On May 14, the second season finale of Superior Donuts will put Arthur (Judd Hirsch) and his cohorts in peril when a gunman enters the Chicago donut shop. Since the comedy has yet to be renewed for a third year, could this be a series finale or just a promise of even better things to come if and when CBS sees the light? Creator Bob Daily talks about what to expect from the season finale and why he’s bullish about the donut shop’s future.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How do you write a finale for a show that’s on the bubble?
BOB DAILY: I would say denial is the key! We really try not to think about it but ironically it could work. To be honest, we want to deliver them a finale where [the network] feels like, “Oh my god, we can’t wait to come back and see what happens next!” There is a little bit of an element of that.
So you’ve got a robber coming into the shop?
It’s the final episode. Leading up to that, we are putting all of the characters at a little bit of a crossroads. Judd Hirsch’s character Arthur has spent his entire adult life working in the donut shop and is starting to think, “Is this how I want to spend my golden years?” Jermaine Fowler’s character Franco was dating a woman but he wasn’t sure she is the right woman but he has an opportunity to go to Europe with her and he’s not sure whether he wants to. And then Diane Guerrero‘s character is starting to realize she has feelings for Franco but because he’s in a relationship, she’s not sure she’s ready to declare herself. So given that, we put these characters in a Crucible-like situation where they are forced to realize some harsh truths. Nothing concentrates your mind more quickly and succinctly than a gun in your face. We thought this could be an armed robbery-hostage type of situation. This way, their futures will become crystal clear.
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How do you make a robbery funny?
We hired a brilliant improviser from Chicago named David Pasquesi. He’s a legend in improv circles. We are in awe of him. He’s able to find ways to make that moment really funny. That was the trick, trying to balance the jeopardy of the situation. Spoiler alert: The gun does go off at some point! But we also try to keep the humor alive.
What’s it’s been like being on the journey with this cast?
It’s been so fun to see the relationship develop between Judd and Jermaine. Their real-life relationship mirrors their characters. Jermaine is just in awe of Judd, as are all of us. It’s been fun seeing those two bond.
So you are done with production?
Yes, we finished a while ago, actually. We’re waiting to hear [if we’re picked up]. We pitched some ideas for a third season that CBS seems very excited about so it seems positive but it’s beyond my abilities to predict what’s going to happen, unfortunately. I wish I knew. It’s tough these days to launch a network show.
So the finale is a bit cliffhanger-y?
Yes, definitely. The finale would launch a whole new arc.
So if you are renewed, the whole cast will come back?
Right, there will be no changes to the cast.
So you won’t kill anybody in that robbery?
No, that I can promise.
Maybe if this doesn’t work out, you can work on a Taxi reboot with Judd.
That would be amazing. We are constantly grilling Judd about episodes. That’s one of the shows that really made me want to be a TV writer.
Superior Donuts airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.