‘Superstore’ 4×03 Review: “Toxic Work Environment”

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We’ve all been there. Where the place we work — the place that can sometimes be a second home to us — feels all wrong. A toxic workplace. Toxicity was the focal point in Superstore’s latest episode, where we explored toxic dynamics of different sorts: Fictional, Reality, and downright unusual.

It’s difficult to acclimate or function in an environment that feels toxic. Where you have to watch your back and work in an industry, like retail, that’s already miserable enough. Speaking as a former retail worker, sometimes the very thing that gets you through is your relationships with your coworkers. Time flies when you’re working with people you like. Time seems to drag for an eternity when you’re stuck with people you can’t stand.

That’s what’s made a show like Superstore, which is simplistic enough in its conception, a show that works so well. Because, yes, while it’s a spoof of a Walmart-like environment — and provides plenty of laughs at retail’s expense — at the end of the day it’s about these characters. Watching these characters’ relationships and what goes on behind the scenes is what makes this show so delightful and hilarious.

Toxic workplace? Not really how I would describe Cloud 9. Well, not for everyone.

So let’s take a look at the different “toxic” dynamics on display in “Toxic Work Environment”:


Amy and Jonah Sneak Around

NBC

Superstore, while hilariously out there and sometimes unrealistic, has its moments where it reminds us that these characters are just like us. Usually. Sometimes. Okay, not all of them, and not all the time.

But one storyline Superstore is tackling is the issue that comes with dating your coworker. Especially when you and said coworker have a history of being at each other’s throats. Oh, and not to mention that your intimate relations were livestreamed for the entire world to see. Including your coworkers.

Welcome to Amy and Jonah’s world. Where they, like us, understand how imperative it is for their Cloud 9 coworkers not to find out about them. If there’s ever a group that’s more extra and dramatic than that of Cloud 9, I’ve yet to see them. So who could fault Amy and Jonah for wanting to keep this under wraps? (Confession: I look forward to when they’re busted and everyone knows they’re dating and we get cutesy scenes and make-out sessions at work.)

I’d just like to take this moment to say how thrilled I am that Superstore is exploring Amy and Jonah’s romantic relationship. I’ve been hooked since the pilot when these two opposites just seemed to fit so perfectly. But then there were challenges. And obstacles. Like a husband. Then a girlfriend. And finally, a sex tape brought them together in more ways than one.

Amy and Jonah have an amazing chemistry and dynamic and history that has made their journey so delightful. The “will-they-won’t-they” worked as well as you could have it and presented fans some amazing moments. Not to mention that when it was revealed in the premiere that they were secretly dating I legit pterodactyl screamed. And if you know me, that’s not taken lightly.

I’m excited to see Amy and Jonah’s relationship develop this season. We know they’re going to face obstacles. We know one of those will be when their co workers inevitably find out about their relationship. Bring on the hilarity and heart.


Kelly Moves On

NBC

Honestly, the moment Superstore introduced Kelly as a romantic foil for Amy and Jonah, I knew she was a goner. Not an immediate goner, but that was the reason she was brought in. We all know it. And it became even more immediate when Jonah and Amy began growing closer romantically.

And it’s a shame, because Kelly became a character that we could all relate to. How we want so much to please others and have them like us; how it feels when we know they don’t; and to have the strength to keep trying.

In her final Superstore episode (as of now), Kelly made the decision to move on from Cloud 9. Well, this Cloud 9. She elected to transfer to the Fenton location for what I can imagine is a number of reasons. Probably the biggest was how Kelly never really felt like a part of this family. And when Glenn is preaching how this is a family; how we all know this is a family, when a character doesn’t feel a part of that, it’s time to move on.

And Kelly did that with grace and confidence. She understood that she had to do this for herself. She learned that she has what it takes to try again. So long, Kelly. We’ll remember you fondly. And not just for being Jonah’s ex-girlfriend. For reminding us that we all have an inner strength.


Sandra v. Carol

NBC

Somewhere between Cheyenne’s wedding reception and the tornado that ripped a new one in Cloud 9, the infamous feud between Sandra and Carol began. And it began how you never want a feud to begin: Over a guy. And while this entire exchange is used as a means to entertain and leave you asking, “what just happened,” it’s using this as an example as to why feuds over men are immature and ridiculous.

Carol set her sights on Jerry after learning that Sandra and Jerry — who are happy and in love — are moving in together. There’s a long history with this love triangle. Sandra liked Jerry first. But Carol dated Jerry first. Then Jerry broke up with Carol and Sandra started dating Jerry. Then Jerry was in a coma after the tornado and Sandra may or may not have tried to kill Sandra during the tornado by not letting her into her safe room. But let’s just say, there’s a history here.

There was an argument that since Carol technically dated Jerry first, that she should have him back. Which makes no sense. And their coworkers agree. Which makes no sense. And so they flip a coin. Which makes no sense. And when Sandra loses, she accepts and breaks up with Jerry and Carol has him. Which, again, makes no sense.

But as I said, Superstore is smart about how it presents certain messages. And the message is loud and clear here: Fights over men are stupid. You’re better than that.


Superstore airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC.

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