Over in the "TV Shows I Am Binging" thread, I noted that I got hooked on This Is Us, which led to a quick discussion over the show's merits and a pledge to talk about the latest episode. We threw out the idea of having that conversation in the "What Are You Watching Right Now?" thread, but I decided to start one dedicated to the show. Although I titled it "Season 4," I'm not going to limit my observations to that season alone,

So far, it's just been me and Jeff, but I welcome anyone else to join in -- especially Tracy! We've seen too little of you here in the Comics Cave!

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Sorry I'm late. i thought this week's was a very "writerly" episode. whereas I generally use that term as a pejorative, I mean it here as a compliment. there is a certain craft to writing fiction, and it's on display here.

"...that wasn't clear in his first appearance"

I thought it was. In the photo with Randall's mother, he was a much younger man.

"...she takes a home pregnancy test."

This scene was in parallel with her casting "no judgement" on the woman whose baby Kate and Toby want to adopt.

"...and the camera catches Randall stripping to his shorts in preparation for a jog, and doing a dumb little Dad dance -- shirtless."

That scene was what I would normally classify as "writer's fiat," but I liked it so I'll let it pass.

"Later, an incredulous Beth..."

She was not only incredulous, she totally busted his chops about the whole situation. 

"This Is Us returns January 5th on NBC."

You think that's shocking? "Last Week Tonight" doesn't return until February!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"...and the camera catches Randall stripping to his shorts in preparation for a jog, and doing a dumb little Dad dance -- shirtless."

That scene was what I would normally classify as "writer's fiat," but I liked it so I'll let it pass.

 I liked it, too, so I'll also let it pass, but ... really, the one day Randall does this dumb little Dad dance shirtless is the one day Malik forgets to turn off the camera? (Unless he does this dumb little Dad dance every day ...!)

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"Later, an incredulous Beth..."

She was not only incredulous, she totally busted his chops about the whole situation. 

She isn't wrong, but fortunately for Malik, Randall is being forgiving.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"This Is Us returns January 5th on NBC."

You think that's shocking? "Last Week Tonight" doesn't return until February!

It seems like the entire NBC lineup, at least the part of it I watch (This Is Us, Chicago Fire, Superstore; I've given up on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) put on three or four episodes and is on hiatus until 2021. I get why -- coronavirus  -- but it's still not fun.

I thought I mentioned this earlier, but it appears I have not. Several commenters on other sites took a close look at the scene in which Kate takes the pregnancy test and noticed that she first opens a box containing an ovulation test,* and then in the next moment looks at the result on a pregnancy test. This prompted rounds and rounds of speculation as to whether Kate wanted to get pregnant.

The This Is Us producers cleared that up today: The prop department goofed, and nobody caught it in the editing because, y'know, COVID. From Entertainment Not Following the Calendar:

This Is Us executive producer Elizabeth Berger said:

You can chalk this up to Zoom editing. Usually we're all in a bay together looking at these giant monitors. And this is the one where we were like, "Ah, if we had just been there, someone would have seen it!" But everyone is just working so hard around the clock under these crazy circumstances. And every once in a while, you're going to have an ovulation test when you wish you had a pregnancy test box.

* I never knew there were such things as ovulation tests, but then, I never had to.

Since you posted to this thread 10 hours ago I'm going to assume you've seen last night's episode. If not, you may want to skip this post until you have. I did not particularly like this episode as it struck me as very "writerly." 

KATE: Kate wanting to contact Marc after 20 years is so completely unrealistic I could hardly believe it. The reason she did is perfectly obvious: WRITER'S FIAT. The writers wanted to give her that fantasy moment of perfect closure in which Marc just stood there being rebuked. And she never did tell him, then or now, that she was pregnant or had an abortion.

RANDALL: Randall leapt to the wrong conclusion about his mother. Beth was right about him contacting his therapist, because when he finally did, the therapist put the situation in perfect focus.

KEVIN: I didn't really have any problem with Kevin this episode. Toward the end they tried to set up a situation parallel to his first marriage, but we'll have to see how it plays out. I think the most significant aspect of his sub-plot is that he reached out to Randall. He reached out to Randall, but then Randall put his own needs first. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Since you posted to this thread 10 hours ago I'm going to assume you've seen last night's episode. If not, you may want to skip this post until you have. I did not particularly like this episode as it struck me as very "writerly." 

Actually, I hadn't; I just wanted to correct the record, and then I got distracted by election coverage, which kept me up until 2 in the morning. (I'm often up that late anyway, more often than I should be.) So thanks for the heads up. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

KATE: Kate wanting to contact Marc after 20 years is so completely unrealistic I could hardly believe it. The reason she did is perfectly obvious: WRITER'S FIAT. The writers wanted to give her that fantasy moment of perfect closure in which Marc just stood there being rebuked. And she never did tell him, then or now, that she was pregnant or had an abortion.

It didn't strike me as  nor completely unrealistic that Kate wanted to contact Marc after 20 years. I think Toby was right; if it was really behind her, she would have told him (and everybody else) much earlier.

What struck me as completely unrealistic were the words that came out of Kate's mouth when she did see Marc, because they were so, as you put it, "writerly." It didn't help that Marc hadn't progressed in life beyond where he was when Kate was 18 (although that wasn't unrealistic, but it seemed to drive home "once a loser, always a loser.")

Jeff of Earth-J said:

RANDALL: Randall leapt to the wrong conclusion about his mother. Beth was right about him contacting his therapist, because when he finally did, the therapist put the situation in perfect focus.

Oh, man, did he! And he dug in his heels too, as we saw in the promos with him wondering why his mother never tried to find him. It clearly hasn't occurred to him that maybe his mother did try and failed. After all, Randall tried to find them both, and it took three decades to locate William - and that was with the aid of a professional investigator.

It also didn't occur to Randall that maybe his mother tried to find him and her time ran out. I doubt she would have spent much time on the search if she was grappling with cancer.

Randall needs to get over himself.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

KEVIN: I didn't really have any problem with Kevin this episode. Toward the end they tried to set up a situation parallel to his first marriage, but we'll have to see how it plays out. I think the most significant aspect of his sub-plot is that he reached out to Randall. He reached out to Randall, but then Randall put his own needs first. 

I think Kevin was spot-on when he laid it out for Madison that his career calls for him to travel, he's not at the Tom Cruise/Denzel Washington level where he can dictate where filming takes place, and he didn't understand why she didn't understand that. But she still seemed to guilt him into thinking it's bad for him to do what he does when. I think Madison's parting words to Kevin should be applied to herself, too.

And yes, Kevin reached out to Randall ... and Randall put in one more bid to earn the title of the show's Most Unlikable Character.

Since we're early in Season 5, I should introduce Vulture's timeline for the Pearson family, which covers all events up revealed through the end of Season 4.  

"Everything That’s Happened on This Is Us, in Chronological Order"

The Season 5 premiere tied the Pearsons' joint birthday (Jack, Randall, Kate and Kevin) to the murder of George Floyd (and the attempted murder perpetrated by Central Park Karen), and I questioned above if This Is Us had previously established the date as May 25. According to the Vulture timeline, the day is August 31, and The Big Three's birthday was in 1980.

"We own a farmhouse on a lake in New Orleans where my dead biological mother fell in love with her Vietnamese boyfriend." Yep, that about sums it up. Then Randall sees a ghost.  A tragic love story.

Indeed. At least three hankys.

We didn't mention that last episode ended in a cliffhanger -- Kevin in a car racing from Vancouver back to Los Angeles because Madison went into early labor, and crashing the car(!) The promo for next episode showed a bit more of the crash scene, with the promise we'd find out what happened next week. 

Well, it's next week, and we're not finding out tonight because, y'know, COVID.

From Deadline: "'This Is Us’ To Air Repeat Instead of Original Episode Tonight Due to Covid-Related Production Delays"

Guess what? It's the next next week and we're still not finding out tonight what happened to Kevin because, y'know, COVID. 

From TheWrap: "Next ‘This Is Us’ Episode Pushed Again Due to Pandemic Production Delays"

Thanks for letting us know.

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