SUPERSTORE Series Finale Post-Mortem: Ben Feldman on Jonah's Unexpected Career Twist and an Alternate Jonah-Amy Plan - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

SUPERSTORE Series Finale Post-Mortem: Ben Feldman on Jonah’s Unexpected Career Twist and an Alternate Jonah-Amy Plan

March 25, 2021 by  

Superstore series finale Ben Feldman

SUPERSTORE — “All Sales Final” Episode 615 — Pictured: (l-r) Ben Feldman as Jonah, America Ferrera as Amy — (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the SUPERSTORE series finale.]

SUPERSTORE’s Jonah (Ben Feldman) may have had a rough season after Amy (America Ferrera) broke things off, but he had one heck of a happy ending: not only did he reunite with his off-on love, the duo got married, and had a child. (The reunion also meant that he got to be back in the lives of Amy’s kids Emma and Parker, who he had helped raise for the duration of their relationship.)

But with Cloud 9 gone, Jonah also needed a new job…and, naturally, ended up in politics.

“Jonah getting involved in politics was something we’d talked about many times throughout the run of the show—it felt like a natural next step for someone who’s passionate about social change and had become a leader,” SUPERSTORE co-showrunners Gabe Miller and Jonathan Green said via email. “We’d discussed it as a season-long arc a few times, but we felt like it was a hard story to tell well in the store, without having Jonah off on his own all the time, away from our other characters. Once we landed on the idea of the flash-forwards, it seemed like a perfect, happy future for him: in his element, engaged, fighting to make a difference and loving it.”

But there was almost a different approach they took. “Originally, we had intended to show Jonah becoming a labor organizer,” SUPERSTORE creator Justin Spitzer said. “But it was a difficult thing to establish visually. Like, if you show him leading a picket, is he doing that as a labor organizer or as an employee of a different store? We felt that seeing him in a campaign office would read much more quickly. And him running for city council was believable, although we joked that we should see him running against Josh Hawley for a future Senate seat.”

Here, Feldman talks about saying goodbye to SUPERSTORE and Jonah’s endings… [And for more on the finale, including Jonah-Amy’s reunion, here’s what the EPs had to say.]

We learn in the finale that Jonah becomes a politician! The EPs revealed they thought about making him a labor organizer before landing on this, so what conversations did you have with them about where he ultimately ended up, career-wise?
There was a minute where he was a labor organizer, and not only was it difficult to show in a flash forward, but it’s also kind of lateral from what we’d already seen him doing. I think the stakes needed to be raised. If you’re really going to jump into the future and see a content Jonah who has finally found who he is, you don’t want to see something that you’ve already seen him do in episodes I’ve even directed. It needed to be something bigger than that.

When they decided on actually running for office, it was perfect, it clicked. I remember meeting Alix [Hester], the head of costumes, and we were talking about what is he going to wear in that brief little scene and it was Beto. He’s, you know, rolled up, buttoned down, tie kind of loose, sweaty armpits, like on the ground with the people—if Jonah’s a politician, he’s Beto O’Rourke. There’s probably another extra maybe 10 or 15 seconds to that [which was cut]; it was really fun to shoot that. It felt very WEST WING-y. The cameras moving. I’m talking at a pretty fast clip, I’m like eating Skittles at the same time, and talking to a bunch of people. It was my Bradley Whitford moment.

Given how much the breakup hurt Jonah, was there something in particular you felt you needed for him to do or say before he and Amy reunited?
Fortunately, it was a tremendously collaborative experience. And, also, fortunately, the two characters involved in that romance were both producers, so they actually had to consider mine and America’s opinion. Especially America, who’s an executive producer. We had a lot of talks about who sort of carries the power in whatever particular scene, who owes who what, and we explored a lot of different variations of that in discussing earlier drafts of the script.

The thing that we shot two different versions of—the only thing we shot two very stark, different versions of for the finale—were the interview videos. Both Amy’s and Jonah’s; there were completely two different versions of them shot, because they set into motion the final trajectory of that relationship. And we were constantly playing with “Does Amy realize something from watching Jonah’s video? Does Jonah realize something from watching hers? Does neither of them realize anything? Who goes looking for who? Who says what first? How heated is Jonah at the beginning when he’s approached?” These were endless discussions that are now all blurred together in my mind, because it was just and nonstop dialogue with the writers and the producers.

Are you able to share what was in those videos?
I don’t know if I can tell you. I feel like I’d be in trouble with the producers, so I won’t answer that. I will say: the characters and the elements that you learn about the characters don’t matter so much. It was really more about what state Amy was when she joined and how does that affect Jonah? And what state was Jonah in when he interviewed, when he joined the group and how did that affect Amy? And how did they grow over time? I think the most important thing to us was to show that both characters grew, and without the other one, a lot of that growth would not have been possible.

So much of the finale felt like a beautiful homage to the pilot. How much was that actively in your mind, or was it more apparent later, when you were a bit more removed?
We lived it and so these references were never really lost on on us, from the broad stroke general outline that I was sent months ago, all the way until when the whole cast read the finale script for the first time, those were those were the most satisfying moments for us—other than the emotional parts.

Those were the things that we really got a kick out of. I think Justin and the rest of the writers, and [director] Ruben [Fleischer] really rewarded the avid viewer, the dedicated SUPERSTORE fan with a lot of those references. Even just aesthetically in the pilot, there were images that were references, there were questions that were answered, there were the guest stars that came back.

Ruben set up a bunch of rules that all the directors after him had to follow, and then Ruben came in and broke them all at the end. And with the amount of emotion that we showed, which is very unSUPERSTORE, and just to the way the camera moved and everything, he put together exactly what I think people who love the show needed to see at the end.

As you’re prepping to say goodbye to the show, what’s really standing out to you?
I mean, the general thing that I’ve been saying all week—and I keep saying it for a reason—is that the thing that I’m most proud of about this show is that it feels like a time capsule. And that my kids can watch this show 20 years from now, and get a sense of kind of the general cultural and political zeitgeist in America, especially for the working class, and really in the western world in general. I’m really proud that we talked about a bunch of important things. It would be it would be sad to look back on the show, and just think we’re ending, and all we really added to the national or international dialogue was another group of characters that hung out together and sometimes kissed. I liked that we told the story that reflected a mood. And this show started in Obama and ended in Biden. We had all of Trump, and COVID and a million other things in between. I think that’s what’s really special about this show and hopefully that’s going to be the legacy. That’s the thing that makes me look forward to people coming up to me on an airplane in 10 years and being like, “I just started watching SUPERSTORE. Wow, that sure was 2018,” or whatever. And that’s that’s what I’m proud of.

And then, of course, the long-lasting friendships. The other thing I’ll say is that I had this kind of romantic notion, going into the final week, that I would be standing in a doorway, staring off at our stage and being in like an empty stage and the lights are going off and I’m like, “Goodbye, old friend.” Or I’d be sad taking off my vest for the last time or whatever. And I realized none of that matters. I wasn’t emotional looking at the sets, I wasn’t emotional looking at my costume or saying goodbye to my trailer. It’s the people—and this is such a boring, obvious, thing to say—but that’s the thing that’s really sad. And that’s the thing that I’ll miss. And ultimately that’s what SUPERSTORE was about. Life is bullshit. Work is bullshit. Find those moments and love the family you have around you.

And who better to exemplify that than Jonah, who never really felt like he needed to be there, but he was drawn in by the sense of community that he felt the second he got there? And so that’s what we’re about.


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