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‘Supermarket Sweep’ Is Great Pandemic Viewing, and It’s on Netflix Now

Why a silly game show from the '90s is so comforting now.


Grocery shopping is a stressful activity nowadays, with one-way aisles and plexiglass barriers reminding shoppers that they could contract a deadly disease while picking out a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

Thankfully, the 1990s revival of Supermarket Sweep predated COVID-19 by a long time. The game show, filmed in a grocery store long before N95 masks and social distancing were part of the lexicon, used to be a dumb way to spend a half an hour. Now, it’s oddly comforting to watch contestants scramble around a grocery store sans masks and hand sanitizer.

So it’s welcome news that Netflix put 15 episodes of the 1990s revival of Supermarket Sweep to its platform. The amusement of watching the show as a time capsule, with the hairstyles, clothes, and prices of the pre-coronavirus era, pairs nicely with the joy of watching regular people, blissfully ignorant of how much worse things are going to get, make fools of themselves on television.

The challenges the contestants on Supermarket Sweep face are adorably small to someone watching amidst the entropy of 2020. Chaos and fear aren’t going anywhere any time soon, so why not escape into the aisles of a bygone grocery store where the stakes are low and the chance of a deadly infection is zero.

It’s a small victory when you know something a car dealer form Milwaukee didn’t know in 1993. It’s a minor validation when your contention that the secretary from New Jersey spent too much time in the produce aisle turns out to be correct. But small victories and minor validations are hard to come by nowadays, and if you can find by revisiting a simpler time on Netflix, why not take in an episode or ten?

Supermarket Sweep is available to stream on Netflix now. Two additional seasons are available on Amazon Prime Video.