A Writing Lesson from Superstore

I have this habit of watching television during my lunch break (ah, the joys of working from home and for yourself). I just finished Grey’s Anatomy (well, the good seasons of the show), and I was desperate to find something new. As I was flipping through Hulu, I saw that Superstore was featured. 

Just to give you some backstory, I had seen ads for Superstore in the past, and I thought the show looked dumb. Really, really dumb. As in, get me a blindfold (a la Sandra Bullock) so I can just avoid seeing the ads. 

But a friend recommended it. She said that the ads were terrible, but the show was amazing. 

This was true for Parks and Recreation, so I pressed play on the first episode.

And I was hooked.

What won over skeptical me?

The characters.

What makes the show funny? 

The characters.

For example, Dina Fox (gotta love the last name) is an intense person who lives by the rules. Garrett is an employee that will only do the bare minimum. In one episode, Dina and Garrett engage in a battle over how long you can take a bathroom break based on the store rules. What makes the exchange funny is the conflict between the opposite personalities. 

What makes me keep watching?

Because I care about the characters.

In one episode, we discover that Amy is unhappy with her marriage. In the same episode, Glenn desperately wants to try to cheer up employees because he is afraid they might be depressed. Throughout the episode, he tries to dress as a clown and play silly pranks to improve people’s moods. This is obviously ineffective. However, at the end of the episode, Amy confesses her marriage troubles to Glenn, and he just listens to her. And he is finally able to help someone feel better by just simply letting Amy speak her fears.

I am not gonna lie: I teared up. 

You see? Characters are everything in a story.  Their desires are what drive the plot. Their quirks are what make comedy. Their moments of empathy are what makes the audience love them.

My challenge to you is to spend time today getting to know your characters. Interview them. Make a playlist for them. Draw them. Create a Pinterest board for them. Even just thinking about them can help.

Do you need help developing characters? For the first time ever, I will help you make one character complex and engaging in an hour for $147. If you are interested in grabbing one of the three spots, hit reply to this email.  

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