NBC’s super-funny ‘Superstore’ salutes the working class

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“Superstore” is back! One of the most critically acclaimed comedies on television today, the super-funny series returns to salute the working class which has always kept America great. It joins the NBC lineup for the second half of Season 4 on Thursday, March 7.

The show follows the unique family of employees at a supersized megastore called “Cloud 9” in St. Louis. And each week the stories will continue to celebrate the hardworking diverse staff as they do their best to keep shoppers happy, while also managing issues such as workers’ rights, health insurance, immigration, gender equality and many other topical subjects.

What makes the show work so well is the incredible cast and their relatable characters. America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) plays Amy, the store’s most dependable employee who is the glue that holds the whole place together when things get crazy. Ben Feldman (Mad Men) is Jonah, a dreamer determined to prove work doesn’t have to be boring. Their co-workers include the sardonic Garrett (Colton Dunn, Key & Peele), sweet teenager Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom, Shameless), and the ambitious Mateo (Nico Santos, Crazy Rich Asians), who has recently learned he is undocumented. Overseeing the store is Glenn (Mark McKinney, The Kids in the Hall), the store’s likable but clueless store manager, and Dina (Lauren Ash, Super Fun Night), the assistant manager who enforces Cloud 9 policy with gusto.

It’s a day-to-day grind for everyone earning a paycheck. From the eager newbies and the done-it-all veterans, to the clueless seasonal hires and the weary managers, together they deal with bargain hunters, sales riots and nap-worthy training sessions. Yeah, just like real life for those who clock-in and clock-out of the workplace.

Superstore’s cast and creative team punched in their clock to promote their Universal Television production at the recent Television Critics Association’s winter 2019 press tour. On hand for an NBC panel was creator and executive producer Justin Spitzer, plus producer and star America Ferrera, along with castmates Ben Feldman, Mark McKinney, Colton Dunn, Lauren Ash, Nico Santos and Nichole Bloom.

For a show that tackles so many important social issues, America Ferrera is quick to point out that, although she likens Superstore to classic Norman Lear comedies that ring true, the show is really not political. “I think Justin (Spitzer) and the rest of our writers, so masterfully, are able to address those things without it feeling like they’re picking a side or saying who’s wrong or who’s right. One of the nicest things I’ve heard from people about our show is that it’s the type of world they want to live in—a world where people can be so different from each other and believe different things, and still treat each other with decency. That’s something we’re not seeing a lot of in our society, and it’s something that you can find on our show.”

Ferrera explained, “We have a realistic depiction of a workplace with everyday, working-class people barely getting by on minimum wage. We can’t ignore those things that are impacting their lives on this show. We talk about these issues, but we make you laugh. And we also restore your faith in humanity.”

As a producer, Ferrera told this reporter she has ongoing conversations about the creativity of the show with Justin Spitzer. “We talk about what’s happening with the show. Where are the characters going? Are we reaching who we want to reach? Are there things that we want to talk about? It’s an ongoing conversation. I’ve also gotten to direct a couple episodes, and I’ll be directing another episode this season. Ben and Mark have directed, and Lauren Ash wrote an episode. So it’s a conversation between the cast, the writers and all of the producers. It’s incredibly collaborative, and I feel I’ve learned so much from working with Justin. And I’ve gotten to really exercise different aspects of my creative self.”

Superstore is back on Thursday nights at 8pm starting March 7 on NBC. Tune in.

Margie Barron is a member of the Television Critics Association and has written for a variety of top publications for more than 38 years, and was half of the husband and wife writing team of Margie and Frank Barron.

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