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Superstore - Viral Video & Golden Globes Party - Double Review

Is it just me, or did the Superstore hiatus feel a lot longer than it actually was? (Maybe that’s just because life piled up, and I was unable to write a proper review for the past two weeks.) Nevertheless, let’s get into the reviews!

Viral Video

Dina: “I only use the internet for two things: buying birdseed, watching porn”
Superstore returned right after the New Year with “Viral Video”, reminding us that there are some things (like reckless social media posting, which I, too, am guilty of) that we should have left in 2017. I can’t help but once again wonder if the Superstore writers are clairvoyants who use comedy to ease our rage at humanity for twenty minutes a week, since the timing of “Viral Video” to coincide with the Logan Paul scandal seemed a little too perfect. Whatever they are, the Superstore writers returned well with “Viral Video”. Sure, it wasn’t Superstore’s strongest episode to date, but it was fun.

The cold open featured the return of Jeff (Michael Bunin), who came to talk to the Cloud 9 workers about proper social media usage and one of their coworkers farting in a cup. I still don’t know what the show wants to do with Jeff. He was a big part of Mateo’s (Nico Santos) arc, but that was in the past. He doesn’t leap off of the screen like some of the recurring cast members, and if his genuine boring-ness was supposed to be the joke, I don’t think I’m really laughing.

I guess the writers tried to compensate with that this episode for giving Jeff an earring, though the joke would have worked better if I could have actually seen the earring. Jeff was almost exclusively framed in medium shots, which made his earring invisible to me.

The cold open was fine, and it provided a nice segue into two of the episode’s main plots. First, Kelly (Kelly Stables) asked whether her “edgy” Instagram was okay, leading to her coworkers checking them out.

Amy (America Ferrera) doesn’t understand how Kelly’s videos are entertaining (I’m with you, girl). Meanwhile, her coworkers think Kelly is one of the most fascinating people in the world. Amy argues that she could be more interesting, and she, too, could make a video that garners a lot of views. This leads to a bet with Jonah (Ben Feldman). Amy bets that she could get 100 views on a video, and if she does, then Jonah has to clean the store’s rat traps. If she doesn’t, then she has to clean the rat traps.

The bet and Amy’s videos provided a lot of humor. I liked seeing the character of Amy go outside her comfort zone and do something different. I especially loved the rapping. It was so bad, that it was good.

In the end, Amy won the bet with a video eschewing rapping and outlandish antics for a rant on social media culture… with rats in the background. The video gained Amy fifteen thousand views and a victory. Sadly, it was a pyrrhic victory, as Jeff had to be called in to give another talk about internet usage.

At least Amy didn’t have to clean the rat traps though, because they ended up being cleaned by Jonah and Kelly. While providing humor, this episode’s Amy-plot provided another positive progression toward the Amy-Jonah relationship. Though I tend to hate jealousy storylines in TV (most aren’t done very well), I have faith in the Superstore writers. What they’ve shown so far and in this episode plays the jealousy well without truly compromising any character for the sake of audience reaction, and that makes me happy.

While Amy decides to up her social media game, the talk convinces Dina (Lauren Ash) to do the opposite. Despite Jeff’s insistence that the talk is enough and that the employees can self-police, Dina says that she’ll go through all of her coworkers’ profiles, because “why self police when you can have actual police?”.

However, Dina is expectedly clueless about social media, and she goes to resident teen Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) to help her out. What begins as Cheyenne and Dina looking at their coworkers’ profiles together ends up being a day of bonding for the two. I really liked seeing the two interact. Superstore has never put them together before, and the two had an interesting dynamic that I would like to see explored in later episodes. I was sad to see the friendship come to a sort-of end, as Cheyenne told Dina that she enabled the coworker to fart in a cup, and Dina, being Dina, had to write Cheyenne up. Oh well, here’s hope that they’ll have some moments in later episodes.

The episode’s last plot had nothing to do with social media at all. Instead, Glenn (Mark McKinney) discovers than an employee had been signing up fake people for rewards cards in order to get money. Mateo is the culprit, yet refuses to admit it. Instead, Mateo continues lying to get Glenn off of his back.

The plot was great and unexpected. Every time Mateo thought Glenn had believed his lies, Glenn came back around and countered Mateo’s lies with truth and logic until Mateo finally admitted his crimes. I loved seeing the soft and gullible Glenn have a backbone for once. The moments where Glenn stands his ground are rare, but they’re always great. There’s something ironic about it that I find really cool.

“Viral Video” was a pretty good episode. The writers were able to subvert some expectations of the characters and plots really well while still keeping the integrity of Superstore, and I hope to see this kind of smart deconstruction more.

Golden Globes Party

Jerusha: “At least you’re not on Dateline!”
While most of Superstore’s episodes are placed inside the eponymous store, “Golden Globes Party” bucked the trend by having most of the action occur in or around Amy’s home.

Only the cold open took place in Cloud 9 itself. During the cold open, the coworkers are in the break room discussing their yearly golden globes party. Amy holds it every year, but they all assume that it will be somewhere different because Amy’s life is “in shambles”. Amy protests this and says that she will hold a great party this year, even without Adam, segues into the action of the episode.

Dina arrives three hours early to help Amy prepare for the party, but even that doesn’t help. Amy’s TV fails to work, and the meal that she told everyone she would barbecue ended up being a total bust. Amy tries as hard as she can to get everyone to stay and have fun, even going so far as to let Glenn and Jerusha (Kerri Kenney) have sex in her home. However, all her efforts end up failing, and the guests leave. However, just after everyone leaves, the TV begins working, leading Dina to remark that the shambles of Amy’s life are putting themselves back together.

Because of the episode’s framing device of a Golden Globes party, I found that the episode’s humor was more focused on individual character moments than the usual highly defined A-, B-, or C- plots.
I really liked Dina in this episode. While in some episodes, she can skew a bit abrasive for my taste, I was a big fan of her in this episode. Dina’s abrasiveness comes from her strict ride-or-die nature for everything (from the few people she likes to the rules she enforces), and I liked seeing her break her strict veganism in a moment of selflessness to help out Amy. It was a really cool moment, and Lauren Ash portrayed Dina’s pained reactions at eating Amy’s good perfectly.

It was interesting to see Superstore try to do a little more with Kelly’s character this episode. She spent most of the episode severely out of place, and a lot of solid humor was derived from that. However, I do find it weird that Kelly being out of place comes right after everyone was a fan of her in “Viral Video”. If we ignore that, Kelly’s characterization in this episode was organic and appreciated. I enjoy how the Superstore writers didn’t try to shoehorn her into the group dynamic right away, instead letting her ease into the group (and by extension, letting the audience ease up on her). I also enjoy how her status as Jonah’s love interest isn’t dominating her whole character, especially because we all know that Jonah and Amy are endgame and Kelly is just a bump in the road. I hope the Superstore writers will further Kelly’s character in the future and turn her into someone I can truly root for.

After a long wait, we finally got to meet Glenn’s wife, Jerusha! I came into the episode having no expectations, and thus I was pleasantly surprised at Jerusha. It was easy to see why she and Glenn were a good match, and I felt that she had some of the best scenes of the episode. I loved how she gave Amy a hummingbird and called Kelly a squirrel. Her comments on divorce and marriage were all super-weird, but pretty fun.

One of my favorite gags of this episode was Justine’s (Kelly Schumann) inability to parallel park. It was funny and relatable, and I’m pretty sure that despite her difficulties, she had the best time at Amy’s Golden Globes party. (After all, she get a whole package of cupcakes to herself, while everyone else got microwaved meat).

Sandra’s boyfriend, Jerry (Chris Grace), is out of his coma! I found his appearance at the party to be very sweet. His dialogue, though little and stunted (as expected), provided some nice, light moments that elevated the episode.

What did you think of “Viral Video” and “Golden Globes Party”? Would you have pulled a Mateo and made up Martin Nestle? Are you a fan of Jerusha? What was your favorite drink name at Amy’s house? Share your answers in the comments below!