How great is Superstore?

All six seasons of Superstore (2015–2021) are available to watch on Netflix. This January I watched the entire run and absolutely loved it. I’d hoped it would be a lightly amusing comedy; it turned out to be something far more profound.

Superstore is about the workers at Cloud 9, a Walmart-type store in St Louis, Missouri. The six seasons chart their romances and friendships, their battles with corporate headquarters, and their experiences of working in retail.

I enjoyed watching Superstore for two reasons. Firstly, the show is a very realistic portrayal of what it’s like to work in a poorly paid job with no employee benefits. Lack of maternity leave, low quality health insurance, and zero hour contracts all feature in the storylines. There’s a very good trade union story too.

Secondly, the characters in Superstore are just brilliant. The writers give them real emotional depth and vulnerability. And the actors are superb too. They’re all wonderful but I particularly loved Kaliko Kauahi as Sandra, Lauren Ash as Dina, Ben Feldman as Jonah, Colton Dunn as Garrett, Mark McKinney as Glenn, and Nichole Sakura as Cheyenne.

I don’t want to give a moment of the characters’ stories away to you. If you’ve never seen Superstore, you deserve to come to it with no spoilers. But I will say that I loved Sandra’s character development. Anyone who has ever been a pushover will relate to Sandra. I also liked the depiction of Dina as a strong, confident woman who doesn’t need to be liked.

I haven’t seen such a profound comedy since I watched Awkwafina is Nora from Queens. Awkwafina’s Nora is a directionless, mostly jobless twenty-something who is perfect just the way she is. The beauty of the comedy is that it shows how a person’s character matters more than their career identity. Superstore is Nora from Queen’s spiritual cousin. Watch both and you will feel all the better for it.

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