In March, the producers of "Superstore" made the difficult decision to halt production due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading loyal viewers like myself to question the future of the show. Thankfully, the minds behind the show were one step ahead.
Almost immediately, showrunners Jonathan Green and Gabe Miller brainstormed how to work around two challenges—America Ferrara's departure from the show and the COVID-19 pandemic. The two quickly decided to not only work around these challenges but to embrace them.
The season premiere gives me hope that this season might be the most relatable one yet in a time where we need it most. Here are the top 6 moments from the season premiere that have me counting down the days until the next episode.
1. The employees work to understand their new normal with plenty of humor.
If there's one thing that 2020 has taught us, it's been to be adaptable. At the beginning of the episode, Amy briefs the employees on the new COVID-19 procedures, and just like us, they aren't quite sure how to respond. There is little instruction, and they begin to panic. As the employees navigate their new normal, they remind us of two things—that we should take the pandemic seriously and that we need to be optimistic.
From cutting up teddy bears and using coffee filters for homemade masks to Cheyenne's diss at "Tiger King," ("That was, like, early pandemic?"), this episode is a recap of all we've been through in 2020. The producers have explained that Season 6 is all about portraying the pandemic in a way that's humorous, yet relatable and reminds viewers that we're all in this together.
2. The episode celebrates the efforts of essential workers and the power of community.
Something really powerful about this episode is that it exposes the viewers to the reality of everyday heroes. It is one thing to hear about grocery store employees, teachers, nurses, and other essential workers on the news, but it's another thing to explore their everyday lives. Something that "Superstore" highlights is that none of these employees volunteered to work during a pandemic.
Yet, they work on the front lines every day for minimum wage. These are ordinary people who are sacrificing their time and safety for the good of the community, and they deserve to be celebrated. The episode dives into the reality of essential workers working with no PPE or adequate resources, as well as the good of humanity. At the end of the episode, a customer buys a pack of beer to thank the employees, reminding viewers that little acts of kindness are more important now than ever before.
3. Dina and Glenn become the new dynamic duo that no one expected.
My favorite part of the episode was watching the friendship dynamic between Dina and Glenn. From the first season, it's been clear that they are completely different people. Glenn is an innocent and fun-loving man. On the other hand, Dina is rigid and often antagonizes Glenn in the workplace. Yet, this episode shows us that no matter how different we may be, we all need each other.
At the beginning of the episode, Dina and Glenn both connect over being heroes after Amy reads Zephra's statement on working during the pandemic. However, as the episode continues, Glenn appears to be anxious and burnt out. Thankfully, Dina is there to help, showing a more empathetic side to her character. The two share a sweet moment while lounging in the garden center, reminding each other that it's OK to not be OK.
Dina even hoses Glenn down after a customer sneezes on him. Let's face it. We all need someone to remind us that we're doing our best, and "Superstore" reminds us that we're more alike than we think.
4. The episode highlights some of 2020's most cringe-worthy moments.
Of course, "Superstore" couldn't reference the pandemic without highlighting some of the best-known references to 2020. This episode has it all. There are customers who tackle each other for a roll of toilet paper. There's a customer who completely disregards the "1 Package per Household" rule that we know all too well by claiming that her infant child is part of another household.
There's a Karen who refuses to wear a mask in the middle of a global pandemic. There's even a point where the supply of household goods runs so low that Cheyenne and Sandra hide products in the ceiling, only for it to completely collapse. To top it off, the employees hear that someone among them has contracted COVID-19, and of course, it's Marcus.
He's worried about putting his Spring Break party plans on hold, but his coworkers remind him to wear a mask and to take the pandemic seriously. If we haven't experienced one of these moments firsthand, we most likely know someone that has.
5. The episode does not shy away from serious issues.
Although there are humorous moments referenced from 2020, there are also some more serious ones—the reality of working without PPE, the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the feeling of putting one's entire life on hold—and these issues are explored with grace. For instance, Amy alerts her employees that Zephra has sent a number of materials to support the Black Lives Matter Movement, such as a banner that says "We stand with the black community." This prompts Garrett to say, "What are we, ghosts?" and to explain that the company has missed the point. Then, Amy allows an employee to leave work early to attend a protest. In regard to PPE, there are several references to Zephra choosing profit over people and forgetting the humanity of their employees. Ultimately, Amy speak ups and says that although it looks like the store is thriving, her employees are hurting. This episode highlilghts current issues and encourages viewers to listen, educate, and act.
6. Amy tells Jonah news that could change everything.
At the end of the episode, the employees celebrate the end of the workday in the Cloud 9 food court, but one person is missing—Amy. Naturally, Jonah rushes to her office to fill her in and he receives some news that will change everything. Amy tells him that Zephra called to tell her that they're ready for her to move to California. Jonah says that he can't wait to move with her and start their life together.
All seems great, but there is one issue. As Jonah hugs Amy, the camera zooms in on Amy's concerned expression. Is she concerned about the new job or is there something deeper, namely her relationship with Jonah? The plan all along was for Jonah to move with her, but is Amy having doubts? The producers have already told us that Episode 2 is all about Amy's farewell, but what does this mean for her relationship with Jonah? Will there be a break-up next episode? Is Amy hiding something from Jonah?
If Jonah doesn't go to California, what will happen to their relationship? Sure, the two have overcome the odds in their relationship before, but what if this is the breaking point?
"Superstore" is our weekly reminder to relax, laugh at ourselves, and remember what really matters.