Teaching with Superstore

Educators have spent the decades developing teaching resources in an effort to increase the relevance of their subject to their students. A growing trend over the past decade has been the use of pop culture in the classroom, namely because of the ease in which it can be streamed digitally. While “chalk and talk” remains the dominant form of instruction in many classrooms, the variety of resources available to educators has grown significantly. We have developed this particular site to focus on the ease in which the show Superstore can be used to teach economics and other related disciplines.

There are a variety of clip segments from the television show that can be used by educators in their classrooms or by students looking to for applications to concepts they may have learned about in class. Each scene segment includes a brief description with relevant information about the concepts covered in the scene. Educators or students who would like to add a segment to the site are encouraged to reach out! We have also prepared a separate page dedicated to teaching with media clips more broadly as well as a few short examples of how we’ve used scenes from the site in our classrooms.

The Show

Superstore is an NBC sitcom, created and starring Justin Spitzer as Jonah Simms. The show is filmed as a single-camera setting that follows the lives and everyday monotony of employees working at “Cloud 9”, a national big-box retailer in St. Louis, Missouri. Premiering in 2015, the show filmed for six seasons with spin-off series in the works. The show is critically acclaimed for its willingness to discuss issues relevant to the working class, but also the amount of diversity among the cast members. Of the seven cast members who appear regularly in the series, four are people of color. The cast also includes LGBTQ characters, characters of different body types, and characters who come from families of various class divides. Beyond having a diverse cast, the show actively discusses this diversity throughout the series.

Superstore has also been recognized among academics for its portrayal of class differences in the US media, which can be useful in classrooms discussing inequality or labor-related issues. The show has also been identified as a way that the media can defy neoliberal logic and promote democracy and equality. One of the recurring themes throughout the series is the tradeoff between efficiency and equality, a debate that some instructors find beneficial when discussing policy implications. Storylines in the show revolve around major social and political topics of the late 2010s including health insurance, unionization, unauthorized immigration.

For most of the series, Glenn is the store’s general manager, while Amy and Dina lead supervisory roles. In later episodes, Amy is promoted to store manager and Glenn assumes the role of floor supervisor. The scene descriptions provided on this site focus on the interaction between characters and the relevant concepts rather than provide backstory to the scene. For a detailed summary of character backstories and their connection to one another, we recommend visiting the Superstore Fandom wiki page.

The Clips

All clips and descriptions are used under Fair Use and intended for educational purposes in the classroom. The clips are hosted at www.criticalcommons.org along with many more videos that help teach different concepts in your classroom. Educators can apply for a free Instructor account with Critical Commons, which will provide download access to clips.

The Authors

This site was created by Jadrian Wooten and Brian Lynch as a supplemental resource for educators looking to use clips in the classroom. Both are economics educators who use a large amount of media in the classroom to teach key concepts across principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics.