On Thursday evening, Superstore returned on NBC for the premiere of its sixth season. In the episode titled “Essential,” the series picked up where it left off back in March when the Cloud9 workers first became aware that the pandemic was erupting across the country.
However, this was not the only bad news they received. It was revealed to them that Amy (America Ferrera) would be leaving her job as their manager to take a position in California at the Zefra (Cloud9’s parent company) corporate offices and taking Jonah (Ben Feldman) with her. America Ferrera was not supposed to be returning at all this season but due to abrupt halt to production at the end of season 5, she returned for another episode to bear the news to the team and conclude her time at Cloud9.
The episode tastefully included just about every joke from the past eight months from murder hornets to hand washing. Plus, we found out in the first few minutes that Marcus (Ike Barinholtz) contracted Covid at a spring break party because he didn’t believe in the virus. And later had a stay in the ICU because of it.
Taking the relatable struggle to the next level, Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) and Sandra (Kaliko Kauahi) hid toilet paper in the store ceiling so there would be some left at the end of their shifts. Highlighting the fact that companies have neglected to provide PPE for their employees, Matteo (Nico Santos) made masks out of teddy bears and Garrett (Colton Dunn) used a shower curtain as a barrier between him and the customers.
Finally, the show rounded out the expected craziness when Dina (Lauren Ash) and Glenn (Mark Mckinney) dealt with an anti-masker who accused them of “working for satan” when they asked her politely to put on a mask or leave the store.
Prior to watching this episode I was beginning to feel tired of shows bringing up the virus, but Superstore incorporated it into the plot so effortlessly that I didn’t mind. Aside from all of the laughs, the episode still left room for empathizing with the essential workers. Similar to the Cloud9 employees, retail workers across the country have had to pay to protect themselves with the little money they make and risk their well-being for the convenience of others. The episode made that clear in the most comical and creative way possible. Well done Superstore.
Watch Superstore on NBC Thursdays at 8/7 central or on Peacock.
By Blair Krassen @blairlyawake