Behind The Scenes Secrets About Superstore

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Pre-pandemic, the cast actually scoured the Cloud 9 set for toilet paper.

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Because filming had to pause for coronavirus, America Ferrera’s final scenes almost happened one episode early, and the writers reworked them so that they’d still be a “good ending” just in case filming never continued.

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But luckily, America will be returning for the beginning of Season 6, so she can finish Amy’s story the way it was meant to end.

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The Season 5 finale was also supposed to include some huge crowd scenes, and the producers even tried to figure out how to make it happen safely, but later on they found out that filming was shut down anyway.


Greg Gayne / NBC

“We just gotta get as many background mannequins as we can,” joked Lauren Ash, who plays Dina.

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The show will also incorporate a coronavirus storyline into Season 6, which premieres Oct. 29.

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There were a few plot twists that didn’t end up making it into the show, but one was that Jonah was supposed to be a spy from Cloud 9 corporate and took the sales associate job to report on union activity.


Tyler Golden / NBC

That was one of the ideas thrown around for the Season 1 finale.

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The series title was originally pitched as The Greatest Love Story Ever Told instead of Superstore.


Casey Durkin / NBC

Justin shared that NBC said yes to the title, but then wanted to change it after a bunch of romantic comedy series failed that year.

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Cloud 9 was originally supposed to be called Cloud 8, because the creators felt like that name emphasized just how average the store was.


NBC

Creator Justin Spitzer said, “It was going to be Cloud 8, one step shy of heaven. I thought, ‘The company is the straight man of the show. So, what is a realistic, not super funny, just believable name that the company would have?’ I went right for the low-hanging fruit.”

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Nico Santos, who immigrated from the Philippines when he was 16, shared that the Season 4 finale was one of the hardest episodes he’s ever had to film, and during the table read America, Lauren, and Nichole Bloom — who plays Cheyenne — were in tears.


NBC

He shared that this storyline was especially personal for him and said, “I think any immigrant who comes to this country also knows somebody who is undocumented.”

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The writers have even invited representatives from Define America to help with the immigration storyline, as well as their local Walmart employees to talk about their unionizing experiences.

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The show isn’t actually filmed inside a store and they’ve just recreated one on a small soundstage, but they have tricks to make the stage seem bigger than it really is.


Eddy Chen / NBC

Justin also shared, “Production designer Michael Gallenberg is responsible for a lot of that. There are mirrors above at the top of all the walls so it looks like the store just keeps continuing. All the shelves are on wheels so that we can create new aisles.”

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The scenes where racoons take over Cloud 9 were actually inspired by the actual racoons that live on the soundstage.


NBC

Showrunner Gabe Miller shared that sometimes they’ll film a scene and look over and see racoons watching them.

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Because a lot of the products on the show are meant for product placement, some of the cast and crew have been able to take home extras.


Patrick Wymore / NBC

Lauren joked that she’s only ever gotten to take home a Christmas mug.

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The cash registers actually work and are rigged so that whenever products are scanned, their prices do show up on the screen.


Greg Gayne / NBC

Kaliko Kauahi, who plays Sandra, said, “I was so blown away that everything worked. Every [product price] I would say in the script, they had somehow figured out that whenever I scanned it, the total would appear on the screen, even if no one saw it. I was just amazed by the detail.”

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During the beginning of the pandemic, Nico tried to see if there was any toilet paper on set that he could take home with him, but found out that all the toilet paper had already been taken by other cast and crew members.

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Early on in the series, the customer interstitials were actually things that the writers had seen people do in superstores.


NBC

One time, America even texted Justin a picture of people she saw doing their taxes in a store, but that idea never made it into the series.

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Another idea that didn’t make it in was that Glenn would love Dippin’ Dots so much that he’d pay for one-day tickets to Six Flags just to get them.

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A lot of moments on the show are improvised and Dina’s backstory about her relationship with her dad originally came from an improv scene between Lauren Ash and Nico Santos during Season 1.


NBC

Dina’s dad was eventually played by Dean Norris in Season 5.

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Jerry’s proposal to Sandra was also improvised.


NBC

They’d originally written a proposal in the Season 3, but it ended up being cut.

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The writers also thought about having a scene where Carol, played by Irene White, would sabotage Sandra’s wedding and sing “Satisfied” from Hamilton.


NBC

They also liked the idea that Sandra would be so stressed about her wedding that she’d gradually start balding over the course of the season.


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A lot of Glenn’s most iconic moments are improvised by Mark McKinney — especially any time he sings.

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According to Lauren and Nico, they have been begging the writers to let them do a musical episode since filming the pilot.

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It’s a running gag that Amy doesn’t wear her own name on her name tag, and they shared that the writer of each particular episode gets to decide which name should be on her name tag.


Justin Lubin / NBC

America even said, “Every now and then when we’ve had a glass of wine or two, we promise a fan in the audience that we’ll use their name and we did…and it was Dwendyna.”

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Ben Feldman said that Bo’s character was actually what made him sign on to do the series.


NBC

At the time he was reading the script, his series A to Z had just gotten cancelled, and he was certain he’d never do another sitcom again. He remembered, “I needed a sign, and for Bo to propose to Cheyenne with a rap and then jump on the table and go, ‘Everyone get on the f***ing floor, this is a robbery’. I was like, ‘This guy — this is amazing! I can’t believe I’m doing this show.’”

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And finally, if you live in LA and drive down Barham and go past Universal, you can see the Cloud 9 set.

Be sure to watch Superstore on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. on NBC.

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