TV Recap: Superstore, Series Premiere

Written by Megan LaBruna

SUPERSTORE -- Pictured: "Superstore" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBCUniversal)
Photo Credit: NBCUniversal

Superstore Premiere Plot:

The employees of Cloud 9, a chain superstore, work to keep their store running smoothly despite mistakes made by new hires, an incompetent boss, interruptions from their personal lives, and everyday customer service issues.

America Ferrera returns to prime time with her new show Superstore which focuses on a group of employees working in retail.  The show itself is much like a discount version of Waiting mixed with The Office.  They have their incompetent manager, who may be the heart and soul of the store, but isn’t necessarily business savvy. There’s the hot mess couple, in this case it’s the pregnant high school student, Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) and her fiancée, an aspiring music artist. The comic relief is alive and well, represented in Garrett (Colton Dunn), who is quick to take the new hire under his wing.  And let’s not forget about the over-achiever; in this case there are two. The new hire, Mateo (Niko Santos), and the veteran employee Dina (Lauren Ash) who coincidentally has a crush on the other new hire Jonah (Ben Feldman). But of course, Jonah is interested in his supervisor, American Ferrera’s character Amy. It’s early on, but I have my suspicions they will become the “main couple” or as Office fans might refer to as the “Pam & Jim” that viewers root for.

Photo Credit: Chris Haston/NBC
Photo Credit: Chris Haston/NBC

In this superstore, employees aren’t allowed to wear jewelry; a fact that is expressed after an unorthodox proposal that began as a “robbery” and ended in a flash mob.  As Amy says “I blame YouTube”.  Luckily this horrible proposal idea is salvaged by Jonah of all people, who spent hours decorating the ceiling with glow in the dark stars. They of course were meant for Amy, but nothing in this day has gone as planned for Jonah, so why would the end of the day be any exception? The writers did manage to surprise me with one small detail, which explains the whole no jewelry rule at work: Amy is married!  Although, she looks up at the actual stars when she puts on her ring, so it may be a subtle way of inferring that she is  a widow.  Then again, she could have just been reminiscing over Jonah’s sweet gesture.

The second episode followed the premiere, which went on to confirm my belief in the manager being incompetent. Cloud 9’s corporate magazine was sent to do a piece on the store, and Glenn (Mark McKinney) despite his best efforts of revamping his style and forcing a smile, couldn’t hold the interviewer’s attention.  However, it could also be attributed to the fact that she was attracted to Jonah and made that quite clear.  I am a fan of Eliza Coupe so I have hope that she might become a repeat character added to delay the inevitable love story between Amy and Jonah.

Overall I wasn’t incredibly impressed with the premiere; however it did have a few solid jokes including a reference to American Beauty, Jurassic Park and a subtle nod to the alcohol infused energy drink Four Loko. It also had some real life commonalities to those of us who have had the pleasure of working in customer service, such as wearing a nametag with a different name, because you don’t want customers knowing your real one. If the show can continue to work in pop culture references and stay relevant towards the struggles of working in a service industry, I think it might have a shot at making it to a second season. There is an empty spot for a great half hour comedy in NBC’s-line up now that The Office and Parks and Rec are no longer on the air. I’m not convinced Superstore is that show yet, but maybe it needs a few more episodes to get its groove. Unfortunately any momentum it had going for it will be staunched since the next new episode doesn’t air until January. Superstore may already be condemned before it’s had a chance to get started, time will tell.

6 out of 10