Superior Donuts Dishes Comfort Food For Thought CBS's new comedy Superior Donuts mixes the nostalgia of former TV classics with modern, real-life ingredients.
Posted on Sep 20, 2017 06:00am

Like Cheers before it, Chicago-set Superior Donuts on CBS is a tasty and comical recipe for congenial and often topical conversation. Based on a play by Tracy Letts, Superior Donuts reunites Judd Hirsch and Katey Sagal from TV’s top-rated sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. Many episodes in the first season were directed by legendary James Burrows (hence another comparison to Cheers, not to mention prior Judd Hirsch classic Taxi). And it pairs Hirsch as steadfast donut shop owner Arthur Przybyszewski with Jermaine Fowler as Franco Wicks, his young and somewhat na├»ve new employee who attempts to rejuvenate the dated establishment.

A combination of Chico and the Man and Cheers, with the topicality of those memorable Norman Lear CBS sitcoms from yesteryear (All in the Family, Maude, and Good Times, to name a few), Superior Donuts addresses current debatable subjects like racial profiling, gentrification, and gun control.

"You can’t not talk about these issues," said Jermaine Fowler, who is also an executive producer, at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in January prior to the sitcom’s premiere. "It would be a disservice to comedy. And that’s what our show is about."

A melting pot of endearing characters, Superior Donuts also features aforementioned Katey Sagal as local cop Randy DeLuca; David Koechner as Carl "Tush" Tushinski, a combination of Norm and Cliff from Cheers; new cast addition Diane Guerrero as Sofia, a young food truck owner; and Maz Jobrani as Fawz, a wealthy Middle Eastern real estate developer who owns the dry cleaners next door. Fawz also happens to be the landlord of Franco and his roommate, Rell Battle as "Sweatpants."

Mirroring any CBS sitcom, past and present, the secret sauce for the success of Superior Donuts is the chemistry of the characters and the situations. Clearly representative of society today, Superior Donuts features a group of individuals who take refuge at this warm yet dated establishment (shades of Mel's Diner on CBS comedy Alice)... a family of sorts. And, for the viewers, Superior Donuts is yet another reason why accentuating the familiar with a cast of identifiable and often likable characters is the superior ingredient.

Did You Know?
Judd Hirsch, of course, is fondly remembered for his two-time Emmy Award-winning role on the classic sitcom Taxi. But his first Emmy nomination was for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Comedy or Drama Series on Mary Tyler Moore Show spin-off Rhoda, with Valerie Harper in 1978. The winner was Barnard Hughes for drama Lou Grant, the third spin-off from the Mary Tyler Moore stable.

By Marc Berman | Exclusive to CBS.com | Photography by Monty Brinton/CBS.

Watch the Season 2 premiere of Superior Donuts on Monday, October 30 at 9:30/8:30c on CBS and CBS All Access.