PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — For Nico Santos, the role he plays on NBC’s sitcom “Superstore” is personal.
“I never thought in a million years I’d be involved in a project that celebrated the fullness of my identity of being queer and Asian,” Santos told a TV critics’ meeting Tuesday.
He also appreciates the comedy’s focus on what his character, Mateo, has faced after learning that he’s an immigrant in the country illegally.
“I certainly know a lot of members of my community who are undocumented, and that’s so relevant right now. I’ve gotten so many messages from everybody. People stop me wherever I go who are … just really appreciative of the fact that we’ve tackled the issue, because they themselves are undocumented or a family member or a loved one is undocumented.”
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Santos, who played Oliver in “Crazy Rich Asians,” said he’s grateful the comedy is portraying the character with “dignity and respect.”
Colton Dunn, who plays Garrett in the series set in a big-box store, said Mateo is important to the show. Dunn and his castmates, including America Ferrera, took part in a panel promoting the show’s midseason return in March.
“A lot of times, the narrative of undocumented workers and undocumented people is that they are criminals,” Dunn said. “That’s a narrative that’s put out there. And the other side is, ‘No, they are not.’ It’s great to have an actual example of a character who is really just living through this time out here. All he’s trying to do is be a floor supervisor at a superstore.”