Superstore’s “Guns, Pills, and Birds” Is One of the Best Episodes of TV This Year
NBC’s Superstore is a show like no other: a workplace comedy that revolves around societal issues
This past Thursday, NBC aired the third episode in the second season of their workplace comedy, Superstore. This episode is titled “Guns, Pills, and Birds” and it manages to weave commentary on the gun debate, pre-marriage sex vs. religion, and the dichotomous treatment of animals vs. people (which FX’s Atlanta also recently commented on) all into one neat 22 minute package.
There are many great things about the show, but this is by far the best example of all its great elements coming together. Superstore is a workplace comedy, but it’s unlike other shows of the same genre that revolve around their workplace setting. Instead, the show revolves around social issues and topics the show wants to comment on, and the setting just happens to be Cloud 9, the box store where the show’s characters work.
Yes, a decent amount of the show’s humour is generated by the setting — customers refusing to leave after the store has closed, old men falling asleep on the sofas, customers dumping a pile on clothes on the counter on their way out of the change-room — but most of these occur in the vignettes the show throws in between scenes. You can tell episodes are primarily made by deciding what topics they’d like to touch on before figuring out how to weave those topics and comments into an episode.
This episode begins with Amy (American Ferrera) assigning Jonah (Ben Feldman) to the gun counter, which Jonah immediately objects to, citing his moral opposition to guns as the reason. This leads Glenn (Mark McKinney), the store manager, to give a speech on how he’d feel the same way if he had to sell morning afterpills, and, of course, the store sells morning afterpills. Both storylines then escalate until an open-carry protest breaks out and Glenn buys up the store’s stock of afterpills, all while a murder of crows invade the store.
This episode comes after two that address workers’ rights, a storyline that stemmed out of the store manager being fired for giving an employee paid maternity leave, and an immigration storyline has already been announced for the upcoming episodes. Superstore touches on societal issues in a way that isn’t heavy-handed. The cast is diverse, not only is race, but also age and privilege. On top of that, the show is just funny. This all ensures that each time you visit Cloud 9, you have a heavenly time.
Superstore airs at 8/7c on NBC before The Good Place.
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