Thursday, October 4, 2018

REVIEW: 'Superstore' - Jonah and Amy Return to Cloud 9 With a New Dynamic in 'Back to School'

NBC's Superstore - Episode 4.01 "Back to School"

On their first day back from suspension, Amy and Jonah steel themselves for a barrage of jokes and snide comments about their sex video. Jeff goes to extreme lengths to win back Mateo.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of NBC's Superstore

"Back to School" was written by Jonathan Green and directed by Matt Sohn

After three seasons of heavily teasing their coupling, Jonah and Amy finally had sex at the end of the third season finale. It was such a shocking moment that had the added horror of it being broadcast to all Cloud 9 stores throughout the world. It's perfectly reasonable that they would face consequences for their actions. But that mostly explains how they spent the months in between the seasons. Four months have passed since that moment. Amy and Dina are now extremely pregnant and ready to give birth at a moment's notice. The show also seems to be suggesting that Amy and Jonah haven't talked since they had sex. That's the mentality on display with Glenn. He believes he has to wear a disguise when visiting Amy every night at her temp job during this suspension. He doesn't comprehend that they could just have a normal friendship outside of work. That's the way this show has always explored its connections amongst the characters. They are co-workers. This is the only time they spend together. When they aren't at the store, they really don't hang out at all. That's the environment they are in. This is just a job. A job where a lot of ridiculous things happen. Of course, the show ultimately proves that not to be true for Jonah and Amy either. The premiere ends with the reveal that they are actually dating now. However, they are choosing to keep it a secret. Even though they met through work, they don't want to be talked about as the couple all of the time. And yes, the show runs the risk of that being the only thing that can define the storytelling moving forward. That's not necessarily a bad thing. The show has earned being able to explore the two of them as a couple. A big change needed to happen. They were too static for too long. They kept going back and forth on who was interested in the other while the other was oblivious. Of course, all of this also ties into a really unfortunate and awkward conversation that defines harassment training for the employees. Amy attacks the double standard of people being afraid to talk with her about sex with Jonah while the men championing him for what he did. She wants the world to know that she enjoys sex as well. It was good. She isn't embarrassed or ashamed about it at all. But even that seems confusing to the men around her in the workplace. They see that as a reason to bluntly ask her for sex. It's ridiculous and horrifying. It's all building to the moment where Jonah and Amy are willing to answer any questions about their encounter in the photo lab. They want this to be the last that anyone mentions it. They give everyone the freedom to ask whatever question they want with no judgment or stigma attached. They just want the same courtesy of it being dropped afterwards. And yes, it would be nice if the season immediately moves forward and focuses on other things. It would help ensure that Amy and Jonah as a couple doesn't consume the entire story. But it doesn't seem like that's going to be a problem because there is still plenty of time spent here with Jeff trying to win Mateo back and Glenn being confused by the rules of the #MeToo and Time's Up era. Both of those situations are completely in character. They are oblivious to the changing world. They are rightfully laughed at as well - even though the show also enjoys the freedom of the conversation in the break room.