Superstore has in a lot of ways flown under the radar over the course of its six seasons. Justin Spitzer basically joined The Office right before it fell off the cliff, and he seemingly learned a lot of good lessons from how to run a workplace show and not make many of the same mistakes (also
copying paying homage to many of their stories). The main advantage the show seemed to have going for it though was that it never became such a huge hit that people based their “personalities” on liking the show. Imagine how much less uncool it would be to like The Office if very few people watched it. That’s Superstore.
6. Season 5 – Amy’s the Boss
A large part of the show’s success in the early seasons was relying on telling the story of an oppressed labor group trying to exist and from their perspective in general. Amy was the main character, but she was a worker and part of the group. By making Amy a boss for the full season, the show stayed with focusing the most on her which was asking the audience to empathize by default with middle management. It made for an awkward and often unpleasant dynamic that the show did not know how to deal with. It also made the random moments of interpersonal cruelty that started to pop up more in season 3 even more grating. The pandemic-induced clinghanger season “finale” half-ending was not ideal only because it was clear the follow-up was going to be messy with Ferrara on the way out.
5. Season 6 – Essential Workers
The final season of Superstore attempted to do what The Office completely failed to do and make the show work after the main character exits. They did have a number of advantages though that its spiritual successor did not have: such as, Amy was not the show’s funniest character and probably not even in the top 10. Yes, that is a critical advantage that they did not have to worry about the funny but Superstore always went to great lengths to make sure that Amy was the narrative center of the show (for better or worse). They also had to escape from two pandemic-related issues. First, their season five finale became an accidental cliffhanger, and then they had to make the show work within the confines of the real world where a pandemic was very much happening. To cap it all off, the show was expectedly told they had to wrap things up in this season and bring Amy right back a mere 10ish episodes after her melodramatic wrap-up at the beginning of the season. All of this is to say that the show was behind the eight-ball for the whole final season, but they mostly made it through in-tact and ended on an overall satisfying note.
4. Season 3 – Sex Live Stream
Amy got really annoying in this season. It’s not an uncommon issue with sitcoms. As time goes on, they struggle under the weight to make their “straight” characters funny and then they make them either increasingly stupid or asshole-ish. With Amy, it was the latter. This also played out in similar ways with the rest of the show. It just sort of seemed like every character was getting slightly more bitter and biting. Sometimes it was very funny, but somethings it was just more unpleasant to watch.
3. Season 4 – ICE WHAT THE FUCK
This season made some much-needed improvements from season 3. Amy having more direction in her life made her more pleasant, and the show struggled with finding ways to acknowledge her unpleasantness. In general, the tone was just much better…GENERALLY. There were however some low points. Garrett losing Dinah’s birds Dinah burning Garrett’s shoes were just the two worst moments on the show. (Garrett’s continuous bitterness finally coming back to bite him at the end at least felt appropriate though.) Amy and Jonah also veered a bit too close to the sun aka Jim & Pam mode. The show at least made them the outright villains at the end.
THEN THE ICE RAID HAPPENED, AND IT WAS JUST TRAUMATIZING. What the fuck. I can see how this show thought it was a good idea to address the real dangers of being undocumented in this country, but this development really showed just how much the show was not capable of doing it well to justify the decision. I DON’T KNOW. Much like the show itself, I prefer to pretend this did not happen.
2. Season 1 – The Strike
As far as 10-13 episode debut seasons of a sitcom goes, this was basically everything you want. All the main characters were introduced well and have clear arcs. The larger world was teased. The larger conflicts revolving around labor vs. these asshole evil vampiric corporations was mostly well done?? The cliffhanger ending was genuinely effective even if it wrote them into a semi-difficult corner. This achieved a delicate balance between being exceptionally comfortable with what it was from the start while also leaving a ton of room to grow.
1. Season 2 – Tornado
Season 2 was an excellent follow-up for the show in its first full-length season. All the main characters got further developed in appropriate and mostly very interesting directions. Several of the supporting characters in and out of the store began to get fleshed out in ways that made the world feel bigger and gave you more to be emotionally invested in.