Superstore Series Final Postmortem: Showrunner Interviews

Nico Santos as Mateo, Nichole Sakura as Cheyenne, America Ferrera as Amy, Jon Barinholtz as Marcus, Kaliko Kauahi as Sandra, Lauren Ash as Dina, Mark McKinney as Glenn, Colton Dunn as Garrett, Kelly Schumann as Justine, Ben Feldman as Jonah

Nico Santos as Mateo, Nichole Sakura as Cheyenne, America Ferrera as Amy, Jon Barinholtz as Marcus, Kaliko Kauahi as Sandra, Lauren Ash as Dina, Mark McKinney as Glenn, Colton Dunn as Garrett, Kelly Schumann as Justine, Ben Feldman as Jonah
Photo: Bring Patton / NBC

Hypermarket closed its doors with a one-hour series finale on March 25. Spanning six seasons, the NBC sitcom made its name in television comedy history, not only for its superlative humor but also for its accurate portrayal of the working class. The first half hour from the finale sees Amy (America Ferrera) return to her old St. Louis lot to help save the store after staff learn that parent company Zephra might be closing it. Despite a moving on-air speech from Jonah (Ben Feldman), the company representative tells Amy that viewers at the Cloud 9 store have come to know and love will become a fulfillment center, a realistic description. of the current corporate restructuring. In the last half hour, set a month after this disclosure, employees come to terms with their circumstance while hanging a large “store closing” sign.

But don’t worry, as seen in a well-executed flash forward, everyone has a happy ending. Jonah is running for city council and has a family with powerful executive Amy, who quit her corporate job in California with Zephra in solidarity. Dina (Lauren Ash) is finally with Garrett (Colton Dunn) and is the head of the new fulfillment center. Glenn (Mark McKinney) revived his father’s hardware store and hired Mateo (Nico Santos) and Cheyenne (Nichole Sakura). The gang, which includes other employees, Sandra (Kaliko Kauahi) and her loved ones, still hang out at the backyard barbecue. The series finale ties it all together nicely, complete with flashbacks and Easter eggs dating back to the pilot, including the glow-in-the-dark stars that Jonah used to add a “moment of beauty” to Amy’s day. A similar version now covers the ceiling in your children’s room.

The show did well because of its ensemble, who get their fair share in poignant voice-overs and comedic scenes. It is not always easy to achieve a rewarding ending, but Hypermarket Showrunners Jonathan Green and Gabe Miller, who were writers and producers before taking over showrunner duties for seasons five and six, found their way despite time constraints. Before the one hour farewell, The AV Club spoke with Green and Miller about the creative choices they made in the finale, the stories they couldn’t tell, and the jokes they loved to include.

The AV Club: When did you start plotting what the ending would look like?

Jonathan Green: Almost as soon as we found out it was going to be the series finale, which was around Thanksgiving last year. The first thing we did was go to America Ferrera to see if we could get her for at least one episode and we were lucky to have her for two and a little bit.

AVC: How challenging was it to give a firm resolution to all the stories with only 15 episodes instead of the usual 22?

Gabe miller: When we found out it was ending, we had already filmed nine episodes. We didn’t have much warning or track to pivot. Particularly with the Jonah story, we were about to introduce Hannah [Maria Thayer], so we suddenly think, “Do we do this at all?” We ended up deciding to move on knowing that Hannah wouldn’t be a genuine roadblock, the public wouldn’t buy it, but it would make things oddly complicated and awkward and I like that we gave Jonah the initiative to at least try to move. on.

AVC: It gave you credibility when you saw Amy again and realized that she is the only.

GM: Yes, totally.

Ben Feldman as Jonah, America Ferrera as Amy

Ben Feldman as Jonah, America Ferrera as Amy
Image: Bring Patton / NBC

AVC: Jonah and Amy were able to meet in an organic way and reconnect by talking about The Americans. Do you remember how that joke originated?

JG: In fact, I have not seen The Americans.

GM: Yeah, and I can’t remember who put that up as the show she’s trying to get her to watch.

JG: But bringing him back seemed like a way of showing that I’d been thinking about him in California. Although I hated to give him the satisfaction of doing it, we really liked what that dialogue had come to symbolize.

AVC: Do you have any other favorite jokes or jokes that you liked to make?

JG: There were little things that I don’t even know if the audience noticed, but we talked in the writers room. One that comes to mind is about a customer at the store and an employee wants to talk to her, but she says ‘No I’m sorry I’m just visiting from Tampa.’ It’s just one line, she walks away and the employee is frustrated that they couldn’t talk to her. We got the client back in another episode for a similar time and this time she says, “No, I’m busy, I just moved here from Tampa.” She comes back in a later episode and, again, an employee wants to talk to her. I’m not sure if he made the final cut, but now we asked him to say, “Sorry I’m too busy, I’m moving back to Tampa.” It was spread over multiple episodes and it’s unlikely anyone would pick it up, but I liked that we were telling this little story about a random customer. It was just for us.

GM: One thing that always makes me laugh is how everyone, but mainly Dina and Mateo, treat Amy like she is scruffy and plain. Here’s this gorgeous actress, they just take it for granted and are casually dismissive.

JG: To its credit, the United States was always totally willing to accept those jokes.

AVC: The end of a series has a lot of pressure to summarize the stories well, but also to handle the expectations of the fans. This ending seems to accomplish that; How did that balance come about?

JG: I don’t think there is much of a conflict between those two for us.

GM: We started putting up these digital cards of the things we would like to see in the finale and they lined up with what we thought fans would also want to see in terms of endings, satisfying moments, and final things to tap on.

JG: Obviously we couldn’t include everything we wanted.

AVC: What were some of those unexplored stories?

JG: We had something in an early draft of the ending that was a goodbye for robot Glenn. All the characters gathered around him and they were drinking and had a farewell ceremony because they found out that the robot was going to be returned to Zephra and dismantled. It was her little way of facing the man as they closed them. They’re thinking, “We’re going to do what we want with this,” so they reprogrammed it to think that the store’s garden center is like Buenos Aires or something.

GM: We were going to see the robot riding into the sunset. We also talked about Garrett, who had previously expressed interest and talked about applying to GameStop. Obviously, this was before all the GameStop news happened, but for a while we were talking about how, in the end, we set it up in such a way that Glenn helped Garrett finally land that job. In the future, we would see Garrett already on his phone, even though it is his dream job. He points out that it really isn’t the job, but the people for him, echoing what he says in the voiceover at the end.

AVC: However, we see Glenn sign Mateo in the final.

JG: The reopening of the Sturgis And Sons hardware store felt like a pleasant ending for Glenn. He was really happy and once we got that in mind, it seemed natural for him to keep Mateo employed. Glenn has helped him in the past and it made sense for him to reach out again. We also loved the idea of ​​keeping Cheyenne and Mateo as a duo who are still working together.

AVC: Cloud 9 becomes a logistics center. How did you get there? It was a bit cathartic to see the store, the stage of the show, close while we also said goodbye to Hypermarket.

JG: Part of this is just the reality of what is happening in stores right now and the shift to online shopping.

GM: It felt more specific rather than just closing it.

JG: Although in the first versions we talked about the store closing. But we liked that this shape gave Dina and some of the others a good place to land.

Lauren Ash as Dina Fox in the Superstore series finale

Lauren Ash as Dina Fox in the Superstore series finale
Photo: Tyler Golden / NBC

AVC: Interstitials were always great. In the end, who were the children during those break scenes? They seemed part of their families.

JG: Not our families, but the two girls in the playpen are the daughters of our executive producer Ruben Fleischer and the girl in the potty is [creator] Daughter of Justin Spitzer. If you look closely, they are also in the pilot episode doing the same things, but they have obviously grown up now. We did the exact same interstitials with them for the last episode.

AVC: Having previously worked in The officeWhat experiences did you want to bring from him to Hypermarket while making this one so distinctive in its own right?

JG: There was a lot of our time and what we learned The office since [showrunner] Greg Daniels on the behind-the-scenes writing process, the filming process, and even the stylistic things we wanted to bring with us. But in trying to make the show distinctive, I think in a tonal way we let the show be more visual comedy. Showbiz lent itself to that.

GM: With The office, it was more difficult to attract people from outside or even find reasons to do so. That was a good thing included in the concept of having this in a store. You constantly have new people coming in as customers or even as employees without having to explain their presence all the time. We had people like Kaliko, who plays Sandra, who was there for a joke, but then she was great and showed up and we wanted to bring her back for more. Several characters worked that way, like Justine and Sayid.

JG: In addition, we work on The office in its final season and saw the process conclude with a series finale, which showed us the enormity of the task. It really helped that we reviewed it and saw Greg do it.


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