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America Ferrera Discusses ‘Superstore’s’ Diversity, Portrayal of Working Class America

Aside from the witty script, America Ferrera was drawn back to television with NBC’s “Superstore,” a workplace comedy set in a fictional big-box store called Cloud 9, thanks to its diverse representation of working class America.

“Centering a comedy around very real people is an opportunity to have relevant conversations,” Ferrera told Variety at a recent “Superstore” press event. “Comedy is such a great place to reflect on our lives… I grew up on TV shows like ‘Roseanne,’ ‘Cheers’ and ‘All in the Family’ where you could turn on the TV and not everybody was a detective or a lawyer.”

Along with “Superstore’s” portrayal of the working class, Ferrara — who plays Amy, a 10-year associate at Cloud 9 — admired the show’s diverse casting. Besides the Latina “Ugly Betty” alum, the remaining store employees include African-American comedy writer and actor Colton Dunn, Filipino comedian Nico Santos and Japanese-Irish “Shameless” alum Nichole Bloom.

“None of these characters were written in any specific ethnicity,” Ferrera explains, giving a nod to series creator Justin Spitzer who was “just looking to make the world feel real.” The Golden Globe winner adds, “That was really interesting to me. I’m excited about this show representing not just working class America, but what the world looks like.”

Ferrera’s fellow cast members also say that show’s familiar setting and relatable characters should speak to viewers.

“I think it’s going to be a sticky show because its set in a superstore and there’s no better locale to talk about America than the place we all go to shop,” said Mark McKinney, who plays Cloud 9’s store manager. “And I think in the tradition of all great comedy shows, people are going to fall in love very fast with some and then all of the characters.”

Lauren Ash, who plays the store’s assistant manager and is a real-life former big-box store employee, added, “Not only is ‘Superstore’ obviously a really, really funny show, but I feel like everybody knows those stores. If you haven’t worked in one then you’ve probably shopped in one, and if you haven’t shopped in one you probably know what the concept is.”

“Superstore” previewed to audiences in early December. The comedy enters its normal Monday night 8 p.m. timeslot on Jan. 4.

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