NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Superstore” are present in this review
Superstore got into the Valentine’s Day spirit early during NBC’s Thursday night sitcom bloc this week, with the aptly named, “Valentine’s Day” bringing love to the air of Cloud 9, for better or for worse. The episode took some extra time to build up to some better gags in the second half, but by the end, this was another funny Superstore offering that effectively marked the occasion of the show’s first time observing Valentine’s Day.
With the Cloud 9 employees putting up a bunch of Valentine’s Day merchandise (they just left that to the last minute again?), Sandra’s fibs about dating Jeff become increasingly more exaggerated, getting on the nerves of Mateo all the more, while Glenn starts thinking about setting up his employees after one proposes to another. The flash mob-themed proposal in the intro wasn’t the strongest way to start the episode, especially when even the characters admit that flash mobs are a bypassed fad, plus it’s a little weird that this Cloud 9 couple played a very small part in the story when it came down to it, though Glenn unintentionally wrecking their relationship when he asks about them having kids was a funny joke at least.
Most of the episode’s storytelling is split between three storylines, as Amy gets roped into Glenn’s efforts to stoke romance among the workers, Garrett starts screwing with Mateo after Cheyenne blabs to him about Mateo being the one actually dating Jeff, and Jonah helps Dina target an apparent shoplifter. The show has already sicced Dina on a shoplifter, specifically last season in the very funny episode, “Shoplifter”, though fortunately, it was Jonah that primarily pushed the storyline this time, with Dina casually observing from the background.
Now that Jonah’s latest romance has fallen apart, and the show still doesn’t seem to be ready to fully push him into Amy’s arms, Jonah’s investigation instead has him inadvertently becoming infatuated with the suspect, after he accidentally flies a drone into her head. It’s Jonah, so I can’t say I’m that surprised. Anyway, Dina initially thinks that Jonah is simply playing along to get the shoplifter to confess, though when she realizes that Jonah is seriously attracted to the woman, she intervenes at the end of the episode and pretends to be Jonah’s angry wife, leading to the customer quickly fleeing. As funny as this scene was, it did feel pretty unrealistic, since Jonah and Dina were so over-the-top in their charade that there’s no way any reasonable adult would fall for Dina’s act, which ultimately made this feel like a hasty excuse to keep Jonah open for Amy in the near-future.
It’s also a bit strange to see Sandra continuing to carry on with her lie about dating Jeff, after it actually bit her in the ass quite noticeably in last week’s episode. Still, Sandra continually sending gifts to herself and pretending that they’re from Jeff was pretty amusing, especially when Garrett further provokes an angry Mateo, who, for whatever reason, gets angry that Jeff isn’t sending him presents, despite even Garrett pointing out the obvious, that Sandra is sending the items to herself. Fortunately, Jeff taking Mateo into a change room by pretending a ‘feces swastika’ was left in it (how would that even happen?), to present Mateo with a keychain and then confirm that he sees Mateo as a boyfriend, made for a satisfying result that fit in well with the episode. Mateo not having anything for Jeff after raising such a fuss about Sandra’s fake gifts was also one of the episode’s funnier moments for sure!
Arguably though, the strongest plot was the Glenn/Amy storyline, as the two see the Cloud 9 greeter, Arthur silently pine for Myrtle. After Amy becomes sympathetic to the shy Arthur’s plight, she puts the two together in womens’ wear, with Glenn helping to get gifts from Arthur into Myrtle’s locker. To both of their surprise though, Myrtle is distraught and declares that Arthur is sexually harassing her, which Amy initially refuses to believe, especially when Arthur simply seems to be trying to compliment Myrtle’s sweater.
The ensuing over-the-top satire of sexual harassment training and response in the workplace was incredibly funny, as Amy tries to smooth out the situation with Myrtle, only to make everything worse, and eventually force a bunch of the employees into sexual harassment education with Jeff. The reveal that Arthur actually was being lewd to Myrtle at the end of the episode was also pretty hilarious, though not as much as Glenn learning that the way he asked out his wife, Jerusha at his old furniture store was against sexual harassment policy at Cloud 9. This leads to Glenn calling Jerusha to say that their entire marriage is based on a sex crime. That could have very well been the funniest joke in the episode!
“Valentine’s Day” is one of those Superstore episodes that needed a bit of extra time to hit its stride, but when it did, the laughs came pretty ceaselessly. The final result of every storyline was also very funny, though as I said, Dina costing Jonah his customer date felt like a stretch, even by the standards of this show. It’s also a little odd that Sandra hasn’t given up her act of pretending to date the homosexual Jeff yet, after she’s already suffered consequences for it. Mateo gaining a bit of romantic maturity however, to the point where he lets Sandra continue the lie at the end, was pretty cool. In the end, Cloud 9 made a few other occasions like Halloween and Black Friday count a little more this season, but Valentine’s Day definitely wasn’t without the show’s reliable comedic charms.