Follow TV Tropes


Series / Superstore

Go To
From left to right: Garrett, Mateo, Jonah, Amy, Glenn, Cheyenne and Dina.

"Tomorrow is gonna be just like today, and I know that because today is just like yesterday."
Amy, "Pilot"

Superstore is an American Work Com single-camera television sitcom starring America Ferrera (who also serves as a producer) and Ben Feldman. The series was created by Justin Spitzer, who also serves as an executive producer. It follows a group of employees working at a fictional big-box store and Expy of Walmart called "Cloud 9" set in St. Louis, Missouri.

The series debuted on November 30, 2015 on NBC. It aired Season 3 in 2018 and was renewed for a fourth, which premiered in October 2018. It was renewed for its fifth season in 2019.


Tropes used in this series include:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Dina to Jonah
    • Ultimately subverted, as soon as she realizes that Jonah doesn't reciprocate her feelings, she backs off and moves on.
  • Aborted Arc: The "Amy taking college classes" plotline fades away in Season 3.
  • Acrofatic: Cheyenne shows off her dance moves in "All-Nighter". She's not "fat" so much as "heavily pregnant", but the comedic results are the same.
  • Ambiguously Brown:
    • In "Shots and Salsa", Glenn insists on having a Hispanic employee sell the salsa. One of the people he volunteers for the job is Mateo... who is Filipino.
    • Cheyenne is white/Japanese biracial, as is her actress.
    • Sandra gets mistaken for a foreigner as Glenn is encouraging employees to root for their home countries in "Olympics". She tries to explain that she's from Hawaii, but is ignored as usual.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Jonah looks Jewish (he's played by Ben Feldman after all) and has a Hebrew first name. Dina even throws out a guess that he is. However, he neither confirms nor denies this and during the holiday episodes, he never mentions any family traditions.
    • Confirmed in "Spring Cleaning". Glenn asks him if Jewish people like snow and Jonah, a bit taken aback, responds, "Some of us do."
  • Advertisement:
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Adam to Amy - "Would you have even married me if we hadn't gotten pregnant?" Followed by...
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Amy to Adam - "Would you have even asked?"
  • Asian Airhead: Cheyenne is half-Japanese and not the brightest bulb in the box, but still very sweet and kind. Mateo is Filipino, and while not at Cheyenne's level of ditz is still very catty.
  • Bait-and-Switch: From the episode "Mannequin"
    Dina: "Look, I guess you just have to ask yourselves, do you want your child raised in a home with loaded handguns laying around? Or do you want your child raised by Glenn?"
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Amy can be an unbelievable bitch to Jonah sometimes, but it's clear that it's at least partly because she's attracted to him. For his part, Jonah can't help but participate in their back-and-forth for the same reason. It's worth noting that literally everyone at work believes that Amy and Jonah should - in Garrett's words, "Be adults and have an affair already."
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't call Amy the "responsible one".
    • Mild example: Don't call Bo's music "catchy", as he'll think you think him a sellout and freak out about it.
  • Big Damn Kiss: During the season 2 finale "Tornado," Jonah saves Amy's life and she kisses him.
  • Big Storm Episode: "Tornado", the second season finale, where a tornado hits the store.
  • Black Comedy:
    • All of "Spokesman Scandal". It starts with the discovery that the store's mascot is a serial killer and cannibal, and the rest of the episode has Jonah and Amy making jokes about the whole thing. It even gets a Call-Back a few episodes later in "Halloween Theft".
    • In "Seasonal Help" when Glenn is deciding which mall Santa to hire, he looks at the bunch and declares that they have made it past "the Megan's Law search". Then Glenn's phone buzzes, he glances at it, and promptly dismisses one of the Santas.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Mateo speaks to his grandmother in unsubtitled Tagalog, although viewers can pick up on the gist from the English peppered into the conversation.
  • Bothering by the Book: In "Dog Adoption Day", Dina won't cover up Garrett's lateness because "rules are rules". Garrett retaliates by monitoring Dina and pointing out when she breaks the rules, like timing her lunch break or not letting her have a second bathroom break.
  • Bottle Episode: Bottle Series, really. With the exception of "The Wedding Day Sale", "Ladies' Lunch", and "Cheyenne's Wedding", the show only takes place within the store or the store's parking lot.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Amy, when she's trying to help Glenn make sure Kristen's not interested in dating Jonah. She first brings up some genuine annoying qualities Jonah has, but when those don't seem to deter Kristen she decides to take it up a notch.
    Amy: Well, I just... I just wanted to make sure that you were aware... of the... the cheese... and the films... and the meth.
  • Brick Joke: Garrett mocks a customer for picking the arc numbers from Lost in “Lottery.” The end of the episode shows they were, in fact, the winning numbers.
  • Building of Adventure: Many shenanigans happen inside the Cloud 9 store.
  • Call-Back: From the first episode to the first season finale:
    • The same customer, who cannot seem to read the situation whatsoever, approaches the staff.
    • When Amy approaches Jonah he is stacking the same paper towel display he helped Amy with in the first episode.
    • Other call backs include: "Olympics" has a brief shot of looking at the mannequin said to look like him from "Mannequin", as the store is on fire.
    • "Halloween Theft" has a transition showing a guy dressed as a bloody version of Cloud 9's former mascot, who was arrested in "Spokesman Scandal" after it was discovered he was a cannibal serial killer.
    • "Cheyenne's Wedding" picks up several plots from "Ladies' Lunch" (the man Sandra met at the bar, Amy and her husband being in marriage counseling), to the point that NBC actually aired a rerun of "Ladies' Lunch" beforehand so viewers could get a refresher.
    • In episode 3.01, Marcus prints photo mural to block an aisle that isn’t properly set up, and a shopper runs their cart into it. In episode 4.07, he prints another photo to cover part of the Cloud 9 parking lot, and a car drives through it.
  • The Cameo:
    • "Olympics" features cameo appearances from Apollo Anton Ohno, Tara Lipinsky, and McKayla Maroney as Cloud 9 shoppers during the episode's customer scene transitions. Ohno finds himself boxed in by an old lady with a shopping cart, Lipinsky slips and does a pirouette across a wet floor, and Maroney tries on a jacket and does her trademark unimpressed face.
    • In "Election Day", one of the scene transitions has a child driving a Power Wheels car through the store, only to be rammed out of the way by Jimmie Johnson in a motorized toy truck.
  • Casting Gag:
    • Tony Plana plays Amy's father; he had previously played her character's father on Ugly Betty.
    • In the Season 4 episode “Sandra’s Fight,” Amy (America Ferrera) goes to corporate and butts heads with executive Claudia (Ana Ortiz). Ferrera and Ortiz played sisters on Ugly Betty.
  • Citizenship Marriage: Jonah offers to marry Mateo so he can stay in the country. Mateo's response: "Ew!"
  • Cliffhanger: The first season finale ends with all the employees walking out in support of Glenn, who had just been fired, and Dina as the new manager informing them that they are fired. The mid-season finale of season 2 has Amy on the phone with her husband admitting that she's not happy and that they need to talk.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander:
    • Everyone except Garrett and Amy has their moments, although special mention goes to Myrtle, Tate the pharmacist, and Bo.
    • Most of the customers are this as well; the scene transitions usually have customers doing questionable things inside the store when they think no one's looking.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Landers Minder: Essentially what Amy does. This is best shown in "Mannequin" when she decides to prove that she's not the "responsible" one, and everything quickly dissolves into chaos.
  • Colorblind Casting: The characters weren't designed with specific ethnicities in mind. Instead a lot of the characters' backgrounds were written around the actors who were cast for their comedic abilities.
  • Cynic–Idealist Duo: Glenn and Dina in one episode. He's shocked to discover the people he knows sometimes do bad things, while Dina counters that everyone is a bit of a bad person, that's just the way it is.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Amy and Garrett mostly, although Jonah and Mateo occasionally join in.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Jonah's specialty. The pilot episode sets the tone nicely by introducing him to Amy, having him say a number of increasingly belittling things to her as he tries to backpedal from previous statements, and then finding out she's his new boss.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In "Halloween", to get the other employees to stop pestering her about not wearing a costume, Dina grabs one out of the middle of a rack at random, not noticing or caring that it's a sexy police officer. The entire staff spends the rest of the morning meeting being distracted by her ample bosom, and Garrett goes through the episode becoming increasingly confused by his newfound attraction to "that same crazy fascist who physically removed gum from my mouth". Amy comes right out and says it on behalf of a tongue-tied Garrett and Jonah, saying "I cannot stop looking at her enormous breasts."
  • Doomed Supermarket Display: Appears twice in the pilot episode, and again in the "Wedding Day Sale" episode. Any display the cast spends time on is nothing against the demands of plot shenanigans or the upcoming Retail Riot.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Subverted; The concept is taken seriously, however it is played for laughs in this instance as it was clearly consensual.
  • Eagleland: Parodied in "Olympics". Glenn proclaims that America is the greatest country in the world, but falters when asked to name concrete reasons why.
  • Eidetic Memory: Sandra has superior autobiographical memory, meaning she clearly remembers everything that's happened to her while working at Cloud 9.
  • Flash Mob: Bo's (second) proposal to Cheyenne, which includes him pretending to be a robber. Dina mistakes him for the real thing and has him arrested.
  • Flyover Country: The show is set in St. Louis, but it could realistically take place in just about any Midwestern town big enough to have a Walmart superstore in real life.
  • Foreshadowing: Season 2 hints at the tornado in the season finale multiple times, including when Amy makes up an impromptu tornado safety briefing, and when Glenn talks about the emergency safety memo he sent out. Sadly, the characters themselves didn't see it coming.
    Glenn (cheerfully): The building got an F in tornado preparedness. The inspector says this place is a house of cards.
  • Freudian Slip: In "Black Friday", when Amy is calling Adam to tell him that she's not pregnant, she says, "I'm not happy! I mean, pregnant. I'm not pregnant.
  • Friend to All Children: Many of the Cloud 9 employees. Jonah, Glenn, and Cheyenne are the biggest standouts.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • In "Labor", while Jonah and Amy are arguing in the stock room, Cheyenne can be seen going into labor in the middle of the aisle.
    • In "Guns, Pills and Birds", Gina catches a crow in a bag and tells Mateo to "take care of it". While she talks to Garrett about the humane way they dealt with the crow, Mateo can be seen beating the bag on the floor.
  • The Ghost: Glenn mentions his wife Jerusha several times but she has yet to appear onscreen.
    • She finally appears in Season 3's "Golden Globes Party."
  • Heteronormative Crusader: A bunch of these hijack the strike to protest trans people's right to use the right bathrooms.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Dina is a surprisingly good singer.
    • Also, Amy is a pretty decent shot.
    • Sandra is a trained midwife with an eidetic memory.
  • Hit Me, Dammit!: In "Mateo's Last Day", Mateo tries to get people to beat him up so he can claim assault to apply for asylum into the United States.
  • Idiot Ball: In the "Secret Shopper" episode, Dina trying to sniff out the secret shopper by harassing customers. Even if she had been successful, harassing a corporate spy sent to rate your performance is probably not the best career move.
  • The Illegal: In "Olympics", while trying to prove to Glenn and Jonah that he's still a proud American even though he's rooting for the Philippines, Mateo has the misfortune of learning that his grandmother went to the "green card store" when he was a child.
  • I Never: Played by the staff while they are trapped in the store.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Glenn is the rare character who tries to learn from his mistakes when he's made aware of this trope, but then he tends to swing wildly in the other direction end up being Innocently Over-Sensitive, to the embarrassment of whoever he's trying to appease.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • In "Ladies' Lunch", Dina takes Amy to lunch against her will. When Amy accuses Dina of kidnapping her, she corrects her. "Kidnapping is what you do to a child. You're pushing forty, I abducted you."
    • In "Demotion," Dina confesses to Jonah she was worried Jonah was stringing her along "like some sociopath." When Jonah replies, "Nope, nope, that's not me. I'm not a psychopath," Dina corrects him, explaining, "A psychopath doesn't have a conscience. A sociopath knows what he's doing is wrong but does it anyway."
  • Is There a Doctor in the House?: In "Labor", Garrett begins to ask this over the PA when Cheyenne goes into labor, before realizing where he is. He then asks if there's anybody who's watched a lot of Grey's Anatomy.
  • I Think You Broke Him: In "All Nighter'', when Glenn goes on a rant about how much he hates Cloud 9.
    Amy: What just happened?
    Garrett: I think we just broke Glenn.
  • Locked in a Room: The staff gets locked in while working late because the store has a remote locking system that activates after a certain hour.
  • Mood Whiplash: In universe, Cheyenne's dance routine goes from "True Colors" to "Anaconda".
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: After everyone splurges the $906 that Amy found in the lost and found, Sandra comes in and tells everyone that she tracked down the customer who lost the money.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • Garrett tells Jonah that this applies inside Cloud 9, comparing it to quicksand. Jonah attempts to prove him wrong but gets sucked into doing all the hard work for a pharmacist.
    • Glenn, in the "Labor" episode. When Cloud 9 won't let their employees have paid maternity leave, he gives Cheyenne 6 weeks paid suspension, as a "punishment" for violating company rules by having her "insides" all over the store, distracting employees, and having her child in the store with her. Unfortunately, he gets fired for this.
  • Now or Never Kiss: Amy kisses Jonah in the season 2 finale, thinking they might die in a tornado .
  • Oh, Crap!: Mateo when he realizes he's an illegal immigrant after Jonah makes him realize that green card stores aren't a thing.
  • The Olympics: Downplayed with "Olympics", which is set around the closing ceremonies of Rio 2016. No games happen, but American patriotism is explored and a fictional gold-medal gymnast appears in-store.
  • One Steve Limit: A Union buster named Steve was doing some role-playing with Glenn, but the only name Glenn could think to use was "Steve."
  • Open Heart Dentistry: Subverted. When Cheyenne goes into labor, the pharmacist marches in, asks if Cheyenne is on any medication, and promptly leaves when she says "no" since that is the extent of his medical knowledge.
  • Overly Long Gag: "Shots and Salsa" begins with an extremely long pre-opening cheer.
    Garrett: It gets longer every year.
    Amy: When I first started here we would just put our hands in the middle and go "yay".
  • Pass the Popcorn: Garrett tends to treat most of the conflict, drama, and general awkwardness that goes on in the workplace as though it were there for his amusement.
  • Pixellation: Often used for more NSFW content.
  • Potty Emergency: Dina won't go to the bathroom because she used her allotted bathroom break, and Garrett is on her back for not letting him break the rules. She claims she can hold it in indefinitely, but pretty soon she's doing the Potty Dance while at an outdoor fountain display.
  • Pregnancy Scare: Amy in "Black Friday". Turns our she just had food poisoning.
    • Double subverted with Amy, again in season 3's "Gender Reveal". Dina, while carrying Glenn and Jerusha's baby, begins to panic about being pregnant, and while trying to calm her down, Amy mentions that after worrying she might be pregnant a few weeks back, she took a Cloud Nine pregnancy test, which came back negative. However, Dina then reveals that a memo was sent out recalling the tests for being defective. Upon learning this, Amy takes four more different ones, all of which come back positive.
  • Product Displacement: Avoided, with the set and prop designers having a whole team of people to clear products to appear on Cloud 9's shelves. The fictional store does have a fictional store *brand* ("Halo", later rebranded "Supercloud") and if a product needs to be defective or disparaged to fit a plot point it's a store-brand item.
  • Reality Ensues: At the end of season 4, the employees band together to help sneak Mateo out of the store and escape ICE's detection. Unfortunately, there's only so much that a couple of minimum wage, big-box store employees can do against a government police force. When he realizes that he's cornered, Mateo gives himself up.
  • Relationship Reveal: In "Mannequin" it is revealed that Amy is married, although she can be seen putting on her wedding ring in the pilot.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Jonah and Amy finally in season 4.
  • Running Gag: Amy is wearing a different name tag every episode (she doesn't want customers to know her real name).
    • After she got promoted to assistant manager she switches to a name tag with her actual name on it, presumably because she has to.
    • Discussing breast milk and/or trying to make cheese out of breast milk in Season 3.
    • Raccoons are a constant problem, supposedly. Not that the audience ever sees them.
  • Sanity Slippage: Garrett unravels over the course of “Costume Competition” when he notices the same Halloween song plays over the store’s loudspeakers every ten minutes.
    Garrett: Attention Cloud 9 shoppers, I do not have an announcement, but as long as I am talking I am not listening, so just gotta keep talking.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Glenn, usually trying his best to follow corporate policies, decides enough is enough and gives Cheyenne time off to recuperate and take care of her baby after giving birth (albeit as a paid suspension rather than actual maternity leave).
  • Secret Keeper:
    • Cheyenne is the only one at Cloud Nine who knows Mateo is dating Jeff in Season Two.
    • Garrett is the only one at Cloud Nine who knows Amy and Jonah are dating in Season Four.
      • Jonah was also the only one who knew that Garrett had accidentally let all of Dina's birds out of their cage on Valentine's Day, until Dina went through old security footage and found out.
      • Mateo was the only one who knew that Marcus was homeless and living at the store.
    • Jonah was initially the only one who knew Mateo was undocumented. This secret gradually spread to Cheyenne, Glenn, Larry, Garrett, and Marcus. In the season 4 finale, Amy realizes that she was the only one who wasn't informed.
  • Shipper on Deck: In the wake of the Jonah & Amy tornado kiss, at a time when Jonah is dating Kelly, the store discuss being on "Team Kelly" and "Team Amy". Sandra goes so far as to wear a "Team Amy" shirt.
    • Cheyenne once stated that she was shipping Amy & Brett.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Cheyenne and Bo. Amy and Adam got married in one before the series started.
    Bo: Yeah, well, I knocked her up, so my dad says I have to.
    Cheyenne: So romantic.
  • Shout-Out: Cheyenne names her daughter "Harmonica" - both Cheyenne and Harmonica are names of main characters in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis:
    • Glenn and Dina are often butting heads because they have entirely different viewpoints and methods of running the store.
    • Subverted with Sandra and Carol. Though at the beginning it seems like a petty rivalry due to Sandra stealing Carol's boyfriend, it's escalated to the point where they legitimately seem to be trying to kill each other.
      Carol: Sandra tried to kill me during the tornado!
      Sandra: No I didn't! I just didn't try to save you.
  • Sound Effects Bleep: Several characters have gotten this when the situation called for them to curse more severely.
  • Soul-Sucking Retail Job: Downplayed, it's made clear that working at Cloud 9 is tiring, not rewarding, doesn't pay much, and altogether isn't the best job, but the employees don't seem to actively hate it so much nor have they lost their personalities.
  • Spicy Latina: Amy seriously resents being expected to live up to this trope by playing a stereotypical Mexican caricature in order to sell salsa. Eventually she grudgingly plays along after realizing that the profits go to charity.
  • Stalking Is Love: Glenn, in his usual well meaning but clueless way, met his wife this way. He asked her out every day for a year. And after a year of no's, his dad (Who ran the store she worked at) forced her to go on a date with him or he'd fire her. He's rather distraught to learn that it's not socially acceptable anymore.
    Glenn: You're a victim!
  • Status Quo Is God: Starting in Season 2, Amy laments that nothing ever seems to change at Cloud 9. Jonah tries to cheer her up by saying that the crew took a huge leap just by staging a walkout, despite the action having minimal effect.
  • Stealth Insult: Mateo does this, although it's not all that stealthy.
    Mateo: Chey! You are so much smarter than what I tell people.
    Cheyenne: Aww, thank you.
  • Stepford Smiler: In "All Nighter" it is revealed that Glenn, despite his cheerful demeanor, absolutely despises Cloud Nine.
    • Before that, he hit his finger with a hammer- hard- and he just smiled through it.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Cheyenne is pregnant at the start of the series, and Amy was pregnant as a teen before the series.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: In "Demotion" when Amy and Glenn interview replacements for Dina as assistant manager.
  • Town Girls: The three main female characters — peppy, girly, young Cheyenne is the Femme, tough, stern Dina is the Butch, and sensible Amy is the Neither.
  • Those Two Guys: The show increasingly gives Asian Airheads Mateo and Cheyenne this dynamic, as they are often given lighthearted subplots together and tend to be a double-act when commentating on the cast's affairs.
  • Trail of Bread Crumbs: In "Guns, Pills and Birds", Dina leaves a trail of bird seed out the front door to lead a crow out of the store. Unfortunately, it leads more crows into the store.
  • Twofer Token Minority:
    • Garrett is black and disabled. In "Magazine Profile" he tries to keep away from the magazine photographer because they always put minorities in the cover and he isn't comfortable with the attention.
    • Mateo is Filipino and gay.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Jonah and Garrett kind of have this dynamic.
    • Jonah and Amy as well, thought that also crosses over with their Belligerent Sexual Tension.
    • Amy and Dina slowly develop into these in Seasons 3 and 4, with Dina especially having Amy's back 100% yet still having the same abrasive personality.
  • The Voiceless: Brett never says a word. But apparently he is a selling machine.
  • Withholding Their Name: The pilot episode features one character who always wears a name tag with someone else's name so that customers won't know her real name. While all the other workers know her name, she doesn't tell it to Naïve Newcomer Jonah until near the end of the episode. Her name is Amy.
  • Worst Aid: A recurring joke throughout "Health Fund." Cloud 9 employees do strange things to treat their own ailments. Isaac going to Tate to patch up his cuts is not much better.
    Jonah: Are you sure you should be putting superglue on an open wound?
    Tate: Yeah, probably. Our bodies are weird. Oh, I'm stuck.


Example of: