Friday

Sitcom Realism Nitpick: Superstore

I feel no shame in admitting that I really love Superstore, the sitcom starring America Ferrera, Ben Feldman, Mark McKinney and a great ensemble cast. The show centers around a crew that works at Cloud 9, a big box store in St. Louis. The show was created by Justin Spitzer, who was a writer on The Office for years

The first season was good, but in its second season I think the show has really found its footing. The Olympics episode was really entertaining and the election episode was hilarious. And I say this well aware of how hard it is to make an episode around an election funny and not political, but they managed. Also the Good Friday episode was great.

I do have to say that while on the one hand last week's episode "Super Hot Store" which was written by Joe Barrasas was funny and well-acted, it did fail a pretty basic test of what I like to think of as, this just isn't at all how a workplace operates.

Now I am aware that most sitcoms - and indeed, this show - is not how most workplaces operate. For good reason. But this one just stuck out for me.

The thermostat in the store is malfunctioning and so everyone is hot and irritable. It leads to a lot of really funny scenes, but here's the problem. If this happened in winter, it wouldn't play out like this. The warehouse part of the store is less insulated than the rest of the store. Let's be honest, only employees are there. Plus of course the garage doors are there and opening and closing all day as shipments arrive. Therefore the warehouse part would be reasonably temperate - caught between the cold outdoors and the sweltering store.

If anything the warehouse workers would be so used to working in layers in the cold that they'd either be celebrating the warm temperatures or freaking out.

But really the fact that the warehouse is nice would mean that they would keep the doors open. Which means that the warehouse crew would refuse to deliver anything onto the floor because of the brutal temperatures, engaging in their own work stoppage. And the crew of the floor would find any excuse to go into the back - because of course with Dina they would need a reason as to why they were going into the warehouse.

For example a customer would ask for something and ask if there's more or a different size or something like that and ask - or sometimes demand - that the employee go check "the back." Now whenever I was asked this, I would walk into the back room, hang out for a bit, get a drink of water, chat with another employee and then walk out to say, "nope, sorry."

I keep picturing each employee coming up ever more elaborate reasons to go into the back room and the warehouse staff coming up with ever more elaborate reasons as to why they can't work on the floor and just how much of the staff can lounge around in the back room together until Dina and Glenn's noses. And then of course things spiral out of control and, well, you get the idea.

Having said all that, I did really like the Super Hot Store episode. Clearly I just worked in stores where we, um, tried not to do so much work.

(BTW if I wrote this up as an outline...do you think I could get a job writing for the show...? Asking for a friend...)

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