Superior Donuts
Superior Donuts 2017 CBS Logo.jpg
GenreSitcom
Based onSuperior Donuts
by Tracy Letts
Developed by
Starring
ComposersJustin Warfield
Bob Thiele Jr.
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes34
Production
Executive producers
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time22 minutes
Production companies
Release
Original networkCBS
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseFebruary 2, 2017 (2017-02-02) –
May 14, 2018 (2018-05-14)

Superior Donuts is an American sitcom television series based on the play of the same name by Tracy Letts that aired on CBS from February 2, 2017, to May 14, 2018. It was produced by Daily Productions, Goldman-Donovan Productions and Teitelbaum Artists, in association with CBS Television Studios. Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan served as showrunners.

On March 23, 2017, CBS renewed the series for a second season which premiered on October 30, 2017.[2][3] On November 27, 2017, CBS ordered an additional eight episodes for the second season, bringing the total to 21 episodes.[4] On May 12, 2018, CBS cancelled the series after two seasons and 34 episodes due to low ratings.[5]

Synopsis

The series revolves around the relationship between donut shop owner Arthur Przybyszewski (Judd Hirsch), his new young employee, Franco Wicks (Jermaine Fowler), and the shop's various patrons in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood. With the donut shop struggling financially, Franco makes suggestions for improvement and modernization to the sometimes reluctant Arthur. Superior Donuts' supportive regulars include loyal patron Randy (Katey Sagal), a cop whose late father was Arthur's best friend; in season one only, her over-eager rookie partner, James (Darien Sills-Evans); Tush (David Koechner), a colorful customer who uses the shop counter as a makeshift office where he keeps tabs on a variety of odd jobs via fax machine; in season one only, Maya (Anna Baryshnikov), a privileged grad-school student working on her Ph. D; and Sweatpants (Rell Battle), Franco's longtime friend who's willing to dress as a donut to help drum up more business. Looking to cash in on the urban renewal is Arthur's over-caffeinated neighbor, aspiring real estate capitalist Fawz (Maz Jobrani), who pushes Arthur on a daily basis to sell the building to him. Season two introduces Sofia (Diane Guerrero), a food truck owner whom Franco befriends quickly.

Cast

Main

Guest

Production

Developed and filming

The pilot was originally developed for the 2015–16 television season, but was not picked up, and was put in redevelopment by CBS. In May 2016, a new pilot was ordered, for consideration at midseason. On September 21, 2016, CBS ordered the pilot to series.[7] On December 15, 2016, it was announced that the series would premiere as a "special preview" on February 2, 2017, following The Big Bang Theory and premiered for its regular Monday at 9:00 p.m. timeslot on February 6, 2017.[8]

Casting

On February 10, 2016, Crashing actor Jermaine Fowler joined the cast as Franco Wicks, a buddy/employee for Arthur, in the pilot. On August 1, 2016, Taxi star Judd Hirsch was cast as Arthur. Katey Sagal from Married... with Children and Sons of Anarchy was cast as a female lead for the pilot on September 8, 2016. In September 2016, it was announced that Anna Baryshnikov was cast as Maya; she was upgraded to a series regular role on October 6, 2016. On August 25, 2017, it was announced that Diane Guerrero would play Sofia in a regular role, to replace Baryshnikov.[6]

Cancellation

On May 12, 2018, it was announced that CBS officially cancelled Superior Donuts, along with Kevin Can Wait, 9JKL, Living Biblically, and Me, Myself & I. The combination of factors, including declining ratings, CBS's desire to have an ownership stake, and the network needing to clear space for three new sitcoms in the fall 2018 schedule, led to the show's demise.[5]

Episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113February 2, 2017 (2017-02-02)May 8, 2017 (2017-05-08)
221October 30, 2017 (2017-10-30)May 14, 2018 (2018-05-14)

Season 1 (2017)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
11"Pilot"James BurrowsNeil Goldman & Garrett Donovan & Bob DailyFebruary 2, 2017 (2017-02-02)10110.54[9]
Arthur is the elderly owner of an old-fashioned Chicago donut shop that is surrounded by urban renewal. He is approached by Fawz, a wealthy real estate developer, who wants to buy out the shop. Arthur refuses, even though he gets very few customers anymore. He is then approached by Franco, an ambitious area resident who says he can save the shop with modern ideas. Franco is hired, and meets Arthur's few remaining loyal customers: Chicago cops Randy and James, laid-off factory worker Tush, and college graduate student Maya. Arthur soon fires Franco after the latter makes some modifications without permission, but rehires him upon learning that Franco did something bold to help the shop compete with the new Starbucks across the street.
22"What's the Big Idea?"James BurrowsBetsy ThomasFebruary 6, 2017 (2017-02-06)1037.34[10]
Franco asks Arthur to incorporate new ideas for Superior Donuts, but Arthur dismisses them all. Despite Arthur's strict teachings, Franco creates a sriracha-flavored donut, which becomes a hit. A jealous Arthur then tries to create a pickle-flavored donut, but both Randy and Tush find it disgusting. Meanwhile, Maya complains that the donut shop has no Wi-Fi service, but she and James discover that they can steal Wi-Fi from the dry-cleaners owned by Fawz. Fawz soon finds out and puts up a password. The group agrees that without Wi-Fi, they are more social, only to find out that Arthur has just decided to install free Wi-Fi in the shop.
33"Crime Time"James BurrowsPeter MurrietaFebruary 13, 2017 (2017-02-13)1047.25[11]
Franco encourages Arthur to increase his security when Fawz’s dry-cleaning store is robbed, but becomes concerned when Arthur buys a gun. Also, Tush offers Maya his personal approach to protecting herself.
44"Trust Me"James BurrowsBob Daily & Neil Goldman & Garrett DonovanFebruary 20, 2017 (2017-02-20)1026.71[12]
When Arthur is reluctant to let Franco make the shop's bank deposit, Franco wonders aloud why his boss doesn't trust him. Also, James regrets trusting Randy with an embarrassing secret after she shares it with other cops at the station.
55"Takin' It to the Streets"James BurrowsCindy AppelFebruary 27, 2017 (2017-02-27)1066.35[13]
Franco and Sweatpants announce that their landlord is trying to force them out of their apartment so the building can be converted to luxury flats, only to find out that Fawz owns the building. Franco organizes a protest which gets air time on the news, but later feels guilty when racist graffiti is left on Fawz's dry cleaning store.
66"Arthur's Day Off"James BurrowsEmily WilsonMarch 6, 2017 (2017-03-06)1056.18[14]
After discussing whether or not Franco can make the tough decisions necessary to be a good boss, Arthur realizes he hasn't had a day off since his wife died. He tries to take a day for himself, leaving Franco in charge, but struggles to find ways to fill his time. Meanwhile, Franco realizes he may be too compassionate to run a profitable business.
77"The Amazing Racists"Ken WhittinghamRobb ChavisMarch 13, 2017 (2017-03-13)1076.21[15]
After Franco is profiled and frisked by a police officer, Randy suggests the donut shop host a community outreach meeting so that both cops and concerned citizens can air their issues. After the meeting, Arthur finds his Ernie Banks-signed baseball has been stolen, and he accuses Franco's friend Malcolm. Franco immediately accuses Arthur of racism because Malcolm is black, but Arthur insists his suspicions are because Malcolm had earlier shown interest in the ball.
88"Man Without a Health Plan"Mark CendrowskiHugh MooreMarch 20, 2017 (2017-03-20)1095.22[16]
Franco hurts his foot falling off a ladder at work, but Arthur has not been able to afford health insurance for his employee and Franco cannot afford treatment. The gang takes up a collection for Franco, but he stubbornly refuses their charity, even after discovering his foot is broken. Arthur soon also reveals that he hasn't visited a doctor in years.
99"Get It, Arthur"Gail MancusoDan St. GermainMarch 27, 2017 (2017-03-27)1085.28[17]
When Randy's mother Ellen (Brenda Vaccaro), also the widow of Arthur's best friend, comes to town from Florida for a visit, she and Arthur hook up. Arthur then wonders why Ellen is "ghosting" him after their night together. Meanwhile, Fawz tries to figure out why Tush has received a $600 check from a woman.
1010"Painted Love"Betsy ThomasNeil Goldman & Garrett DonovanApril 10, 2017 (2017-04-10)1105.02[18]
Franco learns that Bam Bam, a guy from his neighborhood, has died. Though Bam Bam became a gang member, he steered Franco away from the life when he saw his artistic talent. This inspires Franco to paint a mural on the brick wall outside the donut shop, but the finished product doesn't sit well with the new president of the Uptown Business Association (Fawz) or Arthur.
1111"Wage Against the Machine"James BurrowsAaron Vaccaro & Mark MelaraApril 17, 2017 (2017-04-17)1115.08[19]
When Franco realizes he can't make ends meet on one minimum wage job, he accepts an offer to moonlight as Fawz's new assistant. Arthur begins to get jealous when he hears Fawz offered Franco a higher hourly wage and a quick promotion, but Franco soon learns Fawz has ulterior motives. Meanwhile, Randy and James battle to write the most tickets in hopes of winning a contest at their precinct.
1212"Art for Art's Sake"Phill LewisDan O'Shannon & Tucker CawleyMay 1, 2017 (2017-05-01)1125.15[20]
When a local gallery owner won't even look at Franco's art because he doesn't have a proper portfolio, Arthur suggests the donut shop host an event to show all of Franco's creations. While the shop regulars struggle to get the gallery owner to show up, a surprise guest does arrive – Franco's critical father (Cedric the Entertainer).
1313"Secrets and Spies"James BurrowsBob DailyMay 8, 2017 (2017-05-08)1134.84[21]
When Maya leaves her laptop open, the shop patrons discover that she's been studying them for months as subjects for her doctoral dissertation. Franco is dejected that Nadine (Ozioma Akhaga), the girl he's been dating for two months, is breaking up with him. Nadine later visits him and reveals that she's pregnant. It turns out the baby was not his, and it was Nadine's ex-boyfriend's. Meanwhile, Randy and Franco try to learn where Arthur disappears to every Sunday night.

Season 2 (2017–18)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
141"What the Truck?"Phill LewisNeil Goldman & Garrett Donovan & Bob DailyOctober 30, 2017 (2017-10-30)2014.76[22]
Arthur worries about losing business when Sofia, an uptown gentrifier, parks her healthy breakfast food truck in front of the donut shop. He asks Franco's and Randy's help to get Sofia to move, which fails because Franco is attracted to Sofia and Randy sees that she has all the necessary permits. Meanwhile, Franco is concerned about getting into art school when he has trouble with the SAT test.
152"Is There a Problem, Officer?"Michael McDonaldPeter MurrietaNovember 6, 2017 (2017-11-06)2025.39[23]
Franco is shocked when Sweatpants shows him a cell phone video of Randy exhibiting police brutality. Randy does not want to discuss the incident and Arthur does not want to see the video because he knows that Randy is not that type of person. The video evidence is too overwhelming for Franco, who starts to question his friendship with Randy even after she is shot in the shoulder the next day. Arthur eventually watches the video, and suggests that Randy needs some time away from the job.
163"Brotégé"Scott EllisChuck TathamNovember 13, 2017 (2017-11-13)2034.92[24]
Franco decides to be a Big Brother for an 11-year old boy named Andre, but later wants to bail when they have no common interests and Andre seems to bond more with Arthur. When Arthur harshly scolds Franco for his decision, one of Arthur's painful family secrets is revealed. Meanwhile, Tush tries to get Randy to open up about her feelings following her shooting incident.
174"Thanks for Nothing"Gerry CohenEmily WilsonNovember 20, 2017 (2017-11-20)2055.20[25]
The gang decides to hold a Thanksgiving meal at the donut shop, given all the strained family relationships they have. Randy is fighting with her daughter who is in California, Sofia's mother is mad that she won't come home for the holiday, Arthur is estranged from his daughter, and Franco never got along with his father. Franco agrees that if Arthur will invite his daughter, Lucy (Annie Mumolo), then he will invite his father, Reggie (Cedric the Entertainer). Meanwhile, Fawz is determined to fight early holiday sale crowds and purchase a hot-selling video game for his son.
185"Flour Power"Scott EllisBetsy ThomasNovember 27, 2017 (2017-11-27)2045.14[26]
Arthur needs a large supply of flour to prepare for the upcoming LGBT parade crowd, so he calls in his favorite vendor Murray (Richard Riehle), who makes subtle racist comments when he arrives. Franco insists that Arthur use an African American flour vendor he has located, but when their rep Howard (Gary Anthony Williams) arrives, he turns out to be extremely sexist. Sofia finds a more socially-conscious vendor named Lyric (Debra Wilson), but the donuts made from Lyric's flour taste horrible. Eventually, Arthur brings back Murray, but only if he apologizes to Franco. Murray then tells Arthur he is gay, and is not happy about the homophobic comments that Arthur made earlier.
196"Error of Admission"Robbie CountrymanRobb ChavisDecember 4, 2017 (2017-12-04)2065.49[27]
Franco is thrilled to be accepted to his first choice for art school, but his joy is tempered when he learns he may have only gotten in as a diversity admission. Meanwhile, Tush gets his genealogy done and learns he has a little bit of everyone else's ethnicity in him, but none of the others will accept him as one of their own.
207"Homeless for the Holidays"Mark CendrowskiCindy AppelDecember 11, 2017 (2017-12-11)2075.18[28]
Franco holds a memorial for John (Keith David), a homeless man who died in the donut shop, only to later realize that John did not die but instead went into a diabetic coma from eating a donut. Franco then rallies the others to help a recovered John clean up and get a job, but this proves difficult because John is being a jerk to all of them.
218"Electile Dysfunction"Phill LewisHugh MooreDecember 18, 2017 (2017-12-18)2084.99[29]
To support Franco's drive to save a neighborhood playground from being turned into a parking lot, Arthur decides to run for Uptown Business Council president against Fawz, who favors the parking lot. But when canvassing the business owners, Arthur learns they all want more parking nearby, and he changes his attitude on the playground, upsetting Franco. When Arthur and Fawz hold a debate, a third candidate emerges. Meanwhile, Tush has bad memories of the playground because a girl once stole his Happy Days lunchbox there, and he gets angry when Randy says she was that girl.
229"Sofia's Choice"Mark CendrowskiHoward Jordan Jr.January 15, 2018 (2018-01-15)2095.91[30]
Sofia asks to use Arthur's kitchen after hours to prep for a large catering job she booked. Arthur agrees on the condition that Franco be present to keep an eye on things, after which Franco reveals that he and Sofia have been hooking up. Franco insists it is a casual thing, but when Sofia's hunky ex-boyfriend shows up to help her with the order, Franco realizes he has feelings for her. Meanwhile, Randy begins working with Tush as a security guard for one of Fawz's apartment buildings, and soon learns that Fawz is paying her less than he pays Tush.
2310"Labor Pains"Phill LewisNeil Goldman & Garrett DonovanJanuary 22, 2018 (2018-01-22)2105.68[31]
When Franco realizes he needs extra money to afford the fees and supplies for his first year of college, he urges Sweatpants to get a job and help with the rent. Sweatpants gets a job at a nursing home but, as always, he wants to quit after his first day. Franco throws out Sweatpants and gets a more reliable, albeit weird, roommate named Sam. Sweatpants moves in with Arthur, who convinces him that he can find fulfillment in any job. Meanwhile, Randy enhances her social media profile, with help from Tush, to prove to her ex-husband that she's moved on to exciting endeavors and not just hanging out in a donut shop.
2411"Grades of Wrath"Phill LewisJacque Edmonds CoferJanuary 29, 2018 (2018-01-29)2115.80[32]
Franco's first assignment in art school is a pencil drawing of a human form, but he thinks he's already advanced beyond a beginner-level class and submits a painting of a skateboarding Jesus instead. After his professor (Tim Russ) gives him a C-minus, Franco reluctantly does the assignment as directed, and realizes he still has a lot to learn about the basics. Meanwhile, Arthur learns about Yelp and is particularly perturbed about one review that calls his coffee undrinkable. He tries multiple new blends to no avail, until Randy (who admitted to writing the review with Tush) leads him to a shocking revelation.
2512"Always Bet on Black"Victor GonzalezJermaine FowlerFebruary 5, 2018 (2018-02-05)2145.66[33]
Frustrated that the media always highlights the same few African Americans during Black History Month, Franco invites a group of kids to listen to Luther “Wheels” Langdon (Bill Cobbs), a former Negro league baseball player who knew and played with Jackie Robinson. But Franco becomes disappointed when Wheels speaks negatively about Robinson and lies about his own baseball prowess. Meanwhile, Randy warns Tush that there is something fishy about his new girlfriend. Her suspicions turn out to be correct, inspiring her to want to return to the Chicago PD, but as a detective.
2613"Father, Son and Holy Goats"Rebecca BaughmanDan St. GermainFebruary 26, 2018 (2018-02-26)2125.13[34]
Fawz urges Franco to take his son Abe (Fahim Anwar) under his wing and convince him to return to college, but Franco instead indulges Abe's dream of becoming a DJ. Meanwhile, Sofia is stressed out over organizing the Uptown Business Association's winter festival. Tush offers to use his connections and help Sofia procure farm animals for a petting zoo, which includes an unruly goat that once bit off Tush's toe.
2714"High Class Problems"Betsy ThomasMark Melara & Anton SchettiniMarch 5, 2018 (2018-03-05)2135.17[35]
Franco introduces his new girlfriend Tavi (Shamikah Martinez), whom he met in art school, and soon learns that she's rich. After meeting Tavi's upscale, hipster friends, Sweatpants convinces Franco that she's only dating him to look more progressive in their eyes. Meanwhile, Arthur raises his donut holes to 30 cents apiece, but accidentally posts the price as $3.00. One of Tavi's friends convinces Arthur that he and his hipster pals will gladly pay more for something "authentic". Arthur then raises all of his prices, but soon becomes annoyed with the new clientele he's attracting.
2815"The Chicago Way"Victor GonzalezBetsy ThomasMarch 19, 2018 (2018-03-19)2155.06[36]
Arthur has his usual bribe prepared for his regular health inspector, only to learn the guy has been replaced by Irene (Ann Magnuson), who is strictly by-the-book. Arthur sees a way around making the needed kitchen repairs when Irene takes a liking to him and they go on a date, but he's in for a surprise the next day. Meanwhile, Randy passes her detective exam and awaits a recommendation for a posh assignment from her old colleague Ted (Christopher McDonald). In exchange, Ted asks Randy to smooth something over with Human Resources regarding a sexual harassment complaint made by a rookie female cop. Randy is prepared to do so, but a conversation with Sofia convinces her that no one should have to put up with the "boys club" like she did back in the day.
2916"Friends Without Benefits"Betsy ThomasChuck TathamMarch 26, 2018 (2018-03-26)2164.64[37]
As Franco prepares to take the next step with Tavi and go on a trip with her, she becomes upset when Franco goes to Sofia for relationship advice. Franco insists he and Sofia are just friends, but Tavi says the way they communicate indicates there may be something stronger. Just when Sofia realizes she has feelings for Franco, he tells her that he and Tavi patched up their issues. Meanwhile, Fawz plays undercover boss to try and find out who is stealing cheese from one of his sub shops.
3017"Balls and Streaks"Eric Dean SeatonEmily WilsonApril 9, 2018 (2018-04-09)2174.83[38]
Arthur is set to become the person who has attended the most consecutive Chicago Cubs opening days at Wrigley Field after the current record holder passes away, but finds himself without a ticket. At the same time, Arthur refuses to give Franco's cousin Marcus a part-time delivery job because he has a criminal record. Things change when Marcus is able to get Arthur a ticket through his "conncection", but Arthur is later embarrassed on local television when the ticket turns out to be fake. Meanwhile, Randy goes on her first undercover assignment arresting scalpers at the Cubs game, only to have issues with her partner's methods.
3118"Pedal to the Meddle"Phill LewisRobb ChavisApril 16, 2018 (2018-04-16)2194.50[39]
When Marcus quits and Arthur needs Franco to make a large delivery, Franco reveals he has no license and never learned to drive. Arthur gives Franco a driving lesson in a parking lot, but a cop stops them and notes that Arthur's license is expired. Due to his age, Arthur is required to pass a driving test. While Franco passes his test, a nervous Arthur blows his. In a turn of events, Arthur practices driving with Franco in the passenger seat, and crashes his car into Fawz's dry cleaning store. This causes Randy and Tush to suggest that Arthur should not be driving anymore.
3219"The ICEMen Cometh"Linda MendozaPeter MurrietaApril 30, 2018 (2018-04-30)2184.12[40]
Randy announces that she and the Chicago PD are assisting ICE agents as they do sweeps of area businesses. This worries Sofia, whose older brother Rafael is undocumented, having been born in Colombia two years before she was born in the USA. Sofia and Franco plot to hide Rafael in the donut shop basement until the sweep blows over, which doesn't sit well with Arthur. Meanwhile, Tush believes he has symptoms of diabetes, and is depressed over no longer being able to enjoy his daily donut.
3320"Broken Art"Phill LewisHugh Moore & Dan St. GermainMay 7, 2018 (2018-05-07)2204.33[41]
Franco learns about an art contest at the college with the top prize being a summer fellowship in Florence, Italy. After hearing that Tavi has entered the contest, Franco decides to also enter. Tavi ultimately wins, then asks Franco if he will go to Italy with her. Meanwhile, Tush starts working as Randy's personal assistant. It turns out he is too good at his job...to the point of being annoying.
3421"Donut Day Afternoon"Mark CendrowskiBob DailyMay 14, 2018 (2018-05-14)2214.68[42]
Fawz and his investors buy the nail salon next door, and again push Arthur to sell the donut shop. With Franco preparing for his trip to Italy with Tavi, Arthur hires Tush to take his place for a few months. Later, a homeless man who didn't get the job comes back with a gun to rob the shop. With their lives in jeopardy, Sofia reveals her true feelings to Franco. Randy is able to thwart the robbery and end the threat, but Arthur is deeply affected. He decides to sell the shop to Fawz and spend his remaining years enjoying life and not thinking about work. Franco, who has broken up with Tavi to be with Sofia, is disappointed with Arthur's decision, but understands. In turn, Arthur tells Franco he can do anything he puts his mind to.

Home media

The first season of Superior Donuts was released on DVD on January 22, 2018.[43] The second season was released on June 9, 2020.[44]

Reception

Critical response

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the series an approval rating of 62% based on 21 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "While Superior Donuts' talented cast impressively delivers, the annoying laugh track and stale jokes leave a hole in the middle of a crusty — albeit topical — narrative."[45] On Metacritic the series has a weighted average score of 56 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[46]

Ratings

Viewership and ratings per season of Superior Donuts
Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired TV season Viewership
rank
Avg. viewers
(millions)
18–49
rank
Avg. 18–49
rating
Date Viewers
(millions)
Date Viewers
(millions)
1 Monday 9:00 pm[a] 13 February 2, 2017 (2017-02-02) 10.54[9] May 8, 2017 (2017-05-08) 4.84[21] 2016–17 49 7.27 TBD 1.4[47]
2 21 October 30, 2017 (2017-10-30) 4.76[22] May 14, 2018 (2018-05-14) 4.68[42] 2017–18 74 5.91 TBD 1.1[48]
  1. ^ The premiere episode aired on Thursday 8:30 pm.

References

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