“This Is Us” accomplished the astounding feat of bringing back appointment viewing.
During primetime on Tuesday, Sept. 26, more families since the days of NBC’s Must See TV are expected to tune in for the season premiere. At the time of the actual airing!
But before we plant our butts in front of the TV, let’s review why we’re willing to let NBC dictate our actions and whereabouts.
For starters, we’re so hooked on the mysteries of the Pearson family, and there are many— the primary one being how did the family’s beloved (and sexy-even-with-a-’70s-porn-star-‘stache) patriarch Jack die?
Record scratch – again!
Aside from Jack’s fate, there are these BIG EMOTIONAL moments that you see coming, and you steel yourself from crying because you will not be manipulated this time and then those writers sucker punch you with a heart-rending twist and snot ends up in your wine glass anyway.
Oh. Plus, there are a lot of laughs and great characters that remind us of our own relatives.
Top 10 scenes from ‘This Is Us’
1. Rebecca gets schooled on barbering
“The Pool,” Episode 4
The young Pearson children go to a public pool. Plenty to pluck as favorite scenes in this episode from Kate’s humiliating fat-shaming to Kevin’s near-drowning and rant:
“You’re so busy making sure Kate’s not eating too much and Randall’s not too adopted! And, meanwhile, where’s Kevin? Oh, guess what, he’s dead!”
But these many months later, we find ourselves remembering Rebecca’s frantic search for a missing Randall that finds him playing with other black children.
“He’s not supposed to be over here,” a miffed Rebecca says. “I just want him where we can see him.”
A black mother gives Rebecca some advice: “You need a barber who knows how to cut black hair.”
Rebecca harrumphs off. But because she cares about Randall more than her pride, she returns later and arranges a play date with the woman’s son and gets a tip about how to keep Randall’s skin from turning ashy.
2. The background kid in the pool does the “dab” and “nae nae” dance
“The Pool,” Episode 4
You probably didn’t notice, but watch the kid in the background. Apparently he’s a time traveler or something because the “whip,” “nae nae,” and “dab” didn’t come out until 2015 and this was supposed to be a flashback scene! Major editing fail, but that’s okay. We forgive you, “This Is Us” crew.
3. Kate explaining why she watches the Steelers games alone
“The Game Plan,” Episode 5
Dad Jack instilled a love of the Pittsburgh Steelers in his children. Perhaps because he conceived them Super Bowl night in a bar bathroom? Maybe. So here sits his grown daughter with his urn telling her boyfriend, “I watch the Steelers, and I watch them with my dad.” Creepy? No. I’m not sure why. It’s rather sweet, and like all references in the show, it means that Jack really, really is dead. That is super sad.
4. Jack telling Randall to stand out
“Career Days,” Episode 6
We already have reasons to love Jack as a father, but this scene is best. Jack learns that a young Randall is stifling his gifted mind for fear of standing out from his brother and sister. Maybe the lines that Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) says to his adopted son (a sincere, barely holding-it-together Lonnie Chavis) wouldn’t be so good if they weren’t so well-acted:
“I want all of you to be as different as you can possibly be. In all the best ways. I love you as much as a human heart can, kiddo. You are an exceptional young man. So don’t let your dad’s poor choices make you afraid to be different. OK?”
5. The brothers brawling
“The Best Washing Machine in the Whole World,” Episode 7
This episode doesn’t make a lot of the “best of” lists. But we think it should because of the hilarious, awkward brawl between brothers Randall and Kevin in Times Square.
Their simmering sibling rivalry spilled out of a restaurant and onto the streets of New York. Kevin got mad that Randall never watched the TV series he starred in, “The Manny.” Randall points out that Kevin still doesn’t even know what he does for a living. The two started throwing punches. Kevin is recognized by his TV fans who start capturing the scene on their iPhones. A smiling Kevin tells people that it’s all OK, he’s only fighting with his brother. Later at home, Randall tells Kevin that in 36 years, that was the only time he called him, his adopted brother, brother. Awww. Even the funny moments are touching.
6. When Kevin lets Miguel be Pilgrim Rick at Thanksgiving
“Pilgrim Rick,” Episode 8
Miguel’s a complicated character because you just can’t help but hate him for replacing Jack, and he wasn’t the most ~ ethical ~ of friends. But on the other hand, the writers seems to portray him in a somewhat-decent light in the show’s present-day scenes. He’s a “good guy” who’s trying, and at least he’s there for Rebecca? I guess?
But the best part of episode eight was definitely when Kevin decides to drop the macho man act and let Miguel play the role of Pilgrim Rick, a family tradition. THE ROLE JACK USED TO PLAY.
7. Jack does push-ups with Randall on his back
“The Trip,” Episode 9
“Jack, your back was built to carry your son through life,” Randall’s karate teacher says. “Are you willing to hold him up no matter what comes his way? … Are you willing to raise this young boy into a strong man? Are you willing to push him to be the best man in the world he can be?”
Jack says yes, but it was his actions that really demonstrated his character. When the teacher said he could stop, he refused, and continued to push up with Randall on his back, thus resulting in MORE TEARS FLOWING INTO OUR WINE.
8. Kate absolutely loses it during the drum-stick class at weight-loss camp
“Three Sentences,” Episode 13
Kate decides to finally just let go (let it out, really) during the yoga-drumming-whatever class, and the scene is so perfectly relatable, it’s uncomfortable.
I’m pretty sure we’ve ALL felt so overwhelmed we wanted to just scream — and maybe some of us do! But probably in the car or with your face smushed in a pillow… You know, alone.
So the fact that Kate just screams bloody murder in front of everyone is both emotionally cathartic and flipping hysterical. And I appreciate how the show keeps it real. Like even the instructor is all hold up for a minute, you alright?
9. William shares life’s wisdom before he dies
“Memphis,” Episode 16
You know from the get-go that Randall’s biological father is dying. You even know that this is the episode where it happens.
Father and son share an epic road trip to Memphis. Uptight Randall gets drunk, sings on stage, meets a band of cousins he never knew.
But William ends up in a Memphis hospital. He’s not going home.
William tells Randall to stop being so stiff. Live more. Stress less.
“Roll all your windows down, Randall. Crank up the music. Grow out that fro. Let someone else make your bed. You deserve the beautiful life you’ve made.”
From his hospital bed, William says he’s scared.
Then Randall starts to channel his adoptive father, Jack, with the words he used to calm a young Randall down.
10. Jack’s parting words to Rebecca
Before Jack heads to Miguel’s, in what we can only hope will be an extremely short separation for the two love birds, he tells Rebecca about the night they met and how he stood up another girl for her.
Rebecca says she wonders who it was, but in typical can-this-man-be-any-sweeter fashion, Jack reassures her: He never has. He then proceeds to explain why he loves her:
- She’s the mother of his children
- She’s still the most beautiful woman in any room
- She laughs with her entire face
- She dances funny and not sexy, which makes it even sexier
- But most of all: She’s still the same woman she was years ago, who ran out of a blind date because she simply had to sing
“You’re not just my great love story, Rebecca. You are my big break,” he says, in reference to an earlier scene from before he met her when he vents to a friend, saying, “When is my big break?”
And in the best but most devastating way to end season one, he says:
“And our love story, I know it may not feel like it right now. But baby, I promise you, it’s just getting started.”
WATCH: Season 2 Teaser
WATCH: Sneak peek preview from Season 2