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Superstore Continues to Revitalize Comedy at NBC

It's the best of old school and new school sitcoms

Megan Vick

Superstore defied the odds in its inaugural season by delivering viewers and critical raves -- even after its number of episodes were reduced (based on NBC scheduling, not quality of the show). It survived the jostling around to score a second season, and the goal is now loftier than ever -- to revitalize the NBC Thursday comedy block.

That's a hefty task, considering NBC ended its iconic night of comedies two TV seasons ago (As it happens, Superstore star Ben Feldman also headlined the last NBC Thursday night comedy, A to Z) . Now the network is slowly bringing the bloc back with Superstore (followed by Mike Schur's The Good Place) and there's no better show to anchor the comeback.

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Starring Feldman and America Ferrera as workers in a Wal-Mart-ish superstore, the Justin Spitzer-created sitcom is the best of old-school and new-school comedies. Superstore has the familiar feeling of a workplace comedy, but its diverse cast and intelligent rapid-fire jokes allow the show to put a funny take on the issues that matter most. Superstore walks the fine line of not being preachy or being an "issues based comedy," but still uses its voice the illuminate important problems that affect every day people, like worker's rights, immigration and marriage equality.

"The opportunity of setting the show in a superstore is that it's working-class America meets consumer America. We can't not address those things. It just is in our atmosphere," Ferrera told TVGuide.com. "The goal is to always try and be truthful and honest and always be funny."

Superstore uses diversity for better jokes, not checking boxes

Now that Superstore was able to build a solid foundation in its first season, the next batch of episodes will explore the dynamics between characters and the world they inhabit. The second episode of the season simultaneously tackles gun control and pro-life debates while staging a crow invasion inside the store. That sounds insane, because it is, but Superstore makes it work.

"A lot of people have come up to me and said, 'This show just consistently gets funnier and funnier every single episode,'" Feldman explains. "To a degree I think that's true, but [its'] also that you know these people more and more, so it's familiar and it's more and more funny because of that."

Superstore has arrived at a time when new-age comedies, such as Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat aren't afraid to spin serious topics through the lens of a sitcom: exactly what the format was created to do. Feldman is right, that as the show gets more comfortable in its own skin, it continues to be bolder, funnier and a show you can't afford to ignore.

Superstore Season 2 premieres Thursday, Sept. 22 at 8/7c.