NBC’s “Superstore” Blends Comedy with Reality


“Superstore,” a sitcom that follows a group of employees that work at a big box store, is returning for season six on Oct. 29. (Courtesy of Facebook)

As a big fan of comedy, I am constantly searching for a new sitcom to help me escape the stress and frustration of reality. One of my most recent findings, and immediate favorites, was the NBC series “Superstore.”

The series follows a close-knit group of employees who work at Cloud 9, a big box store located in St. Louis, Missouri. Each character has his or her own reason for working at the store, whether it be a necessity or a personal choice. Nonetheless, they are often able to put aside their differences and work together as a team to complete what needs to be done, even if the end result is hilariously disastrous.

I have always enjoyed workplace comedies such as “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office.” I find it interesting how television producers are able to make professions as mundane as paper salesmen or mid-level bureaucrats seem like the best jobs a person could ask for. I started watching “Superstore” expecting the same takeaway, but I came out with so much more. Although it may share some similarities with other workplace sitcoms — the eccentric boss, the workplace romance, the over-enthusiastic assistant manager — “Superstore” stands alone in the way that it presents a lighthearted yet accurate perspective on America’s working class. 

“Superstore” currently contains only five seasons, but the series has already tackled a myriad of real-life struggles such as health insurance, maternity leave, work as an undocumented immigrant and much more. Unlike sitcoms like “The Office” or “Parks and Rec,” this series uses its plotlines to focus on issues that Americans can relate to, especially service industry employees. However, what I like most about the show is how the portrayal of these struggles never seems forced. By presenting its characters’ conflicts in a comical manner, the series is not looking to lecture its audience on the hardships that the characters must face. Instead, it invites us to experience these hardships along with the characters, creating more sympathetic viewers. 

The season five premiere episode, “Cloud 9.0,” is just one great example of how the series blends comedy with serious social and political issues. In the episode, the employees are still distressed over their coworker Mateo’s detention by ICE in the previous season finale. Although the show takes this issue very seriously, the subplot of two employees forming ridiculous plans to break into the detention center and free Mateo adds a much-needed sense of comic relief. 


Additionally, the introduction of an advanced floor cleaner in the store brings to light the retail employee’s fear of being replaced by technology. At one point, an employee named Glenn gets so aggravated with the device that he exclaims, “Maybe it should be raising my child.” Even though the issue is presented in a foolish, hilarious way, the preference of technological alternatives to human beings has become increasingly concerning for retail employees. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, “Superstore” had to cut season five short, but the series is returning with a new season this week where it will address life during the coronavirus pandemic from the perspective of essential workers. The teaser trailers for season six have already given the audience a quick peek into the struggles the characters will face while working at a superstore during the pandemic. Some of these challenges will include social distancing, customers with improper mask etiquette and, of course, the great toilet paper shortage.

I am excited to see how the show decides to interpret life during this pandemic and how big of an impact it will have on the characters’ stories. Many television programs have already found ways to satirize the current conditions of the country, and I think “Superstore” will provide a unique take by focusing on the lives of essential workers. Based on their coverage of past issues, I am also certain that the writers will portray the repercussions of COVID-19 in both an entertaining and informative way.

Season six of “Superstore” premieres this Thursday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m.. If you enjoy silly sitcoms with absurd yet relatable characters and amusing yet relevant storylines, I highly recommend you check it out!