Synopsis: Sympathetic old-school doughnut shop owner Arthur, his spunky young employee and aspiring artist, Franco, and their friends and patrons keep the shop going in a changing culturally-mixed inner city Chicago neighborhood.
FULL REVIEW: CONTAINS SPOILERS
When I heard that Superior Donuts was renewed for a second season I was surprised. The show has a great cast, but the stories never really wowed me and there was little to no development in any of the characters. However, it was a typical procedural sitcom that had archetypal characters reacting to topical situations so surely a second season could fix those problems right?
The main story of season two revolves around Franco’s (Jermaine Fowler) journey to Art School while continuing to work part-time at the donut-shop. Franco meets Sofia (Diane Guerrero) who works on a food truck on the street and they instantly have a connection, but their will-they-won’t-they is stopped when Franco meets fellow art student Tavi (Shamikah Martinez). While relationships play a bigger role this season, Franco and Arthur (Judd Hirsch) continue to deal with issues of race and identity in the ever-changing world around them.
I really wanted to love this show. For starters it has a great ensemble cast that included the familiar faces of Judd Hirsch (Taxi, Independence Day), Katey Sagal (Married… with Children, Sons of Anarchy) and David Koechner (Anchorman, The Office). They even added Orange is the New Black’s Diane Guerrero. The show continued to tackle the issues of identity and race as storylines focused on police brutality, homelessness, LGBT themes, racism and immigration. Between the cast and the serious yet humour-filled reflection of society it hoped to portray, this show should have been a massive hit, but unfortunately it continued to deliver much of the same as its initial season.
The show continues to give little to no development to its characters as it glosses over some of its storylines, showing a clear bias to focus on specific themes, while making sure to feel inclusive along the way. The themes of LGBT sexuality and identity as well as the socio-economic world and unemployment are glossed over in short, episodic stories to focus on the more topical and central theme of the show: racism and the current issues surrounding it relating to police brutality and immigration. The issue is that none of these topical narratives hit home on their message as the same one-dimensional characters make the same repetitive remarks about these situations.
The problem this show has is that it lost one of the most important characters in this debate. Season one saw the introduction of Officer James Jordan (Darien Sillis-Evans), a geeky African-American police officer and partner of Randy, who could have easily helped push these topical themes to their limits and show the reality of both perspectives on these issues. While they try to do this with Randy throughout the season, the message is lost as she isn’t a character who can relate to both sides. Losing this character in season two and not replacing them with a similar character was a big hit to the central theme that this show hoped to tackle.
This season of Superior Donuts is a topical sitcom that focuses on the real problems of the world we live in today from the perspective of the average person. While the cast give decent performances and the stories try to shed light on important issues, the annoying laugh track and inability to leave a lasting message cause this donut shop to come up stale. From its cast and premise this show should have been great, but after two seasons it continued to focus on cheap laughs and misfires on their stories so I’m gonna say it’s not worth the watch.
What did you think of Superior Donuts? Let me know in the comments!
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