How Superstore Tried To Subvert The Typical Sitcom Romance

Everyone has a favorite frustrating, giddy-making, eventually perfect sitcom ship. Your Ross and Rachel. Your Nick and Jess. Your Jim and Pam. For me, for a while, the grand prize for TV's best will-they/won't-they relationship went to Amy (America Ferrera) and Jonah (Ben Feldman) from NBC's "Superstore." The working-class, go-getter single mom was perfectly complemented by her kind, progressive, rich boy coworker, and the pair had chemistry off the charts. Despite their palpable sexual tension and compatibility that no amount of sitcom tomfoolery could tamp down, Jonah and Amy went through many, many ups and downs over the course of the sitcom's six-season run. And that was by design.

Back when the big box-set store was still new, series creator Justin Spitzer spoke to Vox about his recipe for a good slow-burn romance. His recipe, it turns out, is to throw everything in the pot at once. The showrunner, who eventually left the series after four seasons, explained that he intended to throw enough major obstacles between the pair to make viewers wonder not when the couple will get together, but if they ever actually will. "You really want to create some question around whether you will get them together," Spitzer explained.

The filmmaker noted that sitcoms typically have two major obstacles standing in the way of will-they/won't-they couples. "One is that they don't seem to like each other too much," Spitzer said, citing Sam and Diane from "Cheers" as a classic example. "They like each other, but they hate each other." Spitzer goes on to say that alternately, one or the other could be in a relationship, as with Niles and Daphne on "Frasier." These are, of course, basic rom-com devices the showrunner is adhering to here, but he also decided to one up the wonderful torture for fans of the ship by mixing them together.

Lay those obstacles on thick

"I just decided to do both of them for Jonah and Amy," Spitzer said, "to create as big an obstacle as possible so that will-they/won't-they could be as slow a burn as possible." And slow burn it did. The couple eventually got their happy ending, but not before overcoming exes, career changes, another man's baby, their first time being inadvertently livestreamed to the world, and one perfect, epic kiss in the middle of a tornado. Not to mention, Ferrera briefly left the show. On paper, this all sounds melodramatic, but the pair was actually incredibly funny together, with the two actors playing off one another's energy in a way that was endlessly fun to watch.

And despite Ferrera leaving the show during its final stretch, the pair still ended up together in the finale. The series was canceled once half of its season six episodes had already been filmed, but showrunners Jonathan Green and Gabe Miller were able to get Ferrera back for the final two episodes to prove once and for all that Amy and Jonah are a "they will" couple. "When I first met you, I thought you were the most annoying person I'd ever met," Amy tells Jonah as the pair prepare to close down Cloud 9 for good. "And yet, here we are. And my life is so much better than it was, because of you." Then Jonah pulls Amy into a heart-stoppingly romantic kiss, and suddenly, all those seasons of endless sitcom obstacles feel like they were worth it.