Superstore Review: “Shoplifter”

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superstore

Airtime: Monday at 8:00 on NBC

Tweetable Takeaway: There’s nothing like death, shoplifting, and first periods to bring the team at Cloud 9 closer together. 


This week the Cloud 9 crew had a lot to handle: a death in the store, a shoplifter who refused to confess, and the growing pains of pre-teen girl’s adolescence…otherwise known as “what to do (and what not to do) when a girl gets her first period.” It’s a bizarre mix of events that guarantee  moments of comedy gold, but it’s the first episode of  where we finally feel the heartfelt camaraderie of the team.

The aforementioned death happens at the top of the show when Jonah and Garrett come across an elderly man who they think is sleeping on the couch. After Jonah tries to wake him up, they realize that he is asleep…FOREVER. The  “what to do with a dead old person’s body” device has been used in sitcoms many times before it, but instead of making the dead body the source of tired physical jokes a la Weekend at Bernie’s, it spins off a couple of secondary storylines.

Cheyenne and Mateo fight over the discounted sofa old man died on, while Glenn stresses out about the perfect way to pay homage to the dead. Meanwhile, Dina interrogates a suspected shoplifter (played by Laura Ash’s Another Period costar, Natasha Leggero) who insists she didn’t take anything in the cattiest way that she can. Both ask for Amy’s help in their ordeals, but since she brought her daughter to work (which is against policy), she is apprehensive to leave her on her own…until Jonah offers to watch her while she is away. But while Amy’s gone, her daughter has a little visitor for the first time and Jonah tries his best to handle the situation — and that is by sticking a bunch of maxi-pads on himself and acting like a mummy.

Until now, Superstore seem to have more focus on the impending romance between Jonah and Amy, but this particular episode put that storyline in he background and decided to put an emphasis on the relationship on the entire team. It showcased Amy as the moral center of the team — the person that everyone turns to when things start to go bad. She is the only one with any sense to handle an uncooperative shoplifter and a boss who has way too much anxiety about paying respect to a complete stranger that died. In turn, Jonah decides to do something for her by looking after her daughter while she is being a do-gooder. This builds on their relationship not by blatant flirting or that played-out, push-and-pull sexual tension but by a gesture that proves to be more effective. It’s sweet and takes their friendship in a new direction.

Many sitcoms have tackled first periods with paint-by-number jokes that are predictable and, let’s face it, tired and old. Long gone are the days when someone would say “I got my first period!” and everyone would feel awkward. Then someone would crack some lame tampon joke and then the laugh track would cut the awkwardness. Granted, there were no new groundbreaking first period jokes in this episode, but it was Jonah’s reaction to the first period that were funny. It further proved Ben Feldman’s comedy chops and his reactions seemed liked something a guy in his situation would really do… except the aforementioned maxi-pad mummy outfit he wore.

Okay. That’s enough period talk.

The real strength of this episode was that we finally realized that everyone on the Cloud 9 team has each other’s back. Amy was willing to help Glenn and Dina with their problems and Jonah came to the Amy’s rescue — even though she had doubts about his babysitting abilities. Even Garrett tried to give Mateo and Cheyenne a solution about who should get the dead man’s couch. Even at the end of the episode, we see Glenn help bail out Dina (who, by the way, is essentially the Dwight Schrute of Superstore) from a situation that could have had her fired — even if it was a little ethically questionable.

There was a genuine feeling of “work family” in this particular episode — we are even starting to get a little bit of heart from the characters. The show is starting to strengthen that familiar feeling camaraderie that makes audiences love workplace comedies. But in the end, it’s all about the funny — and Superstore is giving us plenty of that with each episode. Period.

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watches too much TV and laughs inappropriately during dramatic films. He’s a fan of comedy, podcasts, and comedy podcasts. He’s a reformed comic book geek and thinks “The Goonies” is the best movie of all time. When he isn’t stuffing his face with a burrito, he’s thinking about his next trip to Disneyland.

Twitter: @dinoray

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