“Superstore” will air a special Olympics-themed episode on Aug. 19, a month before its official Sept. 22 premiere on NBC. At the Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday, creator Justin Spitzer said the writers designed the episode, which will feature guest stars Cecily Strong, Apolo Anton Ohno, Tara Lipinski and McKayla Maroney, to be easy for new viewers latch on to.
“It’s a great opportunity to find new viewers, and you have to work very hard to make it an excellent episode,” Spitzer said.
The episode won’t continue the storyline of the season one finale, in which the employees went on strike. Spitzer said that viewers should assume the Olympics episode takes place some time during season one.
However the union plot will be picked up when the show comes back in September and “Superstore” will return to it throughout season two.
Other season two episodes will touch on bathroom use by transgender people, the morning-after pill and open-carry laws.
“But we’re not an issue show,” star and producer America Ferrera said.
Spitzer explained that the show was not particularly interested in taking sides on any topic that may be in the news. ”We like to talk about big issues,” Spitzer said. “NBC has been nothing but supportive and has never said that something was too political.”
“To me, that was the major appeal of this show and this world that Justin set up,” Ferrera said. “We’re representing working-class people in a setting that is the intersection of American consumerism and every race, religion and background. It’s so ripe to have any conversation you want without it feeling forced.”
Spitzer said that the relationship between Jonah (Ben Feldman) and Amy (Ferrera) would continue to be a “will they/won’t they” situation, but he noted that the show has made it difficult for them to ever become a couple, given that Amy is married.
There will be other “unexpected romances” among other characters, however, according to Ferrera. Viewers will find out that Mateo (Nico Santos) is undocumented, but that’s far from his only storyline. The character will get a love interest and also will “try to climb the corporate ladder any way he can,” said Santos.
An episode of “Superstore” will air on election day and “will be about that,” Spitzer said, and other episodes will revolve around holidays like Halloween.