'Superstore' Showrunners on the Impact of COVID on Cloud 9 in Season 6

Superstore Season 6 Glenn Dina Amy
Preview
Greg Gayne/NBC

Superstore may have concluded its fifth earlier than intended due to COVID-19, but it's taking that experience and showcasing the effects of the health crisis on Cloud 9's employees in Season 6.

The NBC comedy about a crew working in the fictional chain store returns Thursday, October 29, with "Essential," a premiere episode focusing on how the pandemic impacts Amy (America Ferrera) and Jonah's (Ben Feldman) plans to relocate and how the employees will learn what it means to be considered "heroes" in this harrowing time.

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Feldman teases America Ferrera's final episode of the NBC comedy and previews Cloud 9's COVID-19 response.

"We had initially talked about whether we could cover the beginning of the pandemic hitting the store and seeing the effects of this on our employees in the same episode where we also dealt with Amy leaving," says co-showrunner Jonathan Green. "But it just seemed like a lot to try to accomplish in one episode."

Season 5's makeshift finale was Part 1 of 2, with the latter half set as the second installment in Season 6. "Once we found out that America was going to be available for two episodes and that the second episode of the season was our hundredth, it felt fitting that we could devote our entire premiere to see how the story is affected by COVID," Green further explained.

Superstore Season 6

(Credit: Greg Gayne/NBC)

"As we talked about our store and COVID, we felt like it was such a rich and interesting and important topic that we kept thinking of other things we wanted to see our people go through," added Gabe Miller. The premiere's story will span over a period of time as Superstore explores the different stages of the pandemic and its impact on Cloud 9.

"We came up with the idea of seeing time jumps through the early days of the pandemic and getting to  see those different stages... There just seemed like a rich area we wanted to explore so that's why it was good to give it a full episode."

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Ferrera was originally supposed to leave the NBC comedy at the end of Season 5.

Plus, fans get to spend extra time with Ferrera's Amy who will depart the show after the 100th episode airs on November 5. Despite the serious nature of the subject, expect plenty of tasteful laughs along the way.

"It was definitely important to us to not take the pandemic too lightly, but I think there are enough relatable moments of how everybody has experienced it," says Green. "It's just such a bizarre thing to suddenly find yourself living through. We were just talking about how life had changed and a lot of the comedy came naturally from that."

Superstore Season 6 Amy Jonah

(Credit: Greg Gayne/NBC)

Part of the humor viewers will see is Cloud 9 employees being hailed as heroes but being treated as anything but heroes by the customers. "They are dealing with unreasonable people and there's definitely danger but it's not in the same way as an intensive care unit or hospital," adds Miller. "It's got a little bit of distance from the very darkest."

Don't miss Cloud 9's COVID-19 response episode "Essential," when Season 6 of Superstore debuts Thursday, October 29 on NBC.

Superstore, Season 6 Premiere, Thursday, October 29, 8/7c, NBC