Character Deep Dive: Jonah Simms

Ben Feldman as Jonah Simms in Superstore.
Source: NBC

Portrayed by: Ben Feldman
Show: NBC’s Superstore

Truth: I wish I worked with a Jonah Simms who made it his objective to present me with a moment of beauty on his first day of work. What a gem, right? (Then to carry this on until the end of whenever? Here for it.) I’ve always been fond of Ben Feldman’s roles, but never once did I care for a character as quickly as Superstore’s newest employee in its Pilot episode. And that says a great deal about not only how fantastic the show has been during its six-season run, but how incredible the writing for his character has been from the start.

There’s not a single character on Superstore that isn’t ridiculously intriguing, but what we’re able to see through Jonah is unmatched. We are who we are as a reflection of how we introduce ourselves, and yes, perhaps we’ve all had moments where we weren’t the most pleasant version of ourselves when we met someone, but when given the chance to redeem ourselves we’ve done so. Jonah Simms isn’t always great at making first impressions, but in his character, we can find someone who undoubtedly cares about being someone whose presence is worthwhile. Through his ridiculous sense of humor, inherent kindness, and a steadfast loyalty—Jonah should be the employee of the month … every month.

Jonah Simms is the definition of a character who’s constantly challenging himself and here at Marvelous Geeks, we’re always fond of those who find new ways to set the bar high or become better versions of themselves. And with Jonah, for six seasons, he has not only found new ways to make the retail experience entertaining, but he has found ways to be a better person who contributes to making a difference in the real world.

Sometimes it’s making the ceiling look like the sky, other times it’s finding not-so-smart ways to organize soda cans to make them form the shape of a smile. And that easily makes him an entertaining character, but it’s Jonah’s kindness towards the entire staff that makes him an admirable character. And though everything he says or does is often masked with humor, it’s tastefully done.

Jonah’s kindness was the first thing I was taken aback by when I first began watching Superstore—it’s there so boldly in the first episode that it’s almost hard to imagine how he could continue bettering himself, but alas, he does so. When Mateo wasn’t always nice to him, he was willing to help him out in whatever way need be. When someone like Marcus deserved to be fired, he made sure to talk Amy against it by giving her a new perspective to look at it. And most importantly, what Jonah’s done for Amy Sosa is the best of them all—as someone who very seldom does things for herself, Jonah’s prioritized her happiness. When he found the money in the cargo shorts, he was persistent that she chooses to do whatever it is she wants without listening to the requests anyone else has.

He has chosen to ceaselessly do or say whatever he possibly can in order to ensure that she finds the happiness and escape that she deserves. He’s made it his priority to remind her to take breaks, choose for herself, and listen to the voice inside of her even when she didn’t want to. His selflessness towards her has made him out to be the healthiest friend she could ever have and that later turns into the healthiest, the most patient partner she could have. And without getting into the two of them as a couple because that’s not what this post is about, I can’t help but appreciate the fact that Jonah never overstepped his boundaries with Amy—minus the bursts of something explicit in earlier days, which he tried to cover up, but all he’s essentially done is try to make her life a little easier.

Jonah’s loyalty to his friends and his morals have done the most noticeable job of exhibiting the vast adoration within his heart. Cloud 9 employees mean a great deal to him and even if he doesn’t agree with all of them and their beliefs, it does not change the fact that if any of them ever needed him, he would be there. He would be there in a heartbeat and do everything in his power to find the best solution to whatever dilemma they’re facing. And sometimes, loyalty is helping out a little girl whose mother is incredibly busy by buying all the pads for her (literally) because she just started her period for the first time. 90% of men would run in the opposite direction if something like this ever happened to them, but Jonah’s choice to understand that he’s the only one who could be somewhat useful right now and doing everything in his power to give her anything she could potentially need was the perfect showcase of his loyalty. There’s nothing Jonah Simms wouldn’t do for his friends without complaining.

And most importantly, perhaps what’s always and easily made him a favorite for us has been the fact that he hasn’t shied away from his emotions. Jonah’s been enthusiastic. He’s been openly heartbroken. He’s been confused. And he’s shown the audience so much of that allowing us not only inside of his head but revealing parts of himself to his coworkers that inspired them in the process. It’s largely why his outburst to the news reporter in the final episode works so well because it’s all led to this moment. Jonah was always capable of something great like running for City Council, but he stayed in this store because he loved his coworkers and he was genuinely under the belief that they were all doing something useful. (Which they were as this final showcased the vast importance of store employees and how much we rely on them.)

Jonah’s work ethic was often rooted in his emotional drive. He genuinely wanted to do right by people. He wanted to help people. He wanted to be useful. He wanted people to see themselves at their highest potential. He wanted people to achieve their dreams. He came to work every single day, stood in front of his coworkers every single day–rain or shine and always put their happiness above his own. Whatever they valued, he’d hold to a high standard. Wherever they went, he’d care to know that they were okay. There are so few people who are just genuinely good and try constantly better themselves, and from the moment he graced our screens, Jonah has been one of those people.

His character has always been a source of heart, humor, and life. We don’t always have heavenly days, but when surrounded by incredible people, life can be pretty beautiful. And people as genuinely kind as Jonah are the reason such days are even possible. Jonah sees people as they are and as they could be—accepting the best and worst parts of them without hesitation.

It’s characters like Jonah Simms that deserve greatness, but they choose to shower the rest of the world with it instead. He hates guns and he deserves an award alone for that, the more we got to know Jonah, the more it was easy to appreciate him, especially when he was a hot blubbering mess constantly tripping over himself and his words. His humor was often rooted in the overflow of his emotions and it worked phenomenally in creating a perfectly flawed character worthy of all things good because he always tried.

He chose to continue helping people by taking his passions into the real world and we know, with utmost certainty that he’d use his experiences in order to help those who need it most. In the end, he got the girl, the family, the friends, and he turned his dreams into a reality.

Finally, we can’t end this without a hearty kudos to Ben Feldman’s inimitable portrayal of the character — week after week, he layered and touched on each of Jonah Simms’ emotions masterfully.

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