Thursday, March 14, 2019

REVIEW: 'Superstore' - Amy, Jonah and Dina Create a Rivalry with Another Cloud 9 Store in 'Steps Challenge'

NBC's Superstore - Episode 4.11 "Steps Challenge"

Corporate introduces a friendly step-tracking challenge between Cloud 9 branches. Amy, Jonah and Dina create a fake rivalry to inspire Store #1217's laziest employees. But healthy competition gets increasingly chaotic when the fake rivalry becomes real.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of NBC's Superstore.

"Steps Challenge" was written by Bridget Kyle & Vicky Luu and directed by Todd Biermann

The moment that Amy, Jonah and Dina conspired to create a fake rivalry to motivate the store into taking corporate's steps challenge more seriously it became clear that it would quickly go awry. The effectiveness of this story comes from just how far the co-workers go because they are clueless about what's actually going on. Of course, the show does pass some of the blame off onto the minor recurring characters instead of someone the audience is suppose to care about. Marcus and Elias are the ones who spread hot deer urine all over the break room of this rival Cloud 9. That is so disgusting while conjuring up such a visceral image of destruction. As such, it's still very amusing and wonderful to watch. This isn't what Amy, Jonah and Dina were expecting at all. Dina actually does have a rivalry with the assistant manager at this other Cloud 9. She doesn't like how upbeat and motivational she is. That's not the way she views the requirements for doing this job. That's not something she wishes to share with her co-workers or explain all that much. Jonah and Amy are the only ones who take onto that idea and expand upon it. Of course, Jonah also realizes that all of this has the potential of going too far with some possibly committing actions they will come to regret. Dina and Amy don't have that moment of clarity until it is too late. Even then, Amy is the one who carries all of the blame. Dina is more than happy to throw her under the bus for how she inspired people to take action against this rival store. What starts out as a fake rivalry though eventually morphs into a real one. Glenn is completely oblivious to all of it as well. He doesn't wish to come across as too hostile in an email to the manager of this other store. That just allows Garrett to have fun messing with him by saying even the simplest of pleasantries can come across as too hostile. Glenn literally gets hurt time and time again trying to be upbeat and inspirational for this store. It's actually pretty hilarious to watch as he is unable to use the scooter that can allow him to continue walking around the store. He drives around in circles or slides backwards down a slope. He gets hurt again. As such, he's too caught up in his own drama to stop the store from being vandalized by Amy and Dina and the break room being destroyed by these employees from the rival store. Everyone ultimately does get into the competitive spirit. It is fascinating to watch just how easy it is for Amy to manipulate the people around her. She preys on Mateo's need to be seen as special in the eyes of corporate. Meanwhile, Dina can't motivate Garrett to take any of this seriously. Sure, it's ridiculous that a man in a wheelchair has to compete as well. But the show also points out that there is a wheelchair setting so that he has just as fair a shake as everyone else throughout the Cloud 9 stores. That proves that they are thinking of their employees in the abstract even though this watch comes with a list of things that the employees can't do with it. All of this was done in good fun as well. The prize is ultimately nothing too. Amy getting a meeting with the regional manager won't help her at all in moving up the corporate ladder. So, she compromised the values of those she works with for a complete lost. She didn't have to do any of this. That's an embarrassment that is well earned with some fun payoffs here.