Superstore is back, doing it does best -- covering important topics that reflect reality. What could be more realistic than the coronavirus pandemic?
On Superstore Season 6 Episode 1, we saw how COVID-19 affected Cloud 9 employees, and it felt like a major déjà vu. Murder hornets and Tiger King, anyone?
But Superstore always knows how to incorporate humor when covering serious subjects, and the episode, titled "Essential," was no different. If anything, they stepped up and delivered above and beyond.
COVID-19 has affected everyone on different levels, so it would be difficult to approach this subject on television, especially since we are still enduring this pandemic.
But Superstore tackled this subject with grace and respect, adding in their signature humor that had us laughing from start to finish.
Attention shoppers, we ask that you please not physically wrestle things from your fellow customers. There's a highly contractable virus out there that our country does not have a hold of. None of y'all are listening, huh? Alright, enjoy the apocalypse!Garrett
Of course, "Essential" still included the heartbreaking reality of the pandemic, which meant the limited amount of supplies, overworked and underappreciated employees, and adjustments in people's lives.
Including Amy's life since COVID-19 delayed starting her new job in California and her impending move with Jonah.
We already knew that America Ferrera would appear as Amy Sosa for two episodes on Superstore Season 6, including the show's 100th episode. So, we feel incredibly grateful that we get to spend more time with Amy.
But "Essential" pushed the idea that she would not be around forever when her new boss pulled her in for Zoom calls, leaving Jonah and Mateo to deal with the store's piling problems.
Amy's background presence put other characters in the spotlight and reminded us that first and foremost, Superstore embodies togetherness and teamwork. There is no singular "main character." Even if corporate does not value floor employees, we certainly do.
Whether it is Cheyenne and Sandra's mission to save products for themselves, or Glenn and Dina running on the high of being called heroes, Superstore Season 6 Episode 1 reassured us that the show would not change with Amy Sosa's departure.
The highlight of the episode was definitely how the writers incorporated jokes as COVID-19 spiraled. Superstore was respectful of the pandemic while maintaining a fresh sense of humor.
Superstore Season 6 Episode 1 was anything but dreary. Sure, the harsh reality of COVID-19 was a bummer, but instead of keeping the episode solemn, the writers turned several potentially upsetting moments into lighthearted comedy.
We are essential. Customers are like sheep looking for guidance. Without leaders, sheep start to eat each other. So unless one of us leads, this place is gonna be littered in haggis from here to Sunday.Dina
Like the customer who sneezed on Glenn, requiring Dena to hose him down. Or when Dina and Glenn argued with a customer who refused to wear a mask. Both moments, especially the latter, served as comedic relief when we very much needed it.
The humor the Superstore writers weaved on "Essential" emphasized how important floor workers are. They risked their lives from the beginning of this pandemic, even when everyone else was in lockdown.
Superstore Season 6 Episode 1 was a love letter and a thank you note rolled into one because none of us would be here if it were not for these workers. It is a reminder that we should appreciate them beyond pandemic circumstances since many people take them for granted.
Those who worked "essential jobs" from the beginning of the pandemic work minimum wage and long hours to feed their families and pay their bills. They stand on the front line every single day, with or without a pandemic.
But some people curse at these employees and make their lives miserable. Superstore has shown from the very beginning the harsh reality these workers face every day, from manipulative corporate bosses to unappreciative customers.
These essential employees are overworked and underpaid. They work in harsh conditions with no medical leave to fall back on during an emergency. They do not have the luxury of taking time off, calling in sick, or working regular hours. They certainly did not have any of these options once the pandemic started.
Zephra was not wrong when they said these employees are the real heroes, but it is hard to believe them when it took months to send adequate supplies to keep their employees safe. Of course, Zephra did not hesitate to send "anti-looting procedures," demonstrating where their real priorities lie.
They care more about replaceable merchandise than the lives of their workers. Cloud 9 employees are heroes, but Zephra certainly did not show that they meant what they said.
Despite the funny instances, Superstore could not slap humor on every pandemic-related moment. It was grim, but these moments were necessary for addressing specific aspects, such as corporations responding to protestors.
Zephra was no different -- they insisted they "believed in the black community," but they cared more about their products instead of supporting Black Lives Matter.
Amy disappears more and more as Zoom calls consume her life. Jonah barely sees Amy, and they live together. This moment was a small testament to how this pandemic separated people, whether insignificantly, such as Amy's case, or significantly, such as country borders.
You're in an impossible situation. We all are. And I don't know; something has to change.Jonah
By summer, Cloud 9 employees still do not have adequate supplies to ensure their safety while working. Zephra sends additional supplies only after Amy suggests it because of an earnings spike.
They are several months into a pandemic, and it is only now that Cloud 9 employees are receiving masks and gloves, despite being mandated to wear them since spring.
Glenn breaks down because of his accumulated stress from the pandemic, and our hearts lurched as we sympathized with his pain. Glenn, you are a hero, and we genuinely mean it.
The substantial amount of funny and grim moments on "Essential" was a perfect balance for covering such a real and severe topic as COVID-19. As always, Superstore knows just how to tackle realistic subjects that affect our world.
The episode ended with news we expected -- as Zephra's offices reopen, they are ready for Amy to start her new job in California officially.
But those last moments on "Essential" hint that Amy and Jonah's move is not set in stone. Despite Jonah's evident excitement in "starting their lives together," Amy seems hesitant. Frazzled, even.
Jonah would move time and space if he could for Amy, so it is no surprise he was always on board for California. Amy seemed to reciprocate, so we cannot help but wonder -- why does Amy look like she is having second thoughts?
Well, we will find out on Superstore Season 6 Episode 2, the 100th episode, and Amy Sosa's official send-off.
Hey, uh, I know you're probably busy, but a customer just bought us some beer, and we are celebrating. Or numbing the pain, I can't really tell which.Jonah
Let us hear from you, Fanatics!
What did you think of the Superstore Season Premiere? Did they do the pandemic justice? Are you excited for the 100th episode? What will convince Jonah to stay at Cloud 9? How do you think Amy and Jonah's final episode together will go down?
You can always watch Superstore online, right here, at TV Fanatic!
Sarah Novack is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.