Floating Away from Cloud 9 – The Last Farewell of Superstore

In this edition of the INTERVUE, we are saying goodbye to NBC’s Superstore and the people who meet and greet us at the Cloud 9 Superstore. For six amazing seasons on NBC, we were treated to the lives of the men and women of the perfect comedy for the less than perfect times, especially in the last twelve months where essential workers are the true stars of the world.

As we get ready to laugh and cry for the final sixty minutes of tonight’s series finale, I had the chance to talk with the Executive Producers and the amazingly talented cast of this wonderful sitcom!

To start the festivities are Gabe Miller & Jonathan Green, the Co-showrunners/Executive Producers of Superstore and I asked them “The show tackle social issues over the course of six seasons especially with this season had a COVID-19 episode. How were you able to keep the message of what’s going on in the world and make it lighthearted for the audience?

Jonathan Green: The one thing we talked about a few times is that we have the benefit that we’re not a medical show where you’re seeing the worst effects of COVID all the time. So we were able to keep COVID alive in the season but in ways that we can deal with the comedy or the lighter moments that you find from living through a pandemic rather than actually living through the pandemic.

Gabe Miller: The customers’ bad behavior and people freaking out, you know that side of it.

JG: You know that’s a big part of it. You know, there was one episode that solely focused on the pandemic at the beginning of the season but we did see it as a backdrop to our entire season and it even plays into the finale in that the store might be on the road to closing anyway but COVID had accelerated that for stores that driven more people online to online shopping.

GM: I was going to say that we were also able to get comedy from corporate’s response to COVID or lack of response to COVID which isn’t keeping with the theme of our show and how the corporate side of things don’t always line up to the actual workers who are there having to do the work day to day and their concerns are always not about that.

In the first of three cast interviews, I talked to Kaliko Kauahi (Sandra), Nichole Sakura (Cheyenne) & Mark McKinney (Glenn) and asked them “Over the past six seasons, Superstore has managed to portray the plight of minimum-wage workers with an all-star comedic ensemble, now that we been in a pandemic for over a year and essential workers are the lifeline we have now. Do you feel that the show provides not only comfort to these workers but also praises them at the same time?

Kaliko Kauahi (Sandra): I certainly hope so. I think just by portraying what we feel is the truth of everyone’s situation including the people that work in the stores have been working every day while we get to stay at home. I hope that they find comfort in it and they can relate to it. I hope we bring their stories to life. I am always surprised how much what they write is actually true. People come up to me in the stores and say “that happened yesterday”. It blows my mind because I’m like “That was bonkers. That was a crazy thing we shot but if you say it happened then we are reflecting your real life”. I’m really proud of that.

We are coming up on the final three episodes of this amazing comedy. If you sum up in one word your entire experience, what would it be?

Nichole Sakura (Cheyenne): One Word!?!

Ok, it can be a few words, let’s go with a few words.

KK: Life-changing.

NS: Yeah, I mean personally, definitely life-changing. I don’t know it just feels like a big anthology or something. Like six seasons, I mean it’s so rare now.

Mark McKinney (Glenn): Satifiscationlovable.

Next, I talked to Nico Santos (Mateo) and Colton Dunn (Garrett) and asked them “Is there a character asides from their own or a castmember they can relate to closely after six crazy years being with them?”

Nico Santos (NIS): We’re all so close, that’s the thing. It’s like we are really close. We hang out all the time after work. Even in the pandemic, we are sorta in our pods. We would like to see each other on base camp and hang out.

Colton Dunn (CD): I would say Mark is one of my favorite characters. I don’t know if I relate to him or what. His stuff was always out of the left field. At one point, everybody was kinda quirky on this show but at one point Mar’s Glenn would say that when he takes a shower, he poops in the shower and then stamps it down the toilet and this was like a cannon thing for his character and you know to me that’s just hilarious.

Then as far as personally connecting to characters, obviously with Garrett I had a personal connection with and the other closest one would have been one of our newest characters Nia who is played by Franchesca (Ramsey). Nia is in a lot of ways like Garrett in that she is kinda taking in this weird situation with these weird people and is not scared to call it out for what it is.

NIS: I love Sandra and obviously Cheyenne – Cheyteo forever, but I do love Sandra. I do think that I relate to her this mostly because I tend to be quiet sometimes and then I have to switch to the point where it’s like “Why do I feel people are taking advantage of me” and I’m just like I am not going to put up with it and Sandra is the same way. She started off as a doormat and then gets to the point where she’s not going to take it anymore. I mean it is like a rage. So, I can definitely relate to that.

If you can sum up your entire six seasons of Superstore into one word, what would it be?

NIS: Joy, it been a joy in every turn. It’s just like the people the type of work we were doing, just so laughter. It was a joy to work there every single day.

CD: That is such a tough one, one word for the whole thing. I would have to say for me for the whole six years, the way it worked it out, the only word I can think of is thankful.

Finally, we wrapped up the day with Ben Feldman (Jonah) and Lauren Ash (Dina) and I asked the two “What is the one thing that you will take away from this experience after six amazing seasons?

Ben Feldman (BF): I got a jacket that says “Superstore” on it. (Lauren laughs) Does that Count?

Yeah, it counts!

BF: No I’ll take… look I used, Lauren, did too. Look first and foremost, these people are now family. The people that you guys are talking to today. The people that are in the opening credits, these are now family and will be for life. Then it’s obviously the number one thing we’ll all take away I think except for Colton since Colton doesn’t like anybody.

I think understanding a show and television in general from a more zoomed out perspective, from a behind-the-scenes backstage perspective. For Lauren and I and particularly Mark as well, for me, I directed a few and Lauren wrote. It is being able to zoom out. When you’re acting, it’s kinda like a swim meet. You’re aware of everyone else but you cant see what everybody’s doing. You’re really focused on what you’re doing and making sure of trying to keep your head above water but writing and directing is like being in the lifeguard chair watching and you get to see how incredible these people are how the sausage is made to introduce a completely different metaphor that’s useless in this answer. So that what I have to say about that.

Lauren Ash (LA): The number one thing and I think I said this over the past six years are that as an actor, you have to go in and do a lot of different jobs, and usually those jobs last a very short amount of time and you make varying connections to varying degrees with the people and stuff like that but you can be on shows with people and have a great time and the show would be fine and it runs or may not but once in a while I think and this is what I learn in Superstore, once in a while you get one where stars align and it’s just special like it really is. It’s not to say that I will never have fun on a set again, but it’s just a special one.

From the very first day, the very first table read, it was just like this is different. Everyone gets along, everyone is so funny. There are no weak links, there’s no common enemy. There are some casts who will like try and find one person that’s like “Oh that person is the bad guy.” There was none of that. You know we got to improvise like Mark and me especially and Colton too and they use it. It became something that was bigger than the amazing accomplishment of booking a network job.   It became a true creative collaboration where it felt like the funniest joke won no matter who comes up with it and we were all working on this thing together with people that we genuinely love. I just don’t think those come around probably that many times in a career. So that’s the thing I take away.

Well, you two are blessed to be on an amazing show. One of the rarest comedies to last this long.

LA: Yeah, you know the way that TV is moving who knows how many more that we will have last this long. It’s not lost on me anyway that it was again such a special piece of time.

BF: Yes six seasons and also, for the most part, to do twenty-two episodes during a lot of those seasons. There is no way any of us will experience something to that degree again.

Thank you for six amazing seasons and as they say, the store is now closing 🙁 You can see all the episodes for free at NBC.com or on the streaming services Hulu & Peacock