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This Is Us (NBC)

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Adam Lenhardt, Sep 20, 2016.

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  1. David Weicker

    David Weicker Producer

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    Another terrific episode.

    Loved seeing
    William
    again. And Beth talking about her three favorite people.

    That was one of the greatest “Mom” speeches ever. I almost fell off my chair laughing. Whiny asses indeed.
     
  2. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    Will be very curious to learn what happened to Kate's young boy friend in the upcoming episodes. She seems very smitten with him, and he seems very nice, too. Must be a tragic story in there somewhere.
     
  3. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I agree with both of those last posts. :D

    I'm kinda getting fed up with Randall as a character. He tries too hard...all the time. But when he's vulnerable and quiet, he's at his strongest.

    I still wish we'd revisit that scene from the end of last season where the family was gathering at Kevin's apartment.
     
  4. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I agree. Randall can be exhausting (in all of his incarnations during these multiple timelines). The present day one often stubbornly refuses to admit when he's wrong or that he's made a mistake until it comes back to bite him, and then he's contrite and more humble.
     
  5. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    I agree. I should probably knock on wood as I type this, but the show seems to have pulled itself out of it's slump.

    Beth's speech to Randall and Tess at the kitchen counter was the first time I cried this episode.

    I've struggled with anxiety and depression my entire adult life. I could feel it building even in high school, but the panic attacks didn't start until college. Mental illness is not something that film and television usually gets right. Usually it's portrayed as something monstrous, or as something acute and and intense and in your face. For most of us who suffer from it, it's a chronic condition like high blood pressure or diabetes. Most of the time its manageable. And over time, you develop strategies to manage the symptoms.

    Neither of my parents knew what to do with a child with mental illness. It always made my mother, in particular, acutely uncomfortable. I internalized very quickly that it was something to be ashamed of. I can't express what it would have meant to me to have someone tell me the things that Beth told Randall and Tess. How much would it have hastened my road to self-acceptance? How much unnecessary suffering could have been avoided?

    I also really, really related to Randall shutting down Beth when she suggested a therapist to him as they were getting ready for bed. I made one attempt at therapy in college and it went really badly, and I've never been back since even though it would probably be helpful. Beth is carrying around a lot of guilt for not anticipating either of Randall's mental breakdowns. Here she sees all of the signs, she knows what's coming, and she's trying to be proactive about it. Everything she's doing is 100 percent correct. But Randall's just not in a place to hear it. He holds himself to an impossible standard, a much higher standard than he holds anybody else to. So it's going to continue to get worse. That doesn't mean Beth was wrong to try.

    This episode as a whole had a lot to say about memory, and family, and the things that tie us together. The second moment that made me cry was at the end, in Nicky's trailer, when he's telling Kevin the origin of the slices of ice cream. These two people had nothing to do with each other for well over three decades. Kevin didn't even know this man was alive until pretty recently. And yet, they're connected. Not just by blood, but by shared people and shared experiences. Jack's father was a piece of shit, but Jack found a way to pass along one of the best parts of him to his own children.

    I particularly loved the bit with college age Beth and the hot sauce. When she took it out, it was this moment of further alienation between her and the Pearsons -- she had inadvertently touched upon the raw nerve that was Jack's death. But in sharing the anecdote about her own father, something that was imperfect about him but something that conjured the love she felt for him, she provided Rebecca the template for how to start to move forward. So that, by the end of the meal, the hot sauce became something that made Beth feel included with the Pearsons rather than excluded.

    I loved it. We've all probably been on the receiving end of that kind of speech, when Mom's been pushed too far and she's just not going to take any more shit.

    I get a more ominous feeling than "tragic" from present day Kate and Rebecca's reaction to seeing those old Polaroids. The vibe was more unsettling than sad. Kate and Kevin do have that twin bond, and I have a bad feeling that Kevin's read on her new boyfriend was correct and that he's bad news. At the very least, he's probably a druggie. But I fear he might also turn out to be abusive. The Kate we met at the beginning of the series was dangerously overweight and resolutely alone. Nineties Kate is a healthy weight and in a happy relationship. I'm thinking whatever happens next in that relationship is one of the factors that explains the dramatic difference between the two Kates.

    I do think the writers are aware of that unlikable side of that facet of his personality. And to their credit, they're playing it honestly. He is a flawed character, like all great characters.

    It does look like there are going to be consequences for Randall playing ball with the other councilmen. I hope Randall suffers repercussions for failing to go along with politics as usual.

    If I had to guess, they're going to way to the mid-season finale for any big reveals on that front.

    Some other thoughts:
    • I loved the confession that Cassidy's estranged husband made to Kevin in his driveway. A lesser show would be content to paint him as the bad guy. He's a victim of Cassidy's PTSD, just like she is. And I loved that Kevin was unfazed by the man's hostility, and could see past his own interests to let Cassidy know that her husband was still in love with her.
    • I loved Jack's fear of birds. He's so lionized by the other characters and even -- at times -- the writers, that I always enjoy it when he's taken down a peg and revealed to be human.
    • Those ceremonies where sports teams use veterans as props have always made me feel vaguely uncomfortable, even though I know the intentions behind them are good. It was nice to see the show grapple with the complexity of that -- with both Nicky and Cassidy's husband being really turned off by it, and Cassidy appreciative of the opportunity for her son to see her recognized positively in a very public way.
    • College age Kevin and Sophie getting married was clearly ridiculous, but I liked that by the end of the dinner party everyone else was willing to accept this period of happiness between the two of them for what it was.
     
    David Weicker and Malcolm R like this.
  6. Jason_V

    Jason_V Lead Actor

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    Finally, finally, finally caught up and current I'm not going to rehash the first few episodes, but "Storybook Love" does what the show does best, regardless of time period and who is being featured. Everything that happened-from Kevin and Cassidy and Nicky through Beth and Rebecca's speeches to their families-felt right and true to these characters.

    You guys all said it better than I can right now...so many good things have happened in this season so far, I'm actually excited to watch the show again. (I just really wanna get back to Kate and Toby's son Jack; we haven't seen him since the first episode and I really dig him.)
     
  7. Matt Hough

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    Thought the three golf games all held very interesting drama and made outstanding counterpoints to one another. I didn't find the Tony-Kate subplot very well written. It needed more development and exploration of feelings.
     
  8. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Agreed.

    Especially on your observations regarding the Toby/Kate story. Very much paint-by-the-numbers and uninteresting.

    I've kinda been hoping this might be the story arc which leads to Metz' contracted weight loss that we were reading about in all the media hoopla at the beginning of season 1. We'll see.
     
  9. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    Yes, I remember reading about that, too, but she looks unhealthily bigger this season than she ever has, and it doesn't appear to be padding.
     

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