“Superstore” Sells Some Super-Sized Laughs

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Colton Dunn, Ben Feldman, America Ferrera and Nichole Bloom in “Superstore" (Trae Patton/NBC)

Colton Dunn, Ben Feldman, America Ferrera and Nichole Bloom in “Superstore" (Trae Patton/NBC)

Created by Justin Spitzer (“The Office”), Superstore is a new workplace comedy about the employees at a Wal-Mart-type store called Cloud Nine starring America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) and Ben Feldman (“Mad Men”). “Superstore” also stars Mark McKinney, Lauren Ash, Colton Dunn, Nichole Bloom and Nico Santos.

Though most shows are filmed on a sound stage, the pilot episode was filmed at an actual K-Mart, creating some interesting meta moments.

Ash explains, “Someone came up to me at one point and asked, ‘Can you help me find this?’ I was like, ‘No, I’m an actor, playing this part.’ She said, ‘Sure you are. You’re about to go on break. We get it, actor.’”

Ash isn’t the only actor that was mistaken for an actual employee during the pilot shoot. Ferrera reminisces about when a real customer asked where the toilet paper was.

“I was just, like, ‘Yeah, it’s in aisle four.’ We had been shooting there for three days. Of course I know where the toilet paper is.”

If you’re a fan of toilet paper stories, then you’re in luck since Ferrera has another one.

“One of my favorite shots in the pilot is in the beginning when Jonah (Feldman’s character) knocks over all the toilet paper. A little girl just walks up from behind the toilet paper and gives this look to Jonah, like, you are such an idiot.”

Spitzer elaborates, “She was an extra for something else, but that was an unscripted moment.”

We’ve all walked into a store and seen someone doing something crazy or weird. “Superstore” includes many of these relatable incidents throughout the episodes.

“One of my favorites is a woman dressed up as [Frozen’s] Elsa buying a bottle of vodka while a young girl looks on, mortified,” Ferrera tells.

To prepare for their roles, some of the cast tried a very hands-on approach.

Santos says, “When we heard we got picked up, Nichole [Bloom] actually had this great idea of applying to one of the big‑box stores. I thought, ‘I’ve worked in retail many, many times, so I’m a shoe‑in for this job.’ Then I get an e‑mail a week later saying that they could not offer me a position.”

To make matters worse, “We both got denied,” confesses Bloom. “And there was an opening too.”

“Several positions in fact,” Santos adds.

Though Santos and Bloom won’t be selling toilet paper anytime soon, they are selling laughs when their workplace sitcom is on the small screen soon. As with Spitzer’s previous workplace comedy, “The Office,” “Superstore” turns the everyday happenings of work into comedy.

Spitzer shares another story from the pilot shoot: “We were shooting one scene. I think it was when you guys meet at the toilet paper, and this kid who was just shopping came up and was watching for a while. I was like, ‘So, are you liking it?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, what is it?’ I explained that it is a show set in a store, and he’s like, “What else happens? Are there any superheroes in it?”

Ferrera jokingly asks, “Are there any superheroes in it?”

“No, there aren’t any superheroes in it,” acknowledges Spitzer.

Though Mark McKinney adds, “That’s why there are aliens starting in episode four.”

Being the good salesman, Colton Dunn teases, “You’ll have to tune in to find out.”

“Superstore” previews two episodes after “The Voice” Nov. 30 at 10 p.m. on NBC. “Superstore” officially premieres Monday, Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. on NBC.

Frederick Mintchell is a Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter: @Fmintchell
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