Lauren Ash Reassures Fans That 'Superstore' Season Finale Wasn't Ruined by Coronavirus (Exclusive)
By Emily Krauser
If you've watched the Superstore finale, here's what showrunners Jonathan Green and Gabe Miller had to say about the cliffhanger and what season 6 will look like without America Ferrera.
Lauren Ash is here to make you feel better.
The 37-year-old actress, who plays Dina on Superstore, has heard all about the "lore" surrounding the beloved NBC sitcom's season five finale.
Originally, tonight's finale, "California, Part 1," was supposed to be, as the episode's name implies, one of two that would wrap up this season. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the filming got shut down just one week before they were supposed to wrap, meaning the cast and crew only got to complete the first half.
It turns out, that may have been a blessing in disguise -- save for the fact that the Superstore cast misses one another, of course.
"What's really amazing is that even though we intended to shoot one more episode in season five, when we kind of stepped back, this episode was like, 'Oh, wow, this really works as a finale.' Like it really, really does," Ash assured ET in a phone interview this week. "So, I'm really excited for people to get to continue to see the story."
"I can promise everybody that the Amy storyline will probably bleed over into early season six to ensure that it's handled in the way that they creatively want to handle it. So nobody needs to panic!" the She-Ra and the Princesses of Powervoice actress says. "They're committed to ensuring that we tell the stories the way we want to tell them."
Thursday's episode is major for that very reason, as Amy has a big job offer and may potentially move to another state. "She confides that in Dina, and Dina tried her best to help her keep that secret, and I don't think I need to tell you, Dina is not great at it!" Ash says of the now-final episode of season five. "It's a great episode and I'm excited for people to get to see it. I know other shows had whole chunks of episodes get canned because they had to shut down, so we're pretty lucky, and it really did ironically work out."
Despite the coronavirus affecting not just all of Hollywood but everyone around the world, Ash is still managing to see her friends (from a safe distance!) and keep up that Cloud 9 spirit. During the finale, she will be live-viewing the episode with pal Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), which they also did last week, and Ferrera will be on Ash's Thursday episode of her Instagram show, Live With Lauren.
Not only that, but the Superstore cast has already been on a Zoom call together, and their group text chain was going off as Ash chatted with ET. Happily, she even saw Ferrera -- who's expecting her second child with husband Ryan Piers Williams -- earlier this week.
"Listen, we're in for life now. She and her husband dropped something off to me the other day. They put it at the edge of my property, they were at least 30 feet from me -- nobody worry, we were doing it right!" the Canadian-born actress recalls. "We shouted the conversation, me from my front door to her in her car. It was very sad and bizarre that I couldn't hug that tiny pregnant body right now, which I would have loved to do."
Ferrera starred as Cloud 9 manager Amy Sosa and also served as an executive producer. She had been with Superstore since its inception in 2015 and directed a handful of season five episodes. When news broke of her departure in February, the show had already been renewed for season six, and Ash admitted to ET that it will be very weird not having her good pal on set anymore.
"It's gonna be strange, certainly. Obviously, it's emotional for me that my friend I've been at work with every day for the past five years is not going to be there anymore, so that's very sad," Ash says. "It was very emotional when she had the conversation with me about all this. But you know, I really believe that she's made the right choice for her and that makes me excited for her. While the show obviously will not be the same both for us to film it and also in terms of the plot of the show and the story and the characters, I'm also excited to see what happens."
"We're pretty solid in these characters now after five years, so going into season six, it's gonna be interesting to see what does the show become? And I can't answer that -- they haven't started writing it yet!" she adds. "But I think that's kind of a cool, interesting opportunity. I'm very, very sad that she's not gonna be there anymore, but I'm also excited to see where we take it."