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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Then there's Kate and Toby's blowup, and aftermath. Frankly, I think the show spent too much time with them. Also, I've seen a lot of commentary with people choosing sides. Although I have maintained (and still do) that Kate is a horrible person, I'm not exactly Team Toby; there were a few too many moments in which he was a jerk and a few too many moments in which he made the kind of sharp remarks that cut too deep to walk back ... although I can't disagree with them.

I think the show took pains to paint things as two people who didn't grow together with neither being wholly wrong nor wholly right. In so doing, it allowed people to choose Team Kate or Team Toby. Like I said, I'm not Team Toby ... but I do think she was more wrong than he was about most things.

Like whether they should move to San Francisco. I think as a couple they should have considered the idea. They may well have concluded it was not the best move to make, but Toby just springing it on her (with a house and a real estate agent right there!) was out of line, and Kate refusing because of the adjustment she would have to make and setting her feet in cement was just as wrong.

But one fundamental problem with those two (other than the one Madison pointed out a while back, that Toby cannot say what he thinks without being punished for it), is that there are too many people in this marriage. Toby thinks of his family as the children and Kate; Kate thinks of her family as her brothers and her mom, and then the children, and then Toby (and then maybe Miguel). That scene with Toby and Kate arguing on the lawn with Randall and Kevin beside her really said it all.

And then there's a whole episode devoted to the actual slow-motion car wreck, with a parallel plot about Kate's courtship with Phillip. About that, I think cramming that courtship into one episode was an error. Outside that one episode, what we've seen of Phillip hasn't been very nice. He's been rude and dismissive to Kate -- and not because he's seen what a horrible person she can be! -- and the transition from that to the man who becomes her second husband needed more space to make us buy it.

The sob story about losing his estranged wife to a vehicle crash after a fight about their infertility issues and his refusal to try for a fourth time to have a child ... that was too much. I know a young couple going through something similar right now, and I knew a couple who had such an issue whose marriage didn't survive. (I also know a long-standing couple who made it through with healthy now-adult sons.) 

The estrangement would have been enough.

I didn't think you're up to the "Saturday in the Park" episode yet, but Chicago (the band) was very pleased with the show's use of their song in that episode.

The most recent episode features a perhaps unexpected pairing of two characters who have such great chemistry together it's too bad we are not going to be able to see much more of it.

Oh, I'm fully up to date. I usually don't get to watch it the day of, usually a day or two later. But I haven't had time to sit down and share my thoughts, and now that they're in this stretch when it actually is on every week, it's easy to fall behind. 

Now, other people are free to drop their thoughts without waiting for me ...

Jeff of Earth-J said:

The most recent episode features a perhaps unexpected pairing of two characters who have such great chemistry together it's too bad we are not going to be able to see much more of it.

Yes, I loved Beth and Madison as the modern-day Snoop Sisters.* I could watch them in their own spinoff in that vein. 

* (Anybody remember that show? It aired for one season on NBC. Basically, it was Murder, She Wrote with two old ladies, 10 years before anybody ever heard of Jessica Fletcher.)

"Anybody remember that show?"

I remember it only as the answer to a TV Guide crossword puzzle my mom once did.

"I could watch them in their own spinoff in that vein."

I'd watch it!

I remember the existence of The Snoop Sisters but never saw it. It sounded more like two Miss Marples!

Well, what is Murder, She Wrote but an American version of Miss Marple?

SPOILERS FOR 4/26 EPISODE:

This episode played out pretty much as I hoped it would (in terms of plot) and suspected it would (in terms of structure). I was rooting for Sophie all along. I've thought Kevin should be with her ever since she got married. I thought her marriage was an insurmountable obstruction, but when it is revealed she is divorced, the way forward is clear. OTOH, plot structure would dictate that he needs to have a dalliance with all three women, and won't end up with the first but the last. Unfortunately, the episode began with Sophie first.

I never did consider the "wedding singer" to be a viable option (although the poetry-on-a-napkin scene was pretty convincing). My head told me Cassidy was the wrong choice, and the situation was handled perfectly. Then the plot loops back to Sophie so she effectively end up being both first and last. Also, Rebecca's "voice from the past" was well-played in getting her to come to her decision. 

The wedding singer was such an obvious misdirect that her name might as well have been Scarlet "Red" Herring.

Speaking of weddings, what's a wedding without a line dance?

Details here from TVLine: "This Is Us' Wedding Dance Party Will Wobble Away Your Big Green Egg Angst"

I love how Mandy Moore and Susan Kelechi Watson are in comfy slippers.

One part of the episode that didn't work for me was the Valentine's Day card from the day he and Sophie first met (giving new meaning to the term "love at first sight"). Did he give it to her that day? If so, how did he get it back? Did he not give it to her? If so, how did she recognize it? And are we to believe that he carries it with him wherever he goes? If not, why is he carrying it now? He must have had some plan to show it to her, even though (as far as he knew) she was still married. Still, it made for a touching, if unbelievable scene. More believable would have been for him to say, "Remember that Valentine I gave you they day we first met in first grade?" More believable still would have been for her to respond, "Not really, no."

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