NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of Superstore are present in this review
After three ‘preview’ episodes on Global’s website during 2015, Superstore has now properly begun its syndicated television debut this year. Starting nice and early with “Mannequin” this week, Superstore is attempting to position itself as part of a new Friday night comedy bloc for Global, meaning that it airs several days late in Canada, in contrast to its American broadcast on NBC during Monday nights. Since Global is already dominating Monday ratings in Superstore’s slot with CBS’ DC Comics drama, Supergirl, Superstore ended up having to be moved for the Great White North.
That’s alright though, since this move for Superstore in Canada gives us a far better Friday night comedy to enjoy, in contrast to middling offerings like Last Man Standing and Dr. Ken, and even the newly-launched Angel from Hell. Superstore still hasn’t quite hit the highs of The Office, 30 Rock or Parks and Recreation as a workplace sitcom in its fourth episode, mind you, but it’s continuing to move forward, with “Mannequin” being quite funny, and continuing to effectively develop the dynamic between the show’s ensemble set of leads.
Now that we’re back in the fictional Cloud 9 superstore, this episode kicks off with a main plot that spotlights just how poorly Jonah is fitting in with some of the Cloud 9 crew so far. This leads to Garrett and Amy teasing him when they discover a mannequin that looks like him, which Jonah is somewhat bothered by, despite not wanting to show it. You can imagine where this setup goes, with Cloud 9 starting to resemble Dunder-Mifflin from The Office, in just how little work everyone seems to do on any given day in this place, even the managers.
Speaking of Glenn and Dina, they headline their own subplot in this episode, where they clash over wanting to take in Cheyenne’s baby (yes, Cheyenne is back, after being strangely absent in the previous episode, “Shots and Salsa”), when Cheyenne considers putting her baby up for adoption. This leads to some pretty strong jokes, and like I said, Lauren Ash especially is one of Superstore’s best actors at this point, so Dina is always bound to bring the laughs whenever she’s on screen. Ash’s rapport with Mark McKinney is quickly growing strong as well, with Glenn and Dina having a very amusing love/hate dynamic that sees them bickering about petty things to hilarious effect, despite attempting to act like they’re on the same team.
Truthfully, the subplot with Glenn and Dina was a bit stronger than the main plot with the mannequin, which Amy starts positioning around the store in progressively more humiliating displays, simply to bug Jonah. That’s not to say that the main Jonah/Amy plot wasn’t funny, but it did lean on this idea that Jonah and Amy will inevitably start dating at some point, and the show is tipping its hand to this way too much. Even as Amy confirms speculation from the pilot that she’s married, and has a daughter of her own (in turn making her dynamic with Cheyenne more interesting, since Amy had her off-screen daughter when she was nineteen), the show seems to constantly prod at this budding romantic arc for Jonah and Amy, to the point where even Garrett brings up the, “Work flirt” situation between the two towards the end of the episode. Honestly, the show could do with restraining the budding “Jamy” romance a bit, especially since it’s bound not to come up for a while anyway, possibly not even this season.
Nonetheless, Jonah’s over-sensitive reactions to the mannequin were comedic highlights in this episode as well. Seeing Jonah trying to dispose of the mannequin in a cardboard compactor, eliciting an alarm and a horrified reaction from Glenn, was a pretty good laugh-out-loud moment. Likewise, Jonah taking his entire lunch break to find a mannequin that resembles Amy, having to resort to buying a sex doll for the sake of his own feeble prank, was reasonably funny, even if it could have easily been creepy. The dynamic between Jonah and Amy is good enough to avoid the feeling of creepiness with this joke, though this was probably also helped by a pretty clever (and awkward) setup of several characters catching Jonah trying to dress up the sex doll to resemble Amy in the break room. It was also appropriate to have Amy be blamed for the mannequin incidents over Jonah, as blaming Jonah for them would have strained the joke, especially when the episode capitalizes on Amy’s lack of productivity by having Mateo jealously assign all of his enemies to freezer duty, with his enemies being pretty much everyone. This seems to cement Mateo as the, “Dwight Schrute” of Superstore, if Dwight Schrute were significantly more weird and flamboyant.
“Mannequin” is possibly the most enjoyable episode of Superstore yet, and continues to effectively push the series forward. It still feels too early to keep hinting at a romantic arc between Amy and Jonah, but everything else is coming along nicely. The show is getting funnier and more clever now, and it’s starting to look like NBC is approaching a return to their dominance of the workplace sitcom genre. Hopefully, it keeps moving upward with this new series.
- Jonah's amusing mannequin reactions
- Glenn and Dina squabbling over adoption rights
- Mateo profiting from Amy's distraction with teasing Jonah
- The show needs to cool it with foreshadowing a Jonah/Amy romance