'Superstore' 4×01 Review: About That Livestream

School is back in session, which means that our gang at Cloud 9 returned with a hilarious vengeance following Sex Scandal 2018. Good to see that Back to School is pretty much hell in television reality or our reality. But Superstore’s return almost makes this whole Back to School hell worth it.
Cliffhangers can be a bitch. Summer hiatus can be a bitch. Especially when your ship is hooking up in the photo lab while the entire world watches it unfold, and you have to wait six months to see what the hell happens next. You can’t play with a fangirl’s heart like that.
Given that the love story that is Amy and Jonah has stolen the hearts of every employee at Cloud 9, it’s almost like their favorite show is returning! Quite literally. Following Amy and Jonah having sex in the photo lab went viral via livestream, they were suspended for behavior that is frowned upon at Cloud 9. But lucky for us, they’ve taken pity on our poor, unfortunate souls and allowed them to return to work just in time for the legit aftermath.
Superstore’s season 4 premiere picks up four months after Amy and Jonah’s livestream, but it actually feels more like it’s picked up immediately given the pair haven’t been working at Cloud 9 since their hookup.
Superstore is legitimately one of television’s smartest comedies as it manages to blend humor with purposeful storytelling and manages to address real world issues, like the #MeToo movement, in a way that isn’t in your face but shines a meaningful light on it. Yes, Superstore is a comedy. But it manages to address topics like consent and sexism in a way that isn’t making fun of it nor is it downplaying it. We could all use some more smart television in our lives.
Let’s take a look at what was happening at Cloud 9 in “Back to School.”

The Livestream That Rocked The Cloud 9 World

SUPERSTORE — “Back to School” Episode 401 — Pictured: (l-r) Kaliko Kauahi as Sandra, Nico Santos as Mateo, Nichole Bloom as Cheyenne, Kelly Stables as Kelly, Lauren Ash as Dina — (Photo by: Eddy Chen/NBC)

Amy and Jonah’s livestream sex tape is the talk of Cloud 9, as it should be. That kind of drama just doesn’t happen at the workplace…even a fictional one! But it’s the stuff of shipper dreams, as the employees of Cloud 9 proved. They want to know the kind of details only present in fanfic.
Four months. Four months have gone by since Amy and Jonah’s sexual escapade in the photo lab went viral across all Cloud 9s. Consider ourselves lucky that a four-month suspension was the punishment. And it actually worked out really conveniently storyline wise.
Amy expects everyone to be all up in her and Jonah’s business — “Are we in love?” “Are we sneaking back to the photo lab again?” But the reaction from everyone — including when she makes unfortunate word choices — prompts nothing but an uncomfortable silence that is heightened with the thin-lipped tight smiles that the employees are facing. But Amy soon learns that it’s not out of respect that they’re not mentioning her and Jonah.
Which leads us to the biggest impact of Sex Livestream 2018…

The Double Standard

SUPERSTORE — “Back to School” Episode 401 — Pictured: (l-r) Jon Barinholtz as Marcus, Steve Agee as Isaac, Ben Feldman as Jonah — (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

Turns out everyone has thoughts on Amy and Jonah having sex — and it’s as sexist as you’d think. Everyone thinks Amy’s embarrassed over the matter, but the guys are busy glorifying Jonah for sleeping with Amy. Sexism. Everywhere. But I’ll let Amy have the floor:
“For men, sex is an accomplishment. For women, it’s like I got taken advantage of.”
Ding, ding, ding.
Superstore addressed a very real issue when it comes to men and women and sex. There’s this double standard that men are praised for their sexual habits where women are unfairly and harshly judged — if not looked down upon and embarrassment targeted their way.
But perhaps my favorite apart — aside from Amy calling everyone out for their bullshit — was Jonah making it a point to tell these sexist pigs that they’re making it sound like “having sex with Amy was something I did to her” rather than what they choose to do together. More men standing up for women, please and thank you.

“Consent is Pretty Much The Whole Point”

SUPERSTORE — “Back to School” Episode 401 — Pictured: (l-r) Ben Feldman as Jonah, Mark McKinney as Glenn — (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

You have to love Superstore for how it slides in meaningful dialogue when addressing topics of importance, like consent. This show never has to try to force a conversation to happen. It lets it happen organically.
As the Cloud 9 employees were grilling Amy and Jonah, the topic of intent and consent came up. Jonah corrected Glenn, who at first said that it’s not consent, but intent, by saying that “intent is irrelevant. Consent is pretty much the whole point.”
Consent has been a topic that’s more important than ever as it’s dominated the mainstream with the #MeToo movement. It’s something that isn’t talked about enough, but when a show can drop a line like that, it’s a nice reminder that it’s something that — even in a totally uncomfortable discussion — is important. And let’s not undermine the fact that it was Jonah, a man, that made the remark. A reminder that consent isn’t something you should have to learn. Consent is about respect.
Now, Superstore isn’t a show that’s going to get super political on you. But here and there it manages to plant little things that you find yourself nodding vigorously at. This was one of those moments. A reminder that this show isn’t just special because of its humor. It’s special because of how respectful and intelligent it is when it comes to our world.

Amy and Jonah Are A Go, Folks!

SUPERSTORE — “Back to School” Episode 401 — Pictured: (l-r) America Ferrera as Amy, Ben Feldman as Jonah — (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

Not gonna lie, I was tempted when I first watched this premiere screener to fast forward to the end and see what was in store for Amy and Jonah. After three years of almost kisses and then kisses and then having sex in a photo lab while the entire world watched, the universe has been pulling Amy and Jonah together.
And then it pulled them apart, as the two were both suspended four months. When they returned, they tried to act as if nothing had changed. Putting on an act is one thing. But the real question was: Had things changed?
Well, we had to wait until the final minute of the premiere for the answer, which in three words that included “Mexican” and “Italian” and the suggestion of dinner, managed to drag a pterodactyl scream of delight from my body.
I’m gonna go pass out now.

Other Thoughts

  • Good to see that Amy has kept up her tradition of fake name tags even at her temp job.
  • Truck driver Glenn is someone I can now never get out of my head.
  • Black Friday is only a day. Back to School is an entire week.
  • “Why aren’t you guys together now?” Sandra speaking for all of us.
  • Superstore’s cutaway shots continue to be the most underrated elements of brilliance on this show.
  • “He’s such a thirsty bitch.” Words we’ve all been saying for quite a while in the real world.
  • “That’s sexist.” Also words women have been saying for years to people that don’t actually understand that what they’re saying is sexist.
  • “If you’re J-Bone, I want to be A…hole.” Um, no ya don’t Amy.
  • I’m still salty over Myrtle’s firing, to be honest.
  • Don’t worry about the kids getting high off markers. Just make sure the marker doesn’t dry out 😉
  • Hi, person named Noam that doesn’t look old enough to stay home by himself let alone work at Cloud 9.
  • Jonah defies all male stereotypes, and it’s refreshing as hell.
  • “You act like sex is something I did to Amy.”
  • Way too distracted over the dismembered mannequin parts in a shopping cart in the photo lab.
  • Um, did that 10 year old just proposition Amy?
  • Dina, always a way with words.
  • “That’s like playing the Super Bowl with…fewer football players than a football team needs.” Oh, Jonah.
  • I live for these break room meetings.
  • “Are you still in love with each other?” “What a stupid waste of a first question.” OH-MY-GOD.
  • Oh, it gets better. Here comes the orgasm talk.
  • This Q&A session regarding Amy and Jonah’s sexual encounter is the perfect combination of hilarious, uncomfortable, and inappropriate. But Superstore can do it.
  • Kelly is the ray of sunshine we all want to be.
  • “I delegated, I problem solved, and I rallied the troops.” Sounds like me on Mondays before the stress becomes too much.
  • Virtual Myrtle has me wondering if this is the future of retail.
  • “Mexican or Italian?” Who knew three words can pull that kind of pterodactyl scream out of my body!

Superstore airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC.

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