Its is pretty clear that the Superstore writers, under the leadership of the show’s creator Justin Spitzer, have some political bones to pick in this episode. “Guns, Pills and Birds” tackles “pro-life” and gun control while promoting a great common sense message.
“Act like a grownup.”
Jonah is put on the gun counter and as he literally knows nothing about weapons and has a moral aversion to selling guns he asks to be taken off. When Amy agrees to move him this opens up a stream of other Cloud 9 employees wanting to trade jobs.
The end result is Jonah ends up working the gun counter. Nervous and slightly paranoid, everything gets worse for him when the second customer of the day is clearly mentally disturbed and wants a rifle.
He asks Amy for guidance and she explains he should use his common sense and refuse to sell weapons to people who look like they have no business owning one.
With his paranoia hitting full swing, Jonah refuses to sell guns to anyone. Gun owners then lead a protest. All of them are, presumably, NRA members, and they show up en masse exerting their right to “open carry.”
Meanwhile, Glenn has issues about the pharmacy selling “morning after” pills and buys the lot. Realizing how expensive they are he then tries to sell the pills to customers with “a small amount added on to support pro-life…”
At the same time a raven, or crow, has gotten into the store and Garrett, who dislikes the creatures, gets a little crazy. Dina, who is a gun owner, wants to get the bird out without killing it. She enlists the aid of Cloud 9 sycophant Mateo.
On top of all this chaos, Amy loses her “alone time” where she planned to eat french bread pizza and watch Freddy Prinze Jr. on television. This cranks her stress levels up and lowers her patience factor.
All the other Cloud 9 employees watch the Amy/Jonah battle over the gun counter and tell the two to, in essence, “get a room.”
This episode of Superstore looks at the issue of gun control humorously but effectively. Jonah is the face of gun control. He clearly knows nothing about weapons and because of this wants to keep them out of the hands of everyone who would own one.
However, Spitzer and his team are pretty even handed in parceling out the hits on both pro and anti gun. The gun owners are presented as a group of whiny, overeager people who all cock and aim their guns at a single crow in the store. A building full of people. The message is simple:
Gun owners do not care about other people’s safety.
There is hope however. As proven with Garrett’s near phobia about birds. Near the end of the episode, a crow lands on the table where Garrett is eating french fries. The bird starts calmly eating the fries. At first things are a bit tense for Garrett but he soon relaxes releasing that the bird just wants to eat.
He begins talking to the bird. Garrett’s personal fears and prejudices about the “flying dinosaur” are unfounded.
To drive home the point that perhaps all is not lost in the issues of gun control and pro-life the final gag of the episode hammers home a solution.
As Garrett sits talking to the bird eating his lunch, Dina and Mateo sneak up and capture the creature in a Cloud 9 plastic bag. Dina wraps the bird up and hands it to Mateo. “Take care of it,” she says. Mateo echoes the statement and Dina repeats the order.
As Dina stands talking to Garrett, Mateo “takes care of the bird” by beating it to death on the store floor. Dina comes over to release the bird and is horrified to find a bag full of blood.
The final message is an intelligent bit of common sense hidden amidst that horrified laughter at Mateo’s murder of the crow.
Effective communication is the key here.
Talking to one another, explaining clearly and listening are all the ingredients needed to sort these issues out.
That and, as Amy says, acting like grownups.
Superstore airs Thursdays on NBC.