From school hallways to Cloud 9 aisles! Superstore’s Dina and Amy may have went to the same high school — well, if Lauren Ash and America Ferrera got their way.
“America and I really want Dina and Amy to have gone to high school together but we’ve just never addressed it,” Ash, 34, exclusively tells Us Weekly. “We force that into [takes] so often. Of course they’ve never used it yet.”
The theory wouldn’t be too far-fetched. The coworkers banter often like they have a history. (Ahem, like when Dina reminds Amy of her divorce every other day.) Bonus: This bickering will next take place outside the store during the “Christmas Eve” episode, which airs on Tuesday, December 5.
“As always there is obviously going to be capering and hijinks. It is the holiday season after all. Perhaps some alcohol mixed in with some communal hot chocolate. Insanity ensues,” Ash reveals. “I’m really excited for people to see it because there is a great team up of Amy, Dina and Cheyenne [Nichole Bloom]. They go out of the store at night, which is very rare for us obviously because we don’t leave the store that often, but certainly at night. I’m really excited for people to see it because they get a little tipsy [during a] mission they need to go on.”
She adds: “I really love the Amy and Dina dynamic in general. I’m always really excited to get to do stuff with America and getting to have Nichole there with us was awesome. It’s a really fun pairing we haven’t really seen much yet. I think people will love it.”
Dina won’t just be a Grinch this holiday season, though. “I think that the big thing about Dina obviously is that she gets a bad rap for thinking that she’s cold or unfeeling. But the truth is she genuinely loves the people that she works with and she just wants them to follow the rules,” Ash tells Us. “So there is some pull on the heartstrings. You get to see that she really does care about Amy. I think she’s representing both sides of the spectrum pretty well.”
Indeed, and that’s apparent with her relationship with Garrett, played by Colton Dunn. “Right now they are kind of just ex-lovers in the same workplace. Which is usually awkward, but the good news for Dina is she’s managed to kiss Jonah [Ben Feldman], sleep with Garrett and potentially sleep with Marcus [Jon Barinholtz]. It’s never been confirmed but they did go on a date together and back to her house. Apparently Dina absolutely has a terrible issue of hooking up with coworkers and then having to face them every single day. I guess it’s another notch on her bed post!”
“Here’s the thing that I love about that relationship. I don’t think anyone saw it coming but people on social media love it. People were like, ‘This is the relationship we didn’t know we wanted but now we are obsessed with,'” she continues. “It’s fun to get those two characters together and seeing Garrett actually caring about something for the first time ever. … I feel like Dina is a little bit of a free bird and I don’t know that she wants to be tied down. But at the end of the day who knows what’s going to happen. Maybe that’s the one. I’m as excited to find out as everybody else.”
For more, read the rest of her Q&A below:
US: What was your audition like?
LA: I went crazy during pilot season. There was a character that I created while I was in Toronto and she is Dina. And so when I read the character I was like, “Oh, I know this person because I’ve been performing as this person for years.” … I was my managers’ most annoying client for like three weeks because I was like, “When is my Superstore audition? When am I getting in there?” They are like, “Lauren, they haven’t seen anyone for any roles yet.” And I was like, “I don’t care. I am going to book this and I’d like to book it sooner than later.” I don’t often get that cocky — I’m Canadian and it’s not in our blood — but for whatever reason I was like, “No, I’m going to book this part. The pilot is going to get picked up to series and it’s going to run for many, many years.” And so far I have been correct about all of that. So my one moment of cockiness has really paid off for me, which is great!
US: Do you ship Amy and Jonah at all?
LA: Yea, I do. In the table read for the last episode last season it ends of course with them kissing. I screamed during that table read. Even in front of network and studio executives! For some reason I can really remove myself and really just enjoy the characters. It doesn’t even enter my mind that we are talking about America and Ben. I am just very invested in the characters and I love them together so badly. It’s always fun to do the will they, won’t they.
US: How did you get through the scene of Dina examining Mark McKinney’s character Glenn in the “Health Fund” episode?
LA: That one was so hard to get through. Mark makes me laugh more than almost any human on the planet. He is truly one of the funniest humans in existence. And that scene — oh man. I’m sad that they didn’t use the take where my face is a little too close and then the d—k slaps me in the face.
Mark and I tend to have a lot of stuff together so we just go for it. Sometimes we’ll do five, six minute long takes on a minute-long scene. They just let us kind of do our thing, which is amazing. And they do tend to use a lot of it. In the pilot actually there is a scene where we are addressing the rest of the staff and talking about crystal meth. We didn’t really know each other. We had only been working together for a couple of days, and we just went for it in that scene. We went completely off script and went on and on and on and they kept it. They used a huge chunk of it. It was so cool because it really feels like you’re creatively collaborating on something. That set the tone for him and I to just really go for it.
US: What’s the worst job you’ve ever had in real life?
LA: Oh, boy. I’ve been pretty lucky in general but when I was a teenager the first job I ever got was working at a store very similar to Cloud 9. It was a Canadian chain similar to a Kmart. I worked in the footwear department, which is much of a nightmare as it sounds like it would be. Just a lot of people having a lot of entitlement and expectation about you them helping them with their $12.99 pair of shoes.
When you walk onto our set it actually smells like that store. I don’t know why. It’s so bizarre. I don’t know if you ever have those moments of sense memory. It’s very rare for me but every once in a while I do. It must be something with how products are packaged with boxes. It’s pretty cool but bizarre.
US: If Dina wasn’t working at Cloud 9 where would she be?
LA: Absolutely like a guns and ammo store — an army surplus store. I kind of believe that she really wanted to be in the military and then was rejected for some reason. That’s kind of always in the back of my mind. That’s never come out but sometimes when I’m improvising I’ll throw sh-t like that in there. I think she would be involved even if it was a desk job. In a perfect world I think she would be CIA.
US: What’s one of your favorite Dina and Garrett scenes?
LA: There’s that whole sequence where we both decided to camp out in Glenn’s office because its air conditioned and we have sex and then there’s the scene where it’s like, “Well, that happened.” And we are trying to think of anything to converse about but it doesn’t happen. And we decide just to have sex again. I thought that was so funny and true to our characters because we wouldn’t see them get mushy with each other. I wouldn’t buy that.
US: How would you describe Dina in three words?
LA: Aggressive, loyal and confident. A level of confidence that makes no sense, but I love it.
US: What’s one of your favorite moments with the cast?
LA: There are so many and I say that with complete sincerity. Every day is so much fun and I’m so excited to go to work every day. Most of the cast took a Las Vegas trip together after season 1. That was pretty insane and memorable. We also rented a lime green Hummer to take us from dinner to a club one night. There is video but we have all been very, very stern that the video cannot be released. It’s so hard to choose because we all genuinely get along and like each other. I like doing the scenes in the break room because we are all there. On hiatus we don’t see each other that much so we’re like, “OK, we need a family dinner and get this going. We feel disconnected.” It’s so nice. It’s very rare. In TV you are paired up with strangers and it could be a nightmare.
US: “Health Fund” was amazing and the writing was so sharp. What’s it like to be a part of a show that has a voice during this current climate?
LA: I think what we’ve done really well is social commentary in a way that isn’t off-putting. We toe the line of presenting what’s going on and how that affects real people. Rather than standing on a soapbox and saying, “This is what the issue is.” The showrunners and writers have really done an amazing job of making it accessible. We’re representing the vast majority of this country — middle America. … We’re bringing up huge hot button topics but not doing it in a cheesy, PSA or preachy. A director told me once that he believed comedy should be “Isn’t it funny that?” rather than “Wouldn’t it be funny if?” and I think that’s what this show is doing. If comedy can be both — silly and fun but also say something and start a dialogue — that’s the most you can ever ask for.
US: If the series finale was tomorrow, where would you want Dina to be?
LA: I’ve been begging for this since the beginning — I want to see her apartment. I want to see how she lives. I hope by the end of the series we can make that dream come true. I would love to see her in a relationship that really challenges her. I would love to see what makes her soft. Not to say that I want her to change or be soft all the time but I always think it’s interesting to see one of the things that makes a hard person soften.
At the end of the day she wants to be managing that store. I don’t know what would have to happen to Glenn, maybe he would move up the line to corporate or something. But by the series finale I want her happy in a relationship and running that store because honestly at that point she will have earned it!
Superstore airs Tuesdays on NBC at 9:30 p.m. ET.