Metadata: 2015–present | TV-G | 3 seasons of 22 minute episodes
Genre: Workplace (Supermarket) Comedy!
Why I watched it: Superstore—produced by Scrubs- and Office-alum Jason Spitzer—hadn't been on my radar. I can't recall seeing an advertisement, review, anything of the show, despite it now being in its third season. (Which is crazy, because I love workplace comedies, so clearly recommendation algorithms failed big time here.) But a few weeks ago, the pilot autoplayed after the last episode of SNL I watched (Thanks, Hulu!). I LOVED it, and you will too!
In a post–Dunder Mifflin world, avoiding cancellation and negative reviews is a constant challenge for the workplace comedy (e.g., Ghosted). But not every boss can be Michael Scott, and do we really deserve more than one Jim and Pam? Nope! So let me just preface this recommendation by stating: Superstore is not The Office, even if Spitzer clones some of the same DNA into his latest series.
Helmed by America Ferrera, the series follows the employees of the big box store Cloud 9. Amy (Ferrera) might be kind of falling for new hire Jonah (Ben Feldman) in a Pam/Jim-ish way, but there are whole new and different complications in this will-they-won't-they relationship. Assistant (to the) store manager Dina (Lauren Ash) is a totalitarian rule follower, but not in the least bit obsequious like her ancestor Dwight—groveling gets left for the cut-throat-cheerful-ladder-climber Mateo (Nico Santos). But store manager Glenn Sturgis (Mark McKinney)? Bless him and his evangelical heart, he his the least Michael Scott–like boss there is!
My partner and I were literally in stitches as we churned through seven episodes in one sitting (154 minutes, with a pizza break in between). The big difference between Superstore and The Office is, well, the difference between working retail and a desk job. Shift work versus the nine-to-five allows for a slew of bizarre one-time characters—from cranky customers to random kids who have run away from their parents—to flit in and out of the show in a way that's not exhausting. And may I just say, after having worked retail for four years, that these slap-stick moments are simultaneously tedious, (sur)real, and ridiculous.
Sure, some of the first season feels slightly cribbed from Spitzer's earlier shows, which isn't a bad thing IMHO—generic formulas are my comfort food! But in its second and third season, Superstore finds its sea legs. This show is unique, hilarious, and timely, thinking through hot button issues like class, the 2016 election, health care, student loans, and immigration in a not-heavy-handed way. Just take my word for it: Superstore gets it right in so many ways.
Happy streaming, Cloud 9 shoppers!