedural's currency. I'm not sure if it's more remarkable that the series worked at all or that it somehow ran 113 episodes."
  • Unlike plenty of other shows, Superstore never allowed poignancy to overwhelm the show’s darker, knottier aspects: "Even the series finale — an incredibly sweet sendoff to Superstore’s characters that reaffirms their basic affection for each other — takes place on Cloud 9’s final day of business," says Emily VanDerWerff. "The series was always dedicated to tweaking the ways in which corporate America makes life hell for the people who work within it. At one moment in the penultimate episode, Jonah, pressed upon to give a rousing speech, says that he doesn’t know if anything can be done to save the store. Cloud 9’s parent company, Zephra, has taken and taken and taken from the Cloud 9 team, and now it’s going to take everything. It doesn’t matter how much the store’s workers like or support each other if the company that issues their paychecks fundamentally doesn’t care. hat balance between interpersonal affection and corporate indifference underscored Superstore’s entire ethos and its best storylines. What did it matter if Jonah and Amy fell in love if she moved up into management and he started organizing the store’s workers in an effort to unionize? How was Mateo going to remain a beloved friend and supporting character if his undocumented status meant he was under perpetual fear of deportation (a fear the show made terrifyingly real in a memorable story arc)? How were Cloud 9’s workers supposed to feel supported when the pandemic led to even more corporate cost-cutting measures? Too many series as poignant as Superstore lean so far into their poignancy that they tilt over into outright treacle — saccharine and self-satisfied dives into uber-happy silliness. Superstore never did that, because its characters’ conflicts were rarely with each other (and even when they were, they usually didn’t last very long). Instead, their chief antagonists were the larger structures of capitalism and the 21st century United States. The store itself often functioned as an island that felt isolated from the world’s problems, a place where its workers could hang out and build long-lasting friendships. But Cloud 9 wasn’t invulnerable to the world’s problems. Its mere existence, more K-mart than Target, felt tenuous. Sooner or later, the capitalist Grim Reaper was coming for Cloud 9, too."

Last edited by TMC; 03-28-2021 at 02:51 AM.
TMC is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:56 AM.

Although the administrators and moderators of the Sitcoms Online Message Boards will attempt to keep all objectionable messages off this forum, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the author, and neither the owners of the Sitcoms Online Message Boards, nor vBulletin Solutions Inc. (developers of vBulletin) will be held responsible for the content of any message. The owners of the Sitcoms Online Message Boards reserve the right to remove, edit, move or close any thread for any reason.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.