SUPERSTORE Finale: Justin Spitzer on the 'Unexpected,' 'Shocking' Move for Jonah and Amy - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

SUPERSTORE Finale: Justin Spitzer on the ‘Unexpected,’ ‘Shocking’ Move for Jonah and Amy

May 3, 2018 by  

Superstore Jonah and Amy have sex

Credit: Colleen Hayes/NBC

[Warning: This post contains major, major, major spoilers for the SUPERSTORE season 3 finale. Please do not read more unless you’ve watched “Town Hall.”]

Talk about a fresh start. 

After three seasons—and growing from colleagues to genuine friends—SUPERSTORE’s Amy (America Ferrera) and Jonah (Ben Feldman) bypassed their awkward kisses and slept together in a store back room…on a livestream that was broadcast to Cloud 9 stores worldwide.

Think you’re surprised? The cast was, too. “When we read that at the table read, we were like, ‘Oh my God!’” Lauren Ash (Dina) says with a laugh. Ash, who counts herself a fan of the show (and had yet to see the finale as of earlier this week), admits she is also excited to view the episode. “There are times when we get rewrites to the script, and if there’s an Amy-Jonah plot point and I’m not in the scene, sometimes I don’t read it, because I want to be surprised. I love the show so much that I want to see what happens; I don’t want to have read it ahead of time…I can’t wait to be at least partially surprised.”

But what comes next? SUPERSTORE creator Justin Spitzer shares his (early) plans for season 4…

What made the timing right to take this step with Jonah and Amy?
Since the beginning, every moment has been, “Are we ready for that yet? Do we want to do that yet? Do we want to have them kiss yet? Do we want to have them kiss again yet?” We slow-played it as much as possible. And then we decided for the one time, let’s do the opposite—let’s make a giant step forward.

There are so many will they/won’t theys where they have the kiss and they start dating. We thought, what if they jump right past that and have a wild fling in the store? We thought it felt a little unexpected and a little shocking. It’s a scene I’ve had in the back of my mind since probably the beginning of the show. I wasn’t sure if they were ready to do that yet; I questioned whether if we wanted to wait another season. But it just felt like let’s try it now.

Adding to the complicated nature of their relationship is Amy’s pregnancy. How is that tying into your plans for Amy and Jonah going forward?
We’re still figuring out exactly what Jonah and Amy are going forward. They’ve had sex. They’ve discussed their feelings for each other. We could come in next season and they’re dating, which is weird, because she’s pregnant with someone else’s child. It’s a different kind of take on a new relationship.

They could decide it was a one-time thing and it was a mistake, but it’s obviously embarrassing because everyone in the company now knows what happened. I think we’re still playing with what that is. And what Amy being pregnant means just for her character and her growth throughout next season. I think if I had to sum it all up, we wanted things to be really, really complicated. I think it’s real life; things are really complicated. For every two steps forward, you take one step back. The joy of the comedy comes from the struggles. We wanted to give Amy struggles she can overcome next season.

Since you’ve been thinking about the Jonah and Amy end scene for a bit, was the song “Stand Up” always a part of that sequence?
I knew I wanted a cool, awesome song playing. Our editor put it in as a temp and we fell in love with it. We looked for other songs and nothing beat it!

The scene showed a bit more than most comedies get away with, especially at that time of night. What conversations did you have about what you could show—even censored—and what was NBC’s response when they saw it?
NBC has always been fully supportive. We couldn’t show anything too graphic, but we also wanted to be sensitive to Ben and America, who is pregnant, and make sure we weren’t showing anything unflattering. Whenever we can push things, we want to.

In the back of my mind, when we were writing it, I had a much more graphic idea in mind of what we were going to see. I had never been on set for filming a sex scene; it’s incredibly awkward. I’m really happy with what we had.

I imagined, what would the scene be on GREY’S ANATOMY? The set-up is where the humor comes from, but what is the sexy version of his where you’re not just playing this for a joke? Everyone was on board.

I’m afraid to ask, but also have to: what was the more risqué take you had in mind?
I had imagined a lot more skin and a lot more pixelation. To make it as mortifying as possible, it’s everyone around the world full-on seeing them naked and having sex. You can play that in the audiences’ imagination, or you can play it out there. But Matt Sohn, who directed it, did an awesome job. You still get it. You still get everyone’s reaction. It’s just a little less pornographic. 

With America’s real-life pregnancy, are you looking to do a time jump when you start back with filming season 4?
Part of the reason we came up with [Amy] being pregnant was because she was pregnant. We started making that plan [and] we didn’t know if she’d be showing, when she’d be showing, when we were filming. Turns out she wasn’t showing that much, but we got excited about the stories anyway.

By the time we start filming next season, she won’t be pregnant anymore. I think we’ll have to fake it for a little while. Our plan is that she and Dina will be pregnant, maybe significantly along, at the start of the next season. I don’t think we want to rob the audience of getting to see Dina and/or Amy giving birth.

It is a rarity to have two female characters pregnant at the same time on television, and to have both pregnancies end in healthy births. Is the plan for both women to give birth, or is that still up in the air?
I think they will. People have miscarriages and abortions, but we don’t have any plans to play that. We have some rough plans in the back of our minds—and this is all very changeable, because we’re in the very early stages—for next season that involve Amy having a young baby and what that does, and what her character has to contend with.

One of the things that was set up in the finale was the possibility of Jonah and Garrett (Colton Dunn) living together again. What are your plans for that?
We’ll have to decide. When we got them living together, we had all these thoughts of, “Oh, this is the odd couple now!” But we just never ended up going to the apartment. Before we make that decision, we’ll have to see if there are any good storytelling opportunities there that we want to do or if there’s something else we’d rather do. We know that Jonah and Kelly are no longer living together.

But on a sadder note, Jeff (Michael Bunin) and Mateo (Nico Santos) aren’t in a great place after Jeff sold the group (and poor Myrtle) out to take the Chicago job. Where do you see that relationship going?
We wanted to see Chicago for a while. I wouldn’t be surprised if next season we see corporate. I think things are probably worse than they have ever been between Mateo and Jeff going into next season. This was Jeff’s big move. I think we understand why he did it, but there’s definitely a huge risk between him and Mateo now. It’ll also be interesting because with him back at corporate, in a higher position, knowing Mateo is undocumented and we have to figure out what’s next for their relationship, that’s going to be thorny.

This may be too early, but what’s the future of Kelly Stables, who plays Kelly, on the show?
It’s certainly something we have to get into. We love the actress, we love her character. I think we did a good job of establishing her outside of Jonah, but a lot of her character has stemmed from that. We’ll have to talk about who is that person and how does she fit into that ensemble when she’s not dating Jonah. Though we do like the idea of seeing what happens when you break up with someone at work and you have to see them when it’s an ugly breakup. That could be part of her function for a while. We’d love to keep her as some part of the cast if we can; she’s amazing.

One of the show’s ongoing themes has been the lack of rights the workers have. An item on the list of the things the Cloud 9 employees weren’t supposed to talk about was maternity leave…but that will be impacting a couple of them relatively soon. How much will you be digging into that next season?
You are very, very much hitting the nail on the head for the next season. That’s been the plan since the beginning of season 2. We’ll be jumping heavily back into workers’ rights and organized labor next season. I think that will definitely touch on maternity leave.

At the very beginning of season 2, when Jonah and Amy came in from the walk-out, they said to each other, “This isn’t over. We’re just putting a pin into it until later.” When we wrote it, we [knew] we’re not going to come back to it in season 2, [if it’s in] season 3, then it feels like every year we’re doing workers’ rights stuff, but if we get to season 4, that’s the year we’re jumping back in. We’re really excited about next year. 

The livestreams allowed viewers to see the Cloud 9 locations all over the world. How long had you been planning on showing those other versions, and what fun did those differences allow?
That was always a part of this idea of Jonah and Amy having sex and it somehow getting broadcast into all of these other Cloud 9s. I love the pictures of Wal-Marts in China, because the signage is the same, the branding is the same, but the products they carry are so incredibly different. I thought it would be fun to see these Cloud 9s all over the world and get little glimpses.

It was a huge challenge for set dressing, to turn corners of our soundstages into a whole other country. The lighting is different, each one is shot slightly different in ways. From the writers’ and my point of view, it was a lot of fun to see it. For everyone else who had to create five different stores, it was a lot of work!

The show has never been shy about having its on-screen talent write and direct. Who will be on tap to step behind the camera next year?
We’re excited! We like pacing ourselves and not having a lot of new directors all at once, but next year, Mark McKinney will direct one. I think America will direct one. We’ve talked about Colton possibly writing one; if he’s up for it, we’re totally up for it, too.

Is there anything else you can tease about the next season?
It is very early. I’m planning on a more serialized season than we’ve had in the past. Not every episode, but having a little more of a season arced out with a plan toward the end. Up until now, I think we’ve done a good job of establishing the characters and what they’re dealing with—this is going to be the season that Amy, especially, but a lot of our group changes and takes up the challenge. It’s going to be a much more exciting, energetic, and serialized season.


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7 Responses to “SUPERSTORE Finale: Justin Spitzer on the ‘Unexpected,’ ‘Shocking’ Move for Jonah and Amy”

  1. Gena on May 3rd, 2018 9:53 pm

    Amy should have an abortion. It’s horrible to set this character back to when she was 19 because of these awful reasons Justin Spitzer lists. Is no one going to ask him why Amy never articulates a real reason to have this child? I hope he changes his mind, I hope someone gets through to him what a pregnancy for a character like Amy means. She will be buried in medical bills. Adam has no money, who’s supporting Amy when she’s out of work with no maternity leave? Why can’t Amy have a happy planned pregnancy later instead of this storyline where we don’t even get to know why she’s having the baby? Please, if you talk to Spitzer again, actually challenge him on these story decisions.

  2. Jen on May 4th, 2018 11:31 am

    LOVED the finale and love her pregnancy arc. Excited to see where it goes in season 4!

  3. Abigail on May 5th, 2018 7:29 pm

    I really enjoyed season 3 and am eagerly anticipating season 4! Love Justin’s teases. The pregnancy was my favorite storyline of season 3 – this show has always been about portraying realism, with flawed, real characters. They aren’t perfect and they make mistakes. I think this pregnancy is a great parallel for Amy compared to her pregnancy with Emma. She has the opportunity to make different choices, like not clinging to Adam and getting stuck in an unhappy marriage. I’m excited to see it play out!

  4. Abigail on May 6th, 2018 12:33 am

    I’m so excited about all of this! Loving Amy’s storyline this season and the opportunities it brings. This show has always been about realism and showing non-perfect, flawed characters. It’s just like in life, you get thrown an unexpected obstacle and it sucks. It’ll be interesting watching Amy navigate this unexpected curveball (pregnancy) and watching her become stronger. It’s a great parallel to her situation when she was pregnant with Emma – now she has a chance to grow and do things her way (bonus is that she and Jonah will probably get to navigate their changing relationship as well!). It sets the stage for lots of potential plots and I’m totally here for that.

  5. Ashley C on May 7th, 2018 4:19 pm

    Thanks for the great article! Really excited for season 4.

  6. Kat on May 10th, 2018 4:26 pm

    Thanks for the teases! This sounds like next season will be amazing. In response to the first comment, I like the pregnancy arc. I think it’s more of a second chance for Amy to do things differently and motivation to bear down and make necessary changes. Speaking as someone who has been in a similar situation, it absolutely does not mean there all hope is lost.
    I’m really grateful this story is being told!

  7. Anonymous on May 12th, 2018 7:16 pm

    In response to the first comment: I appreciate this story so much and am excited to see future changes and growth for Amy. This show is about reality, it’s not a fairy tale. Superstore is awesome, and Justin and the writers have made a fantastic 3 seasons!