'Superstore' Creator Breaks Down Amy & Jonah's Shocking Finale Moment (Exclusive)
By Philiana Ng
Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Thursday's Superstore finale. Believe us, you will be sorry.
Amy and Jonah did what?!
On Thursday's Superstore finale, titled "Town Hall," after weeks (really, seasons) of will they-won't they tension -- with a few kisses sprinkled in -- that culminated in an all-too-real confrontation about their romantic stalemate, Amy (America Ferrera) and Jonah (Ben Feldman) went all the way, having sex in the photo room of the Cloud 9 store in a "wild and unexpected" moment. Jonah pulling Amy in for a kiss after they decided to have "a fresh start" was quite the romantic play, but everything else after that was just flat out racy.
That's not even the embarrassing part: Amy and Jonah's sexual escapade was broadcast worldwide for all Cloud 9 shoppers to see, unbeknownst to them. Yup, their fellow Cloud 9 colleagues will have seen all their business. Oops. Complicating all of that? Amy's pregnancy with ex Adam's child. Jonah's abrupt breakup with Kelly. Things are going to get very messy over at Superstore when season four rolls around.
Following Thursday's season three closer, ET spoke with creator Justin Spitzer about the decision to have Amy and Jonah go there with their relationship, the consequences for their NSFW actions and why writing in Ferrera's real-life pregnancy into her character's storyline was "controversial" in the writers' room.
ET: A few weeks ago, Ben Feldman told me the finale would have a “wild and unexpected” moment between Amy and Jonah. He wasn’t kidding. This is quite a risky finale for Superstore, with Amy and Jonah having sex for the first time in very public fashion. Where did the idea come from to end the season this way?
Justin Spitzer: That’s an idea I’ve had for years that I always thought would be a funny incident to have happened to Jonah and Amy, or any of our two characters who had a romance at any point. We hadn’t planned to do it now. It felt like something that would happen a little later, maybe after a couple got together. We wanted to do something big, something that felt like more than just a kiss because we’ve seen them kiss a few times now -- and something that would take people by surprise.
Were you nervous about going too far?
As far as my fears, I was a little nervous -- and still, I guess, am about the pace of the relationship. It’s a very, very big move on this will they-won’t they that we’ve struggled to control the pace of and let the moves trickle out little by little. We had a big chunk of the season -- in the last third, there were two episodes in a row that really hit the Jonah and Amy hard, and this is a big move forward that could lead to any number of things. But it’s something that’s going to change their relationship. In terms of showing what we showed, that less [nervous about]. I love pushing the envelope as much as NBC will let me and they’ve always been very encouraging. We understand what we can show and what we can’t. I was excited about doing something I haven’t seen and I haven’t seen that move done.
You mentioned not exactly planning for Amy and Jonah having sex to be something that would happen at the end of this season. How has that relationship accelerated a lot faster than you anticipated or planned for?
Always with this relationship, I’ve been always [hitting] the brakes. We constantly try to not do too much too fast, to keep this will they-won’t they going. Each time we’ve done something, it’s because it felt inevitable. This is the time. I can’t make a good argument why we shouldn’t do this. The kiss in the tornado [in the season two finale], we did it both ways -- with and without the kiss -- and this run where they admit their feelings to each other and everyone sees the tap, those were all moves that we talked about and we tried to restrain ourselves until it felt right. Until we had no choice. The thing about the sex in this finale is it’s the only time where we made the conscious decision to jump forward and do something that, yeah, maybe we didn’t quite have to go that far yet, but that’s the fun of it. In that respect, if you want to do something surprising, you kind of have to do it before you’re ready for it.
This changes the game for Amy and Jonah. Is this a firable offense? What can you say about the consequences that may be coming their way?
They’re definitely going to have to deal with the ramifications of everyone knowing that they had sex, which will be creepy and weird. We as a show will have to address it in some way. I don’t know that next season is going to be that they’ve been fired for this infraction. I think there are ways we can get around that aspect of things. We’ve seen far worse things happen this season and you could make the argument that this is after hours. (Laughs.) The bigger thing will be that these two people have been intimate and everyone in the world knows about it and what that’ll do for their relationship.
Does this mean the outlook for them to become something more official has gotten brighter?
I don’t know where we’re going to come in next season, if they’re going to be together or if they’re not going to be together. I know things are going to be changed now and we’ll have to figure out what that means for them. But at the very least, it shows that this is not Amy going back to her old life. She’s not getting back together with Adam and back to the status quo. She has changed. Just because she had a baby with Adam as a teenager and a baby with Adam now, she is a different person. It’s like that proverb, you can’t dip your toe in the same stream twice. Things are different enough for her now that this is not a step backward, it’s just something else in life she has to contend with.
Jonah has been guilty of making pretty bold decisions when it comes to his relationships over the course of the show, his breakup with Kelly being no different. But this one feels a bit more serious because of what happened next. Where do Jonah and Kelly stand?
All the characters are essentially moral characters in their own way. Sometimes, that can come out in ways that are harmful. When Jonah broke up with Kelly, it felt like he was being a jerk, but he’s the kind of guy who speaks truthfully without taking the time to think about whether this is the correct thing to say or the best time to say it. For him, when it comes to Kelly, it just sort of hits him that, “Wow, I don’t want to be in this relationship,” and he just said it. It wasn’t in a way that was trying to hurt her even though it comes across as being hurtful. We always try to keep things real and not give a character an easy out just to make the storytelling easy. It would’ve been easiest to say, well, Kelly decided she wasn’t interested in Jonah or Kelly’s ex-boyfriend came back into the picture. That’s usually not the way it happens for us; in the breakup, someone has to be the bad guy in that situation.
Is Kelly still in the picture?
We’ll have future opportunities to explore the ugliness between Jonah and Kelly. We definitely touched on it in this episode, but we didn’t want this to be about Jonah and Kelly that much.
How much discussion did you have with America about whether or not to incorporate her real-life pregnancy into the show?
We had a lot of conversations about it. She told me very early on that she [and her husband] were going to start trying, but we obviously couldn’t write it in at that point. Early on, she and I had had some discussions about whether Amy should be the one who is the surrogate for Glenn’s baby and we decided that there were too many unknowns to make that call. And also, it would seem like a lot of fun for Dina to be that person. When she did get pregnant and she was announcing it, we had the discussion again about whether we should play that or not. We didn’t know if she would be showing onscreen or not, and it turns out she wasn’t while we were still filming. We could have hidden it. After she and I talked, we talked to the writers and we decided it would be very messy and possibly seem like a step back to have her pregnant and that’s what we liked -- that that’s one more difficulty she’ll have to get through being single and pregnant. We liked what it did for her struggle next season.
Many fans were vocal on social media about their dislike that Amy was pregnant. How much stock do you put on fan reactions when it comes to certain story points, especially this one?
I was a little surprised about how much some people were unhappy about it, but I knew it was controversial. Truthfully, it was even controversial in our writers’ room. We had a lot of discussions about what this meant because we really didn’t have to do it; we did do it at the end of the season. It was an extra struggle. It felt like, were we making Amy’s life too difficult? In the end, that was the reason we decided to do it. It felt like, let’s give her one more difficulty to get over next season and she will. We have some ideas in mind next season where we’ll use the fact that her life is more difficult as a story point. I wonder if some of the reaction is they’re perceiving that Amy now can’t be with Jonah because she’s pregnant with someone else’s baby. I’ll be curious to look on Twitter after the finale to see if people are just as upset about it now that we made this move.
You have two characters who are pregnant, Amy and Dina. Is that going to be something we’ll see play out close to real time in season four?
The writers haven’t started on season four yet and we have some general inklings. But yeah, we’re going to come in and Amy and Dina are both going to be pregnant -- I don’t know how much of a time jump there’ll be. I can’t say that we’re going to see them give birth on the show, but it’s possible. And I think it’ll be a lot of fun for the first part of the season of them both be pregnant at the same time.
Do you have a blueprint for what you want to tackle next season?
We’re looking to do a more serialized season to really arc out the season from beginning to end. I think it’s going to deal with workers’ rights and organizing and unionization. I think it’s going to be a more exciting, more energetic season. We’re jumping into the exciting part of the movie where things start to change and I know that whatever Amy is at the beginning of season five, she’ll be a fundamentally different character than at the end of season three.
Lauren Ash wrote an episode this season, and America Ferrera and Ben Feldman both directed episodes. Are there plans for other castmembers to have a behind-the-scenes role in season four?
Next year, Mark McKinney is going to be directing an episode. America may direct an episode -- she’ll have a newborn, so if she’s up for it. I would definitely love Ben to direct again too if that could work out, but the cast has to act at some point too, so we’re trying to get everyone a chance. We’ve talked with Colton [Dunn] about writing an episode, so that could happen, and we would love Lauren to do another one because she did such an amazing job.