‘Superstore’ Fan Theories: The Real Reason Jonah Works at Cloud 9

Anyone who has watched Superstore knows that Jonah Simms dropped out of business school and took a job at Cloud 9 out of necessity. That’s as far as his story seems to go on the subject, so far. What if, however, there is far more to Jonah’s story than meets the eye? Several fans have noted that Jonah, who presumably already had a bachelor’s degree, and grades good enough to get into business school, likely would have had other employment options. So, is Jonah’s employment at Cloud 9 a simple case of burnout, or is there a whole lot more to it?

How did Jonah end up working for Cloud 9?

Jonah couldn’t hack it in business school. That’s the story he tells anyway. According to his backstory, he took off from school in Chicago, intending to take a break and find himself. Somehow, he ends up in St. Louis planning to work a low-stress job until he’s ready to head back to school.

Jonah and Mateo
Nico Santos as Mateo and Ben Feldman as Jonah | Tyler Golden/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Jonah, however, forgets to extend his leave of absence, meaning he can no longer apply for readmittance into the program he was previously in. Once his business school credits expire, Jonah has a bit of a freakout, suggesting that he is just like all of the other Cloud 9 employees now. Stuck, without a way out, he seemingly resigns himself to life in retail.

Admittedly, the story doesn’t make a ton of sense. In theory, Jonah could always apply to another school at any time. He’s not really “stuck,” as he says. In one episode, Jonah suggests that he was born in 1988, which means he was 28 years old when he showed up at Cloud 9. A traditional bachelor’s degree takes four years to attain. If Jonah entered college straight out of high school, he would have finished his undergraduate degree at 22. A full-time MBA program is generally completed in two years.

Since Jonah was only halfway through his degree when he took a leave of absence, that means he had at least 4 years of work experience before entering the program. Jonah never mentions what he did between his undergraduate degree and business school. We can assume he worked in an office environment, as he doesn’t carry himself like a retail veteran.

Fans theorize that Jonah could be working for Cloud 9 headquarters

What if Jonah was planted by Cloud 9 executives to serve as a mole in their St. Louis store? Glenn seems like a perfectly nice guy, some would say too nice. Nice guys are great to have around, but Glenn seemed like a pretty ineffective leader. Some fans wonder if Cloud 9, knowing that Glenn was less than adequate as a manager, planted Jonah at the store to keep tabs on Glenn.

View this post on Instagram

Take a seat. It's time for #Superstore.

A post shared by Superstore (@nbcsuperstore) on

Under the theory, Jonah wouldn’t actually be a traditional associate, but an executive masquerading as one. There is some evidence to support the theory, too. First off, Jonah shows up at Cloud 9 from Chicago. He claims he got in his car and just drove. He’s pretty much hired on the spot, which seems pretty unlikely. Cloud 9 headquarters are located in Chicago.

Is Jonah from a wealthy family and trying to see how the other half lives?

Jonah’s parents show up at the store at one point, but they have no idea that Jonah works as an associate. He manages to rope Amy in on his lie, and everything is revealed when Jonah wants to prove his relationship with Amy is for real. There is one problem, though, Jonah allegedly told his parents that he is engaged to a famous actress. So, either Jonah is a pathological liar, or he’s from an incredibly wealthy family, and he is running an elaborate social experiment.

Yes, it seems unlikely, but hear us out. Jonah’s parents are dismayed by his employment at Cloud 9. This suggests that they aren’t familiar with retail work themselves, and never saw their child working in a store as an associate. Okay, so we can at least assume Jonah’s parents are relatively well-off. It’s possible that Jonah wished to see how the other half lives, so he left his wealthy family in search of an average life. Getting a job at Cloud 9 was his ticket to figuring out how the working class makes it work. Now that doesn’t explain his relationship fib, but that’s a story for a different day.