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Superstore - Employee App and Zephra Cares - Double Review: Our New Corporate Overlords

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I am back from vacation, with only half of my body sunburned rather than the traditional full body burn. Progress! So let's dive right into what I'm calling the "Getting to know our new overlords" portion of this season of Superstore by looking at the last two episodes.

These are actually pretty complimentary episodes for a double review. They both focus on how the Cloud Niners are adjusting to new owner Zephra, with (sometimes heavy-handed) social commentary on technology companies' problematic practices towards both employees and customers.

First we have "Employee App," where the Niners are required to download the Zephra employee app and keep their phones on them at all times. The app has bonuses such as the ability to earn badges and banners (which may or may not lead to actual prizes) and the audio book autobiography of Zephra CEO Moon narrated by "Bones" actress Emily Deschanel, whose quick voice cameo really sold the gag.

All is well, with the gang riffing in the break room enjoying unfettered access to their phones, until someone notices that the employee app is counting down the time they have left on their break. For the Cloud Niners, break time is less a set time but more of a feeling. Being monitored by corporate is a downer, especially when they figure out that whenever they enter the break room they're being timed. As Sayid so succinctly put it, it's GPS. This leads to the Niners trying to find an alternate break room, with little luck. The men's room smells like farts and outside is just too cold.

In other storylines, we have Amy dealing with Dina texting her too much, which was her own fault for introducing Dina to the joys of emojis. Amy ends up putting her on mute, which greatly offends Dina when she finds out. Turns out that Dina's anger was based on a cumulation of bad things happening to her over the past year, including her birds flying away, her dad being a let down and her lack of a boyfriend. As Amy and Dina chase down a teenager who is probably going to get high on chemicals that Glenn sold him, they hit a goose, which ends up being a very good thing. The veterinarian they take the goose to likes birds and Dina, which puts a smile on the assistant manager's face.

We also have Jonah trying to teach Garrett a lesson about the dangers of giving away too much personal information to tech companies by making him think that the company is monitoring his activities through the employee app. Sandra wants in on the prank, and together she and Jonah scare the bejeesus out of Garrett, who is also known as "Uncle Phil." Those of you who have seen the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air know what the joke is.

This is the face of someone enjoying being monitored by Big Brother.
In the next episode we have our Cloud Niners, led by Amy, getting ready to distribute some donated goodies to the residents of the local women's shelter as part of the Zephra Cares initiative. There is some debate about whether Zephra really cares or if the program is just public relations fluff. Jonah, no surprise, is on the more cynical end of things, but he's willing to put on the charm to get people to round up their purchases with the remainder also going to the women's shelter. Just as with the last episode Jonah and Sandra are paired up, with Sandra scandalized that Jonah would flirt with customers for charity. Jonah scoffs and says that he's just being nice, but his rebuttal takes a dent when a distinguished lady asks him out on a date. That's my code for Jonah accidentally hits on a MILF.

We also have a visit from Sandra's new husband, but it's not a social visit. Jerry is very angry that Jonah would tell his wife to flirt with other men for money. He hates it. But he does read magazines. Sandra got herself a catch there.

The main plot is centered around those goodie bags mentioned earlier. Glenn, sweet, stupid Glenn, ends up stealing several of the gift bags to give to Cheyenne and some of the other women employees at Cloud Nine who are having financial troubles ranging from being late on the rent to getting their heat cut off. As Garrett put it, Glenn stole from the very poor to give to the poor. The poop hits the fan when the ladies from the women's shelter arrive and instead of the goodie bags with hundreds of dollars of donated items in each they're stuck with bags full of grapes, tape and used hairbrushes. It's not a good look for Cloud 9, especially since a Zephra PR person is lurking around to profile Amy for the Zephra website.

A master criminal.
There was something very dismissive in how the Zephra representative treated Cheyenne and Amy when they said they weren't comfortable being on the website as part of a story about how Cloud Nine helps disadvantaged employees. Glenn asked earlier, is Zephra good or evil? Right now it's very hard to tell.

Odds and ends:

Favorite quote: "This cartoon thing you sent me, is it supposed to be you or a depressing aged up Dora?" Am I the only person who actually liked the Dora live action movie? I thought it was cute!

Favorite blink you you'll miss it moment: Glenn the Robot making a love connection with the bomb squad robot - so pure.

Either one works: Amy wondering about the "Greta is god" graffiti - Gerwig or Thunberg?

Favorite description of a character: Jonah as an "androgynous sex robot."

Totally forgot about this dude: Jeff is back and everyone is surprised he wasn't fired in the merger.

Thoughts on "Employee App," "Zephra Cares," Dora the Explorer or my vacation go below!

Just announced that America Ferrera is leaving as Amy. Thoughts go below. I'm shocked.

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