Cloud 9 employees walk through the aisles of Store 1217 one last time. And it’s absolutely tear jerking! Since the show’s premiere back in November 2015, we’ve seen the lives of Amy, Jonah, Dina, Mateo, Garret, Cheyenne and Glenn evolve. Their bold & witty personalities all together create such a vibrant dynamic. Superstore is no stranger to raising awareness about the social issues different communities are facing. The writers and actors inform their audiences about workplace racism, immigration, health care, and the Covid-19 pandemic. These topics can be tricky to discuss, so the humor keeps these conversations from being too overwhelming or preachy.
Covid-19 At Cloud 9
The writers and actors portray the reactions and feelings Americans have about the pandemic so well. I swear these episodes have scenes right from my local Walmart! From the fear of going into a grocery store, the 6-feet rule, and interacting with people who aren’t in your “quarantine bubble”. They’ve hit the nail on the head.
Surely, Superstore has an appropriate balance between humor and seriousness in conversations. The infamous ‘toilet paper crisis’ is addressed in the episode, “Essential”. Cheyenne (Nichole Sakura), and Sandra (Kaliko Kauahi), hide a pack of toilet paper for themselves before they sell out. Soon enough, they are also storing other employee’s groceries in the store ceiling. Their plan quite literally “falls through” when the stuff gets too heavy and breaks the ceiling. Drastic times call for drastic measures, right?!
Racism- Superstore Tackles the Black American Experience
In the episode, “Hair Care Products”, employees address the controversial issue of locking up Black hair products. Locking up products that are mainly purchased by Black and brown folx is a blatant act of racial discrimination. Stores such as Walmart and CVS have lawsuits for enforcing this policy in the past few years. This seemingly “harmless precaution” in fact only perpetuates the false narrative that Black and brown people are criminals.
Garrett (Colton Dunn), a Black employee, has to write a list of all the Black employee’s concerns about racism at Cloud 9. In the end, he finds out that the list won’t even be reviewed by corporate for a few weeks. This is an honest portrayal of the mental and emotional exhaustion Black people feel after constantly fighting for basic rights. As a Black woman, I really appreciate the truth this episode reveals about the Black American experience.
Mateo’s Undocumented Status
Superstore is the first sitcom on network tv to depict the life of a queer, undocumented, Filipino immigrant, Mateo Liwanag (Nico Santos). Santos is a Filipino immigrant himself and appreciates playing such an impactful role. When asked about his character he said this, “When I found out Mateo was going to be undocumented, I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this is so perfect, because this is close to the American experience for most of us.” In the final season, Mateo faces the possibility of deportation if he is unable to get hired at another job.
In the interview above, Santos says that Mateo’s undocumented status helps us understand why he is so competitive at work. He has to work a bit harder than his co-workers because “the stakes are high for him.” Santos also says fans show their appreciation his character because of how it reflects their personal experiences. To see the story of a queer Filipino immigrant being told on tv for the world to understand is important for the Filipino community.
Amy & Jonah’s Superstore Love
One of the most anticipated storylines of Superstore is Amy and Jonah’s love story. This is your typical workplace romance. It starts out as a crush on a co-worker that ends with them together. In Amy and Jonah’s case the latter happens after 6 years of avoiding their true feelings. It was easy to deflect these feelings because they are polar opposites. Jonah (Ben Feldman), is a look-on-the-bright side type of guy. And Amy, (America Ferrera), is a realist who is sometimes afraid to step out of her comfort zone.
To viewers, it’s easy to realize that Jonah’s fun personality rubs off on Amy as their relationship progresses. During an intimate moment in the last episode, Amy reveals her feelings to Jonah right before sharing a romantic kiss. “I hated how you believed that life could be better than it was…and my life is so much better than it was because of you.”