SUPERSTORE Review: “Seasonal Help” / “Black Friday”



had its fall finale this week, with two episodes that dealt with two of the biggest annoyances of working in retail—having your workspace invaded by a whole new group of weirdos when it’s time to hire seasonal help and the dreaded Black Friday. Both episodes were typically hilarious, but there was a more serious subplot about Amy’s relationship with her husband Adam that grounded both. In the first of the two, Glenn hires Adam to work as a temporary holiday worker, misinterpreting Amy’s sarcasm.

Amy clearly doesn’t want Adam around and her worst fears are confirmed right away when he embarrasses her with a speech revealing the nickname he calls her—Bean, because she’s small and sleeps curled up like a little naked bean. Nobody needed to know that. She watches him load DVD’s onto a shelf, but when she makes a helpful suggestion—move the box of DVD’s closer so you don’t need to walk five feet whenever you have to grab one—he immediately gets defensive. We haven’t seen much of Adam so far in this show, but the Adam that we see here is immature, defensive, and a little bit dumb.

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Both episodes set the stage for Amy and Jonah to get together, chipping away at Amy and Adam’s relationship little by little, then having Jonah conveniently there to support her. In “Seasonal Help”, Amy asks Glenn to put her and Adam on opposite shift schedules so they don’t have to see each other at work. Glenn agrees, as he’s surprised that she even wanted him to work there considering what’s going on in her marriage. She’s immediately offended, as she clearly didn’t think there were any major problems, or that any problems were perceptible to outsiders.

Her solution? Have sex with Adam at work then awkwardly brag about it to Garrett, Dina, and Jonah so everyone knows just how great their marriage is. But this decision has consequences in “Black Friday”. Amy begins to feel sick and immediately thinks that she might be pregnant. She’s not—it’s just food poisoning that’s struck the entire store—but the semi-scare caused her to do some soul-searching. She’s always wanted more kids, but just not with Adam. At the end of the episode, she calls Adam, telling him that she isn’t happy. I’m not sure what the future holds for Amy, but it doesn’t look like Adam is going to be a part of it for much longer.

Superstore - Season 2

But enough with the serious stuff! Let’s talk about some of the jokes. In “Seasonal Help”, Jonah joins Garrett and Dina’s annual bet as to which seasonal employee will quit first, even though he warns them that he’s had gambling problems before. Once he wins the bet and attending $2 price—his pick quit because he found a used condom in a dressing room, which sadly happened when I used to work at a department store—he gets hooked. He wants another round, recruiting more employees. But he’s not content to just leave things up to chance. He begins actively trying to make his pick, Isaac, quit, only to have everyone else try to do the same thing.

This involves the very gay Mateo awkwardly hitting on a new employee, followed by Cheyenne doing the exact same thing when the employee complains to her. Dina forces her choice to mop the parking lot, while Garrett plays “Cats in The Cradle” over the loudspeaker to antagonize his pick, who’s missing his son. Isaac ends up quitting, and Jonah wins the pot. It’s all fun and games until Glenn reveals that he hired all of them from his church’s “Last Chance” program—they’re all addicts or former criminals trying to change their lives. Jonah gives the money he won to Isaac, who immediately uses it to buy meth. At least Jonah’s learned once again about the perils of gambling?

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There’s also a pretty funny runner about Glenn trying to hire an instore Santa. He narrows it down to six candidates—they’ve also passed “the grueling yet simple Meghan’s Law search”, which is a hilariously dark joke for this show. He finally chooses one, but when he learns that the pays in “a thousand smiles” and “the wonder on a little kids face” instead of actual money, he leaves, as does everyone but stoner Cody who works in the stockroom.

“Black Friday” was another great episode, as the American shopping tradition is rife for parody. The shoppers literally break down the door to get in, fight each other, and steal toys from children. Jonah starts the night excited, comparing it to the Super Bowl, but it’s his first time working the night. Everyone else just steadies themselves for the horrors to come, which include a beer display toppling over, leaving behind an aisle full of blood and glass. This Black Friday is the worst yet because everyone’s suffering from food poisoning thanks to a dish at their pre-opening potluck.

Superstore - Season 2

Glenn, high on anti-anxiety pills, agrees when Garrett suggests that they just leave the store. They’re extremely short-staffed. But Garrett wasn’t serious. You see, Garrett always does the bare minimum not to get fired, but nothing else. He leads the charge back into the fray, and they finish the night out, Glenn kicking out shoppers at closing time by driving a forklift at them. Dina, impressed by Garrett, kisses him. He kisses her back. She tells him to meet her in the photo lab. It’s Cloud Nine’s most unlikely couple, but I kind of support it. Garrett’s chillness could compliment Dina’s intensity nicely.

Superstore isn’t returning until January 5th, but this first half of the season has been consistently, reliably funny. It’s hard to say that about any other network comedy, but with this show, you know that you’re going to get a hilarious half-hour of TV. It’s grown from the show everybody thought would be cancelled to NBC’s most successful comedy. I can’t wait to see how it keeps evolving and growing in the second half of the season.


Season 2, Episode 9-10 (S02E09-10)
Superstore airs Thursday at 8 PM on NBC

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Jennifer lives for two things: spreading the “Superstore” gospel and themed “Law & Order: SVU” marathons on USA.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jtrof
Keep up with all of Jennifer’s reviews here.

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