SUPERSTORE Post-Mortem: Ben Feldman, Jonathan Green, and Gabe Miller Break Down Amy's Exit - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

SUPERSTORE Post-Mortem: Ben Feldman, Jonathan Green, and Gabe Miller Break Down Amy’s Exit

November 5, 2020 by  

superstore jonah amy break up

SUPERSTORE — “California Pt 2” Episode 602 — Pictured: (l-r) Lauren Ash as Dina, Nichole Sakura as Cheyenne, Jon Barinholtz as Marcus, Kaliko Kauahi as Sandra, Nico Santos as Mateo, America Ferrera as Amy, Ben Feldman as Jonah, Kelly Schumann as Justine, Amir M. Korangy as Sayid, Mark McKinney as Glenn — (Photo by: Greg Gayne/NBC)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for SUPERSTORE’s “California Part 2.]

SUPERSTORE said goodbye to America Ferrera’s Amy with a heartbreaking twist, as she and long-time love Jonah (Ben Feldman) split before their move to California.

Originally, the duo was set to move to the west coast for Amy’s new corporate job, but Amy started to get cold feet about the relationship when she suspected Jonah was on the verge of proposing to her.

The duo fought, with Jonah hurt that his girlfriend was so bothered by the idea of their relationship moving forward, despite the fact that they had been living together and he had been helping to raise her kids. Though Amy, kind of, had second thoughts and tried to make a Jonah-like gesture, when push came to shove, the duo split. (The team also revealed the two Jonah-Amy endings fans didn’t see.)

“We liked the messiness of it,” executive producer Gabe Miller says. “Amy’s feelings were understandable, but she maybe wasn’t handling everything in the best way she could. And that seemed very human and interesting. We really liked the character-specific concern of hers that she, in her previous in her marriage with Adam, was rushed into that by circumstances [due to her pregnancy]. She just didn’t want that to happen again. And that was causing the majority of her panic and her uncertainty.”

“It also seemed to fit for Jonah, that he is gung ho about everything, and he wanted to dive right in,” executive producer Jonathan Green adds. “And even if they weren’t going to get married right away, he thought it would happen soon, and that was in the cards for them. And it just felt like a fundamental way that they might be different or have different ideas of their future that could play into their breakup.”

“It was a little bit their characters of the idealist and pragmatist crashing into each other,” finishes Miller.

Feldman and Ferrera were “quite involved” in how it went down, but, as Feldman notes, “we basically had to write the finale twice.”

After Ferrera’s exit was pushed back from the season 5 finale, “then we came back and had to tell the COVID story,” Feldman says. “So, the timeline changed. And so that tweaked different aspects of it as well. So ultimately we end in the same place that we intended to in the first place. We just tell the story completely differently.”

But though a split was always in the cards, the nuances of it were in flux up until filming. “We went back and forth, not only just about when and how and what, but even on the day…the scenes between America and I, those are discussions that we’re having up until the moment we were rolling,” Feldman says. “We were changing things, we were rewriting, we’re changing the dynamic of certain things, things that we were saying to each other, what they meant.”

“Even things like when Sandra can come in and actually break the tension and be funny,” he continues. “At one point she was breaking into that scene right in the middle of it, which was just impossible to come back from and get back into being serious again. It was evolving, up until the very last second.”

Feldman also felt strongly that Jonah losing his newfound family unit of Amy, Parker, and Emma should play into how he handled the unexpected uncoupling.

“That was a very important element of the story for me to tell,” he says. “At one point, in an earlier draft, Jonah was pretty forgiving. He wasn’t like, ‘Oh, that’s cool. Bye!’ But he wasn’t devastated. And I was saying, ‘Look, it doesn’t take a lot of mental gymnastics for me to get into a space where I can imagine having someone who’s been that important to me for that long just kind of turn my life upside down and leave.’ And I was like, ‘I don’t think I would be charming or making a joke by the middle of that scene. I think I would be devastated and sad.’”

“If this were an hour-long drama or if we had more real estate to tell the story, I think I would have spent episodes not speaking to her or being angry,” Feldman says. “But ultimately, this is a sitcom and we’re not going to do that. But yeah, it’s a tremendously serious, sad, and devastating thing. I think we got there, ultimately, once we discussed it and rewrote it enough.”

The door was left quasi-open for a reunion between the duo, at some point, with Amy asking Jonah what she should do if she was wrong about them. (And he told her she would know where to find him.)

“It felt more real and nuanced to leave a vaguely open door,” Feldman says. “First of all, nobody wrote any major offenses: Nobody’s cheating on anybody. Nobody’s leaving the country or anything. There’s there’s been no impeachable offenses, I think, on either of their parts. So there really is no reason to have a blow-up, goodbye forever kind of moment.”

“And then, in real life, America is not leaving us in any sort of contentious way and there’s no goodbye forever for us,” he continues. “So why not leave that door open, if there was a story to tell down the line, at the end or something like that? There’s something more real and nuanced about the way we told this particular breakup than a simpler show might do, where some little tiny things set them off and then it’s like, ‘F— you, goodbye forever.’ We try to keep it real.”

The writers echoed Feldman’s sentiment. “Luckily, America is leaving on the best terms possible and loves the show,” Miller says. “And we all love her. It was hard for her to leave. We definitely see it as a possibility that we could bring her back. We haven’t had specific conversations about exactly how or anything, but…we’re keeping her character still working at corporate and in the world of our show, [which] seems to make it easy to bring her back if we are able to make that happen at some point. It was important to us to leave the relationship sort of open-ended.”

However, despite Amy’s continued existence in the Zephra world, her presence won’t be frequently felt in the store via one-sided calls with, etc. “We wouldn’t want to do too much of that anyway,” Green says. “We don’t want to say we’ll never do that. But it starts to feel a little cheap, like a trick if we’re pretending like she’s on the other end of the phone or something.”

But when the time comes that Ferrera, hopefully, returns, given how long the duo were together, Amy’s uncertainty about their relationship won’t just be glossed over.

“She has some things to answer for,” Green admits. “And it’s not just going to be, ‘Let’s pick up where we left off,’ which we find interesting.”

Feldman expects that Jonah might be a bit more forgiving than others might be. “He’s not damaged, emotionally, I think,” he says. “Obviously, the work would need to be done. But I think with the right [approach]—the same way we told this this breakup, I don’t think we’re going to tell a story where Amy walks in and goes, ‘Okay, I’m ready now’ and Jonah just drops everything and jumps into a wedding tux. So I’m sure there would be there would be nuance on the other end, too.”

“These are two people that really did and do love each other and are great together,” he continues. “This all happened at a time where they weren’t synced up. And I’ve seen that happen in real life a million times. It’s definitely something that you could come back from.”

In the meantime, Jonah is going to have to move on with his life, in a drastically different way than planned.

“He is very much still the Jonah that we have gotten used to,” Feldman teases. “Where he lives and who he dates are plot points that I probably can’t tell you about. But know that they’re plot points.”

Wait, dates?! Is Jonah moving on that fast? Not exactly, Feldman quickly clarifies. “We are a responsible show and that would be insane if she was out the door and he was like, ‘Okay, where is Amy 2?’ He’s not a monster. But that said, we have an entire season to tell a story. I can’t tell you what he will do, I can tell you what he won’t [be up to]. He won’t just be sitting at home staring at photo old photo albums…these characters are not just going to let him wallow. Everybody wants him to want him to move his life along in one way or another, whether it’s professionally or romantically.”

Professionally, with Jonah staying at Cloud 9 in large part due to Amy, he’s going to have to reassess things.

“That is an elephant in Jonah’s room that will be explored, for sure, this season,” Feldman says. “He is aware that his whole life was taking up a cause which ultimately didn’t pan out as far as workers rights’ and taking up a girlfriend, which ultimately didn’t work out. And so he is left in sort of a start over point. As my mom, who used to read tarot cards, would say, he drew the death card. Which doesn’t mean a death, but it means a new beginning, a reawakening. That’s what’s happening for Jonah this season.”

But it might not only be Cloud 9 that catches his eye. “He was planning to move to California and that didn’t end up happening [so he’s] trying to get over the breakup by throwing himself into work a little bit more and looking into even considering some other job opportunities outside the store,” Miller teases. “He’ll definitely be very much affected by the breakup for a while, channeling that into different things.”

SUPERSTORE, Thursdays, 8/7c, NBC


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