Friday, April 26, 2019

REVIEW: 'Superstore' - Jonah Keeps Embarrassing Himself During Emma's Quinceañera in 'Quinceañera'

NBC's Superstore - Episode 4.17 "Quinceañera"

Jonah struggles to find his place at Amy's daughter Emma's quinceañera. Dina proves very popular with some teenage boys. Cheyenne and Mateo are obsessed with seeing Amy cry.

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.

"Quinceañera" was written by Justin Shanes and directed by Rebecca Asher

Cringe humor has been a quality of this show many times in the past. It has just never been a personal preference for me that best defines the humor of this world and these characters. And so, a lot of Emma's quinceañera revolves around how Jonah continues to embarrass himself as he tries to fit in. He doesn't want things to be weird. He just keeps saying and doing the worst possible things at any given moment. He is the one making a big deal about how strange it is to be at this celebration. But it's also weird that many of Amy's Cloud 9 co-workers are at the quinceañera. Sure, there was the time when Emma worked at the store part-time. And yet, that's never really been a consistent source for story. Instead, the season has prioritized Amy becoming manager. As such, she can suddenly give her daughter this extravagant celebration even though it's mostly about the extended family telling Emma to protect her virtue. That's annoying and patronizing in so many ways. It may purely be reactionary to the story of how Emma was conceived as well with Amy and Adam being careless teenagers. Emma has probably already learned that lesson though. The family just wants to keep pointing out to her that if she follows the same path as her mother she will eventually become a divorced woman currently dating the person who is making this big event so awkward. Things are much more complicated than that though. Amy actually is a good role model. Sure, she's still finding her way through the world and dealing with parenthood all over again. But she has gone after what she wants and is happy for doing so. She is glad that she has become the manager of the store and is dating Jonah. She loves him despite how awkward he is being throughout this entire evening. He just wants to be seen as someone who is liked by the family. He doesn't want to replace anyone or feel entitled to join simply because he's dating Amy. His heart is in the right place when it comes to trying to help Emma after she accidentally gets too high. That is perfectly normal. It plays as a typical teenage mistake that shouldn't be a big deal. Sure, Jonah still calls attention to the fact and doesn't realize that he should tell Amy what's going on before the big father-daughter dance. But he too is figuring his way through all of this. People may be constantly mocking him and having fun at his expense but he is learning how to be a part of this family. Of course, everyone is acting a little inappropriately at this quinceañera. Amy is proud of what she could put together. Meanwhile, Adam is feeling insecure and already making promises that he'll cover the expenses of Emma's eventual wedding. Elsewhere, Mateo and Cheyenne are suddenly obsessed with seeing Amy cry. It's a silly storyline that draws attention to them instead of the emotional moments happening for Amy. It also builds to Cheyenne just kicking Amy which only makes her angry. And then, the audience is once again simply laughing at Glenn's expense because he sees everything at this party as a symbol for Latin culture even though it's just spicy food, a chocolate fountain and kids flossing on the dance floor. And finally, both Garrett and Dina are encouraging of teenage boys' objectification of women's bodies. It's wrong and the show absolutely knows that. But it also wants the characters to feel uncomfortable which it doesn't always succeed in doing in a way that also addresses these concerns in a genuine way.