SUPERSTORE Post-Mortem: Colton Dunn on Penning 'Conspiracy' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

SUPERSTORE Post-Mortem: Colton Dunn on Penning ‘Conspiracy’

February 11, 2021 by  

Superstore Colton Dunn Conspiracy

SUPERSTORE — “Floor Supervisor” Episode 606 — Pictured: Colton Dunn as Garrett — (Photo by: Tina Thorpe/NBC)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Thursday, February 11 episode of SUPERSTORE, “Conspiracy.”]

A note for all SUPERSTORE characters: Never listen to Marcus (Jon Barinholtz).

On the Thursday, February 11 episode of SUPERSTORE, Glenn (Mark McKinney), struggling with all of the changes to Cloud 9 by Zephra—the latest being that he couldn’t say “Have a Heavenly Day”—found himself sucked into a conspiracy theory that unraveled and led to, well, a whole lot of destruction of company property.

The episode, “Conspiracy,” was penned by SUPERSTORE star Colton Dunn, who previously penned 2019’s “Forced Hire,” as well as writing for shows like KEY AND PEELE.

But crafting an episode of television during a pandemic is a bit different, even if it’s a show you work on and have written a script for in the past. Here, Dunn shares more about the process, and teases a bit of what’s to come…

Since you’ve written an episode for the show before, was this a situation where they came and asked if you would want to write another, or did you reach out to them?
At the beginning of every season I always say I’m down to write an episode. So, I kind of threw that out there. And obviously this season was a little weird [to start], because they didn’t know how it was going to work, and how many episodes we were going to have. But it ended up working out where I was able to get in to write one of the episodes.

It was obviously a very different experience, now that everything is on Zoom. And because everything’s a Zoom, my wife’s at home with my son, who just turned one. And so I would do some stuff in the in the [home] office, but some days, he would either be too loud or asleep so I would basically be Zooming in my car, in the [virtual] writers’ room, just parked somewhere in Burbank. So that was an interesting experience to write an episode from my car. [Laughs.]

Were you in the room before the season started, or was this something you worked on while the season was already underway?
We were already shooting by the time we started working on this episode. It must have been over the Thanksgiving break, when we finished it up. So it was a little bit of time, in between. The previous episode that I wrote, I actually started writing before we came back for the season; I was going into the office every day. But because of the way COVID is, everything’s very tightly scheduled.

Looking to “Conspiracy” itself, the show has never shied away from tough issues, but what was the balance you had to walk when having a few of the characters go down a conspiracy rabbit hole, while keeping them both funny and not so far down the path it does damage to the characters?
Oh yeah, for sure. I mean obviously you know nobody wants to be like, “Oh no, Glenn’s in QAnon.” [Laughs.] We have to be careful, because we didn’t want to, like you said, take one of the characters that we like and just make them be like where nobody likes them anymore.

But there’s also just how anybody gets stuck into conspiracies. And I think that’s kind of where we come from: the motives of the company. That’s where we get our in to it. It’s not so much about one particular conspiracy theory or the hot button one right now, but I mean we’re definitely acknowledging. But I think we’re also acknowledging sort of the truth of why people are drawn to those kinds of conspiracies. I think that maybe sometimes what people don’t take the time to consider is why somebody would do it. I feel like when people talk about, “Think about what other people are going through,” I think a lot of times people take that to mean, “You have to agree with what their thoughts are.” And that’s not what it means. It just means, can you kind of understand how they got there? Maybe they watched a video that for some reason they thought is good on Facebook, and it spoke to them and that time where they’re at. And so we’re just kind of playing with that.

The episode also included the continuation of the Cheyenne (Nichole Sakura) and Mateo (Nico Santos) feud. While we saw a bit of it in the previous episode, this was still a relatively new dynamic for them. How was it to tackle writing that?
It’s so fun to write a storyline for those two characters, because over the course of the series, those two have just become such a funny group of Chateo. But like any group that is super close, eventually you’re going have your disagreements or you’re falling out. And they’re no different. But I think we just had fun with showing how that particular friendship would go through that process. And it starts out very real, they’re really just trying to hurt each other’s feelings, and then they’re realizing that they’re getting attention for it, and people care what they’re thinking. And they start living for that. And then obviously they end up having to team up to continue their own rivalry.

I thought that they just nailed it. I loved it. We always have the A-storylines, like with the conspiracy and stuff, but a lot of times, some of my favorite stuff is little things between the characters that we get to explore.

The cast seems really tight, and it seems like it’s a pretty collaborative process on set. As the attacks between Cheyenne and Mateo escalated, was there conversations with the actors about limits, or were they just game for everything?
They were game for anything. I think for both of them, anytime, especially as performers, you’re playing a lot of scenes where the two of you guys are peas in a pod, it’s fun to step out of that and be, “Okay, well. let’s be angry with each other.” They get pretty vicious in the episode. [Laughs.] But I think at the end of the day, it’s because they’re friends; only friends can do that hard on each other.

You’ve been known to have a little bit of fun at Ben Feldman’s expense, but the Jonah/Garrett friendship has really had some lovely moments, especially this season. Did you set out to include a storyline for the two of them with this episode, or was that something that organically came from the room as things moved along?
Definitely not intention. I had originally written that Jonah joins a barefoot water-skiing team.

The crazy thing is I can’t tell if you’re serious or not, because it’s Jonah, who has been in a bit of a crisis…
I am kidding. But in my first episode that I wrote, I wrote that Ben had to drink a bunch of ranch dressing. It was very funny. But with this one, especially now that Amy had left, we had time to explore these other relationships. And I’ve always thought that the relationship between Garrett and Jonah is funny. And it’s still fun to make Jonah the one—and have Ben play—that he was upset that I wasn’t being as nice to him or remembering things as much as he thought. But that’s really comes up in the room, especially when we talked about, okay, well what would be things that they would do in a fight when they were roommates. All this stuff kind of bubbles up from the room and I think it comes from like looking back. The show’s been on this long, we can kind of look back and go, oh, let’s explore this little piece that we’ve always known is there and has always existed outside the story, but let’s take some time to talk about what was it like when Jonah and Garrett lived together and get a glimpse into what that was like.

As for Garrett, he’s in what feels like, at this point, an accidental throuple. How is he handling this moving forward, especially since he has struggled with his feelings for Dina (Lauren Ash) in the past?
You’ll just have to keep tuning in to see how his throuple works out. But at some point, they’re going to have to address it. And I think ultimately Dina and Garrett are going to need to figure out what the deal is—is there something between them, is there not, is it just a work thing? And maybe we’ll find out. Maybe it’ll just be a story that continues on [beyond the] demise of the SUPERSTORE universe.

It feels like this may have been produced around the time it was announced the show wouldn’t be returning. Was there anything you had to tweak once it became clear this was the final season?
I think this might have been the last episode we made before we knew that. But as far as I know, there wasn’t really anything that we did in this episode that really had to shift anything. It’ll live in that nice little vacuum world where anything’s possible.

As you approach the final episodes of the series, what is your mindset as you get ready to say goodbye?
For me, personally, my mindset is just going to be to take every day as slowly as possible and just enjoy it. It’s been an awesome place to work at. It’s an awesome crew and amazing cast. And any time I’m there, I just enjoy every minute. And that’s very rare in life, so I’ll be enjoying that as much as I can. And then, creatively, just trying to make it as fun and enjoyable for everybody who’s watching. We may not tie up every storyline or every nook and cranny. As somebody who watches random series that he finds on TV, I always get so upset when I get to the end of a series and there’s a storyline that is not necessarily filled out, but, you know what, I always just love the adventure itself. I really hope that we are able to wrap this up in a way that everybody feels like they had a great adventure.

Is there anything else you want to say about penning this episode?
It’s always a group process, and that especially exists in the writers’ room at SUPERSTORE. From the showrunners to all the staff writers, everybody’s involved in every step of the process and making everything so much better. And it’s a pleasure to work with all of them. So to all the writers and the showrunners, I’m so appreciative that they let me have the opportunity to write another episode this season. And I hope everybody enjoys it.

SUPERSTORE, Thursdays, 8:30/7:30c, NBC


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