NOTE: Spoilers from throughout the second season of, “Superstore” are present in this review
As much as NBC is trying hard to reinvigorate their sitcom slate in recent years, it feels like Superstore is their one and only noteworthy success in that endeavour for now. Despite modest live viewership, Superstore has become a huge hit and moneymaker for NBC in digital and streaming numbers, where it ended last season as the most streamed NBC show on Hulu most notably. A lot of this is due to Superstore being a legitimately great sitcom that is both funny and clever, and fortunately, the show only got better for most of Season Two!
There weren’t really any noticeable ‘bad’ episodes in Season Two, even though there were a few weaker ones here and there. Even the weaker episodes still felt like a cut above the vast majority of television sitcoms though, and that’s before considering outstanding season highlights like, “Election Day”, “Lost and Found” and, “Halloween Theft.” The start of the season didn’t totally excel with the whole strike angle, especially with how quickly it was abandoned, but fortunately, the end of the season proved to be a lot stronger, especially between the outstanding fun of, “Cheyenne’s Wedding”, and the surprisingly harrowing, “Tornado” to close out Season Two.
Season Two of Superstore also proved to be extensively romance-heavy, as new budding relationships sprouted between several employees. Obviously, Jonah and Amy were among them, as the show continually flirts with the inevitable romance between these two, despite Amy still being married throughout the season. The Amy/Jonah romance foreshadowing was sometimes heavy-handed and tedious, especially when Superstore still can’t commit to just getting Amy away from her deadbeat husband even by the end of its sophomore season, but at least the impeccable chemistry between America Ferrera and Ben Feldman remains enjoyable to watch.
Outside of the predictable romance though, some other surprising romances also sprung up! Another recurring subplot this season was the coming together of Garrett and Dina, who start hooking up, in a very welcome pivot from the less believable Dina attraction to Jonah during Season One. Colton Dunn and Lauren Ash were often among the funniest performers throughout Superstore’s second season, and both of their characters only got better when they were able to be around each other. Garrett seemingly falling for Dina despite his best efforts was especially great, particularly as Dina does a drastic one-eighty from Season One, and suddenly doesn’t seem to care about emotional attachment in the slightest.
The remaining surprise romance came by way of Mateo and district manager, Jeff, who begin a secret relationship that they try, and inevitably fail, to keep from the Cloud 9 overlords. Bringing the gossipy Cheyenne into this situation as a foil proved to be especially inspired! The same is true of Sandra, who was effectively allowed to be a much larger character on Superstore this season, after she lies about being the one dating Jeff to boost her reputation. Both Sandra and Mateo are eventually found out, and both suffer amusing and heartbreaking consequences for their deceit, though at least Cheyenne got off surprisingly easily for her blabbermouth, especially when she had a great wedding to Bo towards the end of the season, which marked the first episode to take the Cloud 9 employees pretty much completely out of the store.
With the show settling more into a reliable comedic groove, Superstore also started introducing more enjoyable supporting employees for Cloud 9. Sal from Season One seems to have been completely dropped from the show for now, but he’s nonetheless been replaced by obnoxious associate and eventual warehouse worker, Marcus, who is indeed a better character. After the expanded roles of the put-upon Sandra and the geriatric Myrtle, we also meet more Cloud 9 folks such as poser, Justine, conniving and bitchy Sandra rival, Carol, and gross, awkward stooge, Elias. The show’s secondary ensemble really started coming together well in Season Two, even if Glenn was forced to fire several employees in the season finale, with Justine and Marcus clearly being among them. This does however pave the way for more supporting employees to come in for the already-confirmed Season Three, and that’s assuming that any firings don’t end up being undone anyway.
Another very noticeable thing to note about the second season of Superstore is that it became a bit more topical. Issues like gun control, the 2016 election, and the treatment of minimum-wage workers in American society in general, got a heavy spotlight placed upon them throughout various episodes this season. This represents a sitcom that is maturing and gaining more courage, though not at the expense of the great comedy foundation that it’s always maintained. Even with modest live numbers, Superstore is starting to represent the one true champion successor to beloved NBC workplace sitcom alums like The Office and Parks & Recreation. This is currently the sitcom that NBC’s big sitcom pitches should aspire to emulate in terms of wit and inspiration!
Superstore thus delivers a very strong and very funny second season, making it small wonder that it was renewed well in advance for a third season by NBC. The character ensemble is becoming better established, and their rapport with each other is also becoming even more enjoyable. Not only that, but the scope and flavour of topical issues that the show is tackling, while still remembering to have good clean fun in other character-driven storylines, prove that the storytelling of Superstore has generally gotten even stronger and more ambitious in Season Two. Here’s hoping that this same high commitment to comedic quality is upheld throughout the third season to come!
- Better established Cloud 9 ensemble is funnier than ever
- More topical and ambitious storylines that remain very clever
- Romance-heavy recurring storylines mostly work well
- Jonah/Amy romance teasing is becoming quite tedious