Monday, March 29, 2021

Farewell to "Superstore"

I came to "Superstore" when it was already several seasons in and loved it and then got concerned enough with one plot shift, that I wasn't able to enjoy the rest. It's mostly a me problem, so I won't go into it here. 
In addition to being a show that showed many of the weird truths about working retail, both good, bad, and just awkward, like the corporate cloud that was sad about racism, it did a thing that I really don't think has been done on TV before*. 

Sandra, who was played by Kaliko Kauahi was a part Hawaiian character who didn't happen live in Hawaii. Obviously I care about this because I am also a diaspora Hawaiian. But I want to note that this is fairly true across American media, the rare times Indigenous people are portrayed they are always just there because they have been in the same place for a few hundred years. Think about this, have you ever watched a show with a Cherokee character in Florida? An Inuit in California? I'm pretty sure I haven't. But there are characters from Florida in shows set in New York or Indiana.

And look, I've also never seen a show about Asian Americans set in the South, so there are lots of ways and axes along which media could do better. 

But Superstore did this one thing. And Sandra was odd and weird, but not because she was Hawaiian, she was a Hawaiian character who was odd and weird. Thanks to the show for letting me see that.

Here's a wonderful interview Indiginerd did a while back with Kauahi.

*I am happy to be wrong about this being the first.  Feel free to let me know.  Note that Sandra did become a main character, so the fact that several shows set in Hawaii have had supporting characters played by Hawaiians, which was nice but not what I was talking about here.  

Edited to correct typos.