Portrayed by: America Ferrera
Show: NBC’s Superstore
Superstore often served as our lens into what it’s actually like working in retail and while some things were glorified to a degree, for the most part it remained accurate in depicting just how trapped a person can feel. And this was easily achieved through the eyes of a main character like Amy Sosa. She was our eyes and ears and even after she was gone, she was still the character I feel it’s safe to assume most of us connected to. She was, in every way, the heart of the series.
America Ferrera’s Amy Sosa was, in a lot of ways a representation of so many of us who’ve ever felt stuck and that’s something she embodied remarkably throughout the series through her means of constantly trying. Superstore brought us a plethora of relatable characters and the fascinating part about Amy was that even if you’re more like a Jonah or a Dina, there’s something so incredibly relatable about Amy’s realism.
It’s especially easy to understand why she has the kind of reservations she has and why she operates as she does. We get glimpses into Amy’s childhood in the way that her behavior stems towards someone who must abide by the rules because it’s what she has always had to do, and it’s what she needs to do. A white man could get away with fooling around at work, but a Latina woman (or any of the characters from marginalized communities), simply put, cannot. They cannot always afford the luxury of optimism or idealism when their world has been so vastly different and the way that they’ve been treated in the world isn’t the same either.
My favorite thing about Amy Sosa, from the very first episode wasn’t that she was negative because there’s a tremendous difference between negativity and realism. From the first episode, we were given a glimpse into the eyes of a woman who’s clearly been through a lot and who’s just trying even while she’s still entirely complete in how she’s represented. Because ultimately so few women on TV really get to admit that they aren’t doing okay when they are the leads of the series. The reality is that while we all want to be badass, we’ve got the skewed perception (partly because of media), which tells us that the title only comes when we’ve got everything together, but that’s never the case.
You can be a badass woman and a floor supervisor who’s frustrated beyond words with her job and marriage. You can be a badass woman and choose the guy in the end too. You can be a badass woman while people presume that you’re one thing, when you’re really not. That’s the thing with Amy that’s always been so riveting, especially seeing through the eyes of Jonah, which is how we learn that seldom does she choose herself.
Amy is an incredibly hard worker and she has presumably done that since as long as she could work, but what’s always been so heartbreaking and what stood out was Amy’s inability to take chances on herself because that is what happens sometimes when people constantly have to prove themselves. People who should believe in themselves, people who are capable of so much more and can do great things get stuck because they just don’t know how and they are seldom given opportunities to shine. The process of moving forward is tied to too many things and too many people and so often, it is easier to stay where you are comfortable, than to move forward.
You stay not because you want to or because you believe that is what you deserve but because the world tells you that opportunities are scarce and sometimes, doing things for yourself is hard when you’re especially used to finding ways to make others happy.
Amy Sosa was the kind of person who looked out for everyone while no one turned to really see her and then when they finally did it was jarring because the universe just doesn’t operate that way. You aren’t used it. It’s not the way it’s supposed to go–only it is. People are supposed to take what you give and return it back to you.
Amy may have seemed like a realist in a number of scenarios, but more than that she was always loyal, and the woman rightfully loved chips; we have no choice but to stan. Amy was fiercely loyal and she was especially loyal even after she left, which is entirely why it worked because the store was never just a job for her, and the associates were always family to her. She is there for each of them when they need help with something personal and she’s there when each of them need someone to listen to.
And the reason the series finale works so well is because Amy is just the kind of person (and the kind of former boss) who you could call when the store is being threatened. Because from day one, Amy made sure that each of them knew she was someone they could rely on. Though she left and though things weren’t peachy, she was still the only person they would all feel safe enough to call and confide it. And ultimately, there aren’t many people like that in a workplace or in life for a lot of people. Amy was, in a plethora of ways, the healthiest female figure Cheyenne had to look up to. Amy was, in a plethora of ways, the one constant in Dina’s life. And Amy Sosa was, in every way, the backbone of Cloud 9.
It’s why the show could never work without her because her character was too much of an important presence, flaws and all—she was the heart of the series. She was the one person we as the audience could look to with understanding and feel a little less alone when we were feeling particularly stuck.
In the midst of all this what we seldom saw on screen as much, but knew of was that Amy was in a marriage that didn’t help her grow, but instead left her even more drained. She did everything that she did while raising a daughter then a few years later, another child. She was, in every sense of the word, a superwoman as they come. We watched her bring to life people we’ve met in our real lives and we watched her do so with a type of realism that was utterly inspiring. When Amy got her big break, it was easy to feel like our time will eventually come too, even if we’re not fueled with constant enthusiasm about when the time will be.
When Superstore premiered, I was still working at my job in Barnes and Noble and desperate to get out. I was still there and still hating everything and utterly terrified that the day might never come. And then I found another job that I somehow hated even more, which made matters even worse because it got harder to believe in the moments of beauty. Then things started picking up and the pandemic hit and I imagine I speak for a lot of us when I say that there were too many days where the idea of moments of beauty seemed like they’d never come. (It might still feel this way.)
Amy’s character made us feel a little alone with her realistic outlook on life because that’s how it is some days. The ways in which Amy’s character was grounded in reality made it easy to feel a little less alone about not having things together because that still meant that in every way, she was a badass. She was still the one person people respected deeply and the one person people cared so much about thus, showcasing that you don’t have to be a superhero, but an incredibly hard working person who doesn’t have it together all the time.
And that’s what easily made Amy such a special character because we were able to relate to how real she was. She was incredibly badass, complex, hilarious, straightforward, trustworthy, and beautifully loyal even while she was figuring everything out. She was whole and complete even while she didn’t have everything together. Flaws and all, Amy Sosa is one of the comedy queens we’ll always be thankful for.
We can’t end this without a hearty thank you to America Ferrera for bringing the character to life with masterful performances every time—it was always the simple moments that have proven to be so memorable and we’re grateful to have seen the character’s arc come to a joyful conclusion.
For more Superstore Character Deep Dives, read all about our thoughts on Jonah Simms as well.