SUPERSTORE Post-Mortem: Nico Santos on 'Deep Cleaning' and Saying Goodbye to the NBC Comedy - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

SUPERSTORE Post-Mortem: Nico Santos on ‘Deep Cleaning’ and Saying Goodbye to the NBC Comedy

March 4, 2021 by  

Superstore Nico Santos season 6 interview

SUPERSTORE — “The Trough” Episode 608 — Pictured: (l-r) George Salazar as Eric, Nico Santos as Mateo — (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Thursday, March 4 episode of SUPERSTORE.]

Love was in the air as the Cloud 9-ers celebrated all of the holidays on the Thursday, March 4 episode of SUPERSTORE—and Mateo (Nico Santos) and Eric (George Salazar) took a step forward in their relationship.

While Eric’s parents Ron (Tony Plana) and Connie (Marlene Forte) mistakenly thought Mateo was asking for permission for the duo to get married—thanks to Jonah (Ben Feldman)—the couple cleared the air and admitted they were committed and might want to take that step in the future.

So what comes next? Santos shares how much we’ll see the duo going forward, getting closure for Mateo’s big lingering storylines, and saying goodbye to the Cloud 9 world—at least for now…

Mateo and Eric took a big step in their relationship—though maybe not as big as Eric’s parents expected—as the couple admitted they saw a long-term future together. What did that step mean to you?
It feels great. Certainly as a queer person, myself, it felt important to normalize those types of relationships on television. And I know that gay characters exist, but a lot of times, especially like back in the ’90s, as much as I’m a huge fan of WILL & GRACE, a lot of times gay characters were introduced on television and were castrated. And Mateo, actually, he’s had a robust dating life on the show. [Laughs.] Which is such a nice change from how things really used to be. I just really wanted him to have somewhat of a win. Mateo has been through so much. And I think it’s important that he at least get this little bit of a win for him. Also, to show it to people watching the show that just because he’s going through this [hardship] because of his circumstances, that it doesn’t mean, life doesn’t stop that. He is worthy to have what everybody else has.

How much are we seeing the relationship play out on-screen in the final stretch of episodes?
We touch upon it a little bit. I think had we had another season—or had we even gotten more episodes for season 6, because we originally slated for 18 rather than 15—had we had those extra three episodes or another season, I think the intent was to really explore that. But, you know, it’s just the way the cookie crumbles, that we kind of had to figure out a way to wrap the series. We definitely touch upon it, but definitely not the way I think anybody involved in the show would like. I would have loved to explore that more, but we needed to give priority to how we were going to best wrap the series, as much as possible, for us and for the fans.

There was a comment in the opening about things being canceled. How much was the episode tweaked, overall, post-cancellation?
I think this was pretty much the same. It’s so hard, honestly, with six seasons, 113 episodes…they all meld together [in my mind].

Mateo is someone who is fascinating, because he tries to act like he doesn’t care what others think of him, but there are times when it’s deeply, deeply obvious he wants approval. How did you try and balance that as Mateo tried to win over Eric’s parents?
That’s such a great observation, because that is the thing I love about Mateo. You think he is completely just the one way, but then you see parts of him and go, “Oh, I guess there is a person in there somewhere who just seeks validation and approval.” [Laughs.] He wears his snark as an armor, because of the circumstances he’s had to deal with. But in the end, we all just want to be loved; we want to be accepted. And with everything he’s gone through.

I approach it from the fact of, Mateo’s Filipino, and family means so much to Filipinos. We’re all about it. And I would imagine, given his circumstance of being undocumented…we didn’t obviously explore much about Mateo’s family, but I’ve always approached it that he does have this really tumultuous family life. I’m sure he has relatives in the Philippines who he hasn’t spoken to in a really long time and his family is fragmented here in America. And so I approach it from the sense of he is really yearning for a sense of belonging, because that’s always the underlying thing from Mateo: he feels like he doesn’t belong in this country because of his undocumented status. So he’s always trying way too hard to be accepted.

The ICE storyline was something the show had been doling out in smaller doses to keep it truer to life. How much will that be playing into Mateo’s final arc?
That’s always been an ongoing conversation we’ve had. It’s that tricky balance. And that’s what our show has done best: balance real life, high stakes situations, like current events and things that are in the zeitgeist, with comedy. First and foremost, we are a comedy show. And we really do want that satisfying conclusion to Mateo’s storyline, but we also have to live with the reality of what that could really be, because there’s no magic wand for somebody like Mateo. He just he doesn’t have a path to citizenship. That’s the reality of what a lot of undocumented immigrants live with in this country. So how do we give a satisfying conclusion to Mateo’s story without waving this TV magic wand that will just make everything better. It would be such a disservice to to undocumented immigrants, betraying them in that regard. And we want to stay truthful to what they’re going through and how to honestly portray that.

On a lighter note, the Cloud 9-ers got to have their holiday party
I thought it was kind of neat, because we didn’t get to have a Halloween episode this year. So it was a fun way to give the fans what they expect from the show and try to honor that.

It is a bit of a bummer we didn’t get a final crazy Mateo costume, though.
[Laughs.] I know. I don’t know where he comes up with this. I would like to imagine that if I, Nico, was super into Halloween, I would probably do the same thing. Because I did study costume design in college, I’m just like, I don’t want to deal with it.

Looking ahead, how will the ongoing lawsuit impact Mateo?
As far as a lawsuit, it’s really more about Carol. Mateo gets entangled just a little bit, but he can’t get [too involved] because he doesn’t want to get found out. He has to tread lightly.

Jeff is also returning. How is Mateo handling his ex being back?
It’s a fun episode. There is a fun scene where Mateo and Jeff have a moment, just recognizing what has transpired between them. It’s a little bit of closure for them.

There’s a SUPERSTORE spinoff in development. Would you be willing to pop in as Mateo?
Oh, absolutely. Mateo is such a fun character and obviously playing him alongside some fantastic, fantastic people…I will never turn down an opportunity to reunite Chateo. It’s been one of my greatest pleasures in life and honors in life to be able to just be [working] with Nichole [Bloom], just the two of us together, being dumb has been…sometimes I think, “I’m getting paid for this? I’m seriously getting paid to just be goofy and silly with like one of my closest friends? And it’s amazing.” So I will jump at the opportunity if they call me.

Now that you’ve wrapped the show, what will you miss the most about it?
It’s the people. It’s the people I work with, not just the cast but the crew. I’ve heard time and time again, from everybody—from every guest actor that comes to our show to every other actor friend of mine who have been series regulars in shows that have lasted for a few seasons, that they look and hear about our dynamic. And everybody has said, “I hope you realize how incredibly rare and what a gift it is that you have with this show. You guys actually like each other. You love each other. You’re all genuinely friends. There’s no drama on set.” Every single day has been a joy to walk on set. It’s so surreal. I keep thinking that I’m still going to go to work tomorrow. Like, I keep waiting for the call sheet. I just going to miss everybody. Like, I don’t know if I’m ever gonna have it this good. Of course, I don’t know what the future holds. I really struck gold with this one.

SUPERSTORE, Thursdays, 8/7c, NBC


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