When Superstore ended its third season in May,perpetual will they-won't they duo Amy (America Ferrera) and Jonah (Ben Feldman) made leaps and bounds in their relationship and in insane fashion, when they did the deed in the Cloud 9 photo lab. Thanks to a live stream that was unknowingly left on, their super racy, NSFW hookup was broadcast for everyone to see -- and we mean everyone. So does this mean they're officially a couple when season four kicks off? That is the looming question.
"It'll have been a number of months since the fallout of that [hookup]," creator Justin Spitzer tells ET, setting up Thursday's premiere. "We'll quickly learn that Amy and Jonah were suspended for a time and this is their first day back at work, the same day as the 'Back to School' sale. They'll be dealing with the awkwardness of seeing each other, as well as seeing everybody else, knowing that they have seen this sex tape out there."
"There's a lot of busy-ness and a lot of weirdness, and we deal with, in a very interesting way, with Amy and Jonah," Feldman tells ET, emphasizing that the state of Amy and Jonah's relationship, or whatever it is, is "dealt with" in the premiere.
But don't expect to see Amy, who spent her hiatus working another job at a bar and very pregnant, or Jonah to be wallowing over the humiliation of their public tryst. It'll actually beeveryone else at Cloud 9 who will be spending their hours at the big-box store gossiping about what went down.
"It’s less about, at least in the first episode, the relationship between Jonah and Amy as much as it is how the rest of the staff deals with Jonah and Amy, what they know and how they treat the two of them differently," Spitzer teases.
Adds Feldman, "The way it’s framed is in this greater conversation that we as a society are having in this #MeToo moment and the disparity between the sexes and the way things are handled on either side. It’s less about how Jonah and Amy are handling it and more about how everybody else is, and the difference between how people treat Jonah and how people treat Amy, and then their reactions to that. It’s one of those clever Superstore things where everyone’s asking, 'How are Jonah and Amy coping with everything?' They’re not. It’s everybody else who's ridiculous."
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As a result of the hookup, Jonah is given a new nickname by certain members of the Cloud 9 crew, "J-Bone," which Feldman says has now worked its way into his real life and "is also now on my trailer" -- a prank pulled by someone on the cast or crew on the show. (According to Feldman, it's still a mystery who's responsible.)
"I have no idea why my trailer says 'J-Bone.' I don’t know who is involved, whose idea it was, I don’t know who designed it, I don’t know who put it up there and I don’t care. I’m done asking," he says with a laugh. "Every day I go to work, everybody has their character names on their trailer -- 'Amy,' 'Dina' and mine just says 'J-Bone.' Once in a while, I’ll have family visiting and I would have to explain that everybody I work with is an idiot."
Not everything will be about Amy and Jonah, though. In classic Superstore fashion, the show will continue to explore themes and issues that middle-class Americans go through in their everyday lives, with Spitzer calling season four "the season of change." While the premiere addressed the #MeToo movement, future episodes will touch on unionization, immigration and workplace displacement due to automation.
"We've always tried to deal intermittently with real-world social issues, but not make it feel like an issue-of-the-week episode," Spitzer says. "This season, in general, will feel like a season of change more than any of the others. We set up the world over the last three seasons, and part of the theme of this show has been that the days go on and on, and things change very, very gradually, if at all. This is the season where people start to pursue relationships, careers, find their passions, figure out what they want to do with their lives [and] life changes. By the end, the characters will be at a very different place than they were at the beginning."
As for Amy and Dina's (Lauren Ash) pregnancies, Spitzer says both characters will give birth "pretty early on" in the season.
"The Dina plot will end up impacting Glenn a lot more, having a newborn [instead of] foster children. We talked a lot about is this Dina forming an attachment? Does she decide she wants to have her own child? We decided that, at least in the short term, that's not the Dina we enjoy watching," Spitzer notes. "I kind of like that for her, it truly was a business transaction -- she's not cold about it. She told herself she could do this logically and not become emotionally invested. We get a lot of comedy out of seeing her pregnant. Going forward, there's going to be a a little bit of a bond between her and Glenn now that she can't shake."
But if you're waiting with bated breath for any hint as to where Amy and Jonah stand romantically, Feldman wants fans to know that whatever happens between the pair this season -- whether they're together or not -- will be worth watching.
"Look, fans, we got you. It’s gonna be good. There’s going to be tension with Amy and Jonah. All the things that you love are all going to be there," Feldman promises. "I think what we present to the fans this season, they’re going to be really happy with. Anyone who’s shipping that relationship will have plenty more to ship."
Superstore premieres Thursday, Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.