NBC’s comedy Superstore was in the middle of filming their second to the last episode of season 5 amid COVID-19 and mandatory lockdown orders. “It’s wild to think of the last week of filming because I remember at the time thinking, ‘What’s the problem. Let’s just finish this!’ and now I’m like, “I can’t believe we shot for so long!” says Lauren Ash, who moderated the Superstore@Home with San Diego Comic Con panel on Thursday afternoon.
Lauren (Dina) was joined by her fellow castmates: Ben Feldman (Jonah), Mark McKinney (Glenn), Colton Dunn (Garrett), Nico Santos (Mateo), Nichole Sakura (Cheyenne), and Kaliko Kauahi (Sandra) along with showrunners Gabe Miller and Jonathan Green.
Ben adds, “I remember shooting the Thursday before we wrapped the entire thing, the last scenes with America. We constantly tried to make sure that whatever was that we’re shooting is going to be a good enough ending if they ended up stopping production because we had no official word until we basically wrapped that episode.”
Showrunner Jonathan mentions they were down to the wire of figuring everything out. “We had some huge crowd scenes that we were planning to shoot and suddenly realized we couldn’t get a crowd of people together, and it was not very responsible to have a bunch of people together to shoot this. It became clear that it wasn’t even to be possible to shoot anything in that final episode.”
After retelling an incredibly accurate act Mateo would have done (AKA try to steal all the toilet paper possible onset), Nico reflects on the difference from the beginning of the season to the abrupt end: “When we shot the beginning of the season, obviously none of this was happening. […] I remember when we shot that scene where Cheyenne and Mateo meet the detention center. That scene was so weird to film that day because the ICE raids in Mississippi had happened. They just rounded up like close to 700 people. Then we had to film that scene. That was the most sort of crazy thing that happened in the world in the news. Now you look at where we’re at, and oh my god, the world just added more.”
As for what’s to come in season 6? The future is unclear, but Colton shared thoughts on what he’s looking forward to other than finally leaving his house, “So much has happened in the world. Our show has always been the show that reflects what’s going on in the world and really shows what’s going on for people who work in retail and the types of jobs that the characters work at. I think those stories are so important to tell right now because those are the people who didn’t go home. They didn’t shelter-in-place. They had to keep going to work. They had to keep stocking toilet paper and water.” He continues, “I’m excited to go back and create some more stories so when those people, when they do go home, can sit down and watch a show and laugh and have some fun with relatable content.”
Near the end of the panel, both showrunners shared some trivia from the writer’s room that never saw that light of day.
- At one point, they thought of Jonah as a spy for Cloud 9! “Early on, we had talked about why someone like Jonah would stay at the store. Was it for Amy, or was it for something else? At one point, there was an idea that for the season 1 finale, we would be starting at Cloud 9 corporate, and we’d be wondering why we’re there, what we’re doing. Then we see Jonah walk in and reveal he was a corporate spy infiltrating the Cloud 9 store to report on union activity.”
- The fact raccoons are infesting the store was inspired by the actual raccoons they have on their sound stage.
- Glenn’s favorite food is Dippin’ Dots. The writers created a whole plot where Glenn had no idea where to get his hands on the ice cream other than Six Flags. “Every day before work, he goes to Six Flags, pays for a ticket, waits in line, buys Dippin’ Dots, and then leaves. But for some reason, he doesn’t find a season pass,” says Gabe.
- It became a quick joke in an episode, but Sandra was going to be bald by the end of the season because of wedding stress!
- Hamilton ALMOST made the cut. Instead of the intended sabotage plan, the other idea was to have Carol show up to the event singing “Satisfied” from Hamilton. This would have also given them the musical episode the cast has always asked for.
Superstore is currently streaming on Hulu.