HI everyone! I'm TalksTooMuch (TTM) and I will be recapping this new series This Is Us for your reading pleasure for two reasons. One: a dear reader friend suggested it and two: I want to see how Kate (Chrissy Metz)'s story plays out. Who's with me?! Rolling after the break!
We open with facts:
Let's find out what that means to us here! We're in the past, I think, in a space just being moved into or out of "family photos '75-'79" is out first clue that we're looking backwards. And directly at Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia)'s finely toned arse. He's ready! Time for his birthday present!
Talk about ready! This is Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore - aka Sheriff Callie!) had to put the lingerie on top of her clothes, awww, hahaha so cute. She wants to skip the seductive birthday dance but hey: it's HIS birthday, start bumping and grinding your pregnant bum over here, Becs!
It's Kate Pearson (Chrissy Metz)'s 36th birthday, yay! She's got a cake, but everything is marked with caloric value. I've been there, lady, go read "Dietland" by Sarai Walker, it's a revelation. There are sticky notes all over EVERYTHING in fact, from "BAD" to "Throw this crap out" and please: I beg of all of you. Recognise that food is just different types of fuel. Assigning emotional quotients to it just adds an extra layer of difficulty when trying to get healthy.
She's got extra stickies UNDER the stickies, we're all a little stunned by that. She steps in front of the scale.
Across town, Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown) is celebrating HIS birthday too! See, now that I have the IMDb, I know that these people are all related; the first time I watched I was all "What kind of coincidence is THAT??" He's the boss and he has a super fancy office in the sky with a treadmill and everything!
Sexy shirtless Man-Ny Kevin Pearson (Justin Hartley) wonders where his life went; he's pondering his birthday while two beautiful women try to entice him into a threeway dance.
Jack's still enjoying his 36th birthday dance from Rebecca, it's awesome! Time for dessert! Oh wait, she's having triplets, whuuuut?
Randall has gotten some good birthday news, someone has found William Hill (Ron Cephas Jones - from Mr. Robot!!!) for him, his dad?
Kate has done the math that we've all done; you don't weigh yourself in clothing!
That shot alone made me love this show. You know how impossible it is to see a big body on TV? Without being the object of ridicule? I LOVE IT. She's not digging the number on the scale, though, better get those earrings off, too. She misjudged the angle of the scale and goes FLYING.
Rebecca can't believe Jack wants a piece of this, but she knows how to change his mood. Her water just broke.
Kevin just can't seem to get into sexy-dancing with the ladies, he wants to talk about the Challenger explosion and Christa McAuliffe's death, which is a major boner-killer for the extremely young women trying to bang him. That's when his dreams of meaning something died, along with the first teacher in space. His phone rings; his sister needs him!
Kate's his sister! And she's not dealing with late thirties so well. How did she get here? She had a dream, she's marring a guy like her dad and be a mom like her mom and look at her! It's like she ate her dream life away, what can he tell her? What are the magic words? "Stop feeling sorry for yourself! Wake the hell up!" and then he makes her tell herself to "lose the damn weight."
You know. TANGENT
I would like to think I will be able to be objective about Kate's story, but I cannot. Long story short, I Lost The Damn Weight and while it was life-changing and life-opening: it didn't solve anything. I sure got a LOT more male attention, some good, some bad but it didn't help change who I am at essence. If you lack confidence, losing weight can be a great confidence boost: while you are losing it. While you're gaining it back: not so much. And the vast majority of weight DOES come back, our bodies get super attached to it and bodies really, really do not like change. Don't believe Word One about changing your metabolism through some pill or another, bodies are the end-all be-all for change. At the end of the day, it is totally possible to change yourself, isn't it time to think about whether or not there are more important things to put our time, money and energy into? Like, ANYTHING else?
I was reluctant to recap this show and yet I wanted to recap this show all because of Kate. There is a way in which plus-sized people are portrayed and I am forming a non-denominational prayer circle right now that she doesn't follow the typical arc. Plus size person loses weight, finds love, emerges triumphant and has revenge on all the suitors and detractors that made her feel less than previously.
Can she not lose weight? Can we see a person be healthy but big? To accept her life without it being based solely around her size? Can we do ANY of that?
Jack and Rebecca are at the hospital, the kiddos are six weeks early. That's very early, but probably not unusual since we're talking multiples. The doctor comes in, Dr. Katowsky (Gerald McRaney - I LOVE him! Tusk from House of Cards and every other damn thing) is funny and easygoing but Jack is worried because he's also slightly...aged. And not Dr. Schneider, who is their usual OB-Gyn and had his appendix burst on the way to surgery.
He may be aged and a stranger, but all of his faculties are intact and he knows how important this day is and how risky the pregnancy is and he is going to do his level best for this family. It was so sweet, so very sweet this scene. I love you Dr. K, he made me cry here
Now. Which one of you is pregnant? Made me actually laugh out loud
Kevin's doing a live taping of his show The Man-Ny, why is he trying to breastfeed a live baby? You do NOT want that baby to latch, it will drop you to your knees like a gunshot.
He asks for a cut; he wants the writer to explain to him how a grown man can think he can breastfeed an actual baby. (Is he brain damaged? Coz I can do a voice) Casey (Andrew Santino) lays it out very clearly: say the line or they'll find some other shirtless bonehead named Ryan to do so.
Randall and his wife Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) are watching two soccer games at once, one little girl is braiding hair on the field, the other is kicking bums and taking names. "4 boys crying and counting!" Randall blurts out that he found his father; who left Randall at a fire station after his crack addict mother died during childbirth.
Stage One of new resolution time: Kate is throwing away all the "BAD" food in her fridge. To make sure it takes, she's dumping fresh dogshit on top of it.
Stage Two is a weight-loss / Overeater's Anonymous meeting in a church basement; Tanya (Da'Vine Joy Randolf) was called to help others lose weight as she herself lost weight. Toby (Chris Sullivan) and I are confused, because she still has like lots of the weight. Which is totally cool, it's just that her mirrors might not be working.
Everyone shares, we have saboteurs, people trying (that made me tear up), people eating out of the fridge in the middle of the night and one young, thin blonde woman who wants them to understand the horror of looking like her and carrying around an extra seven pounds.
Kate sees Toby committing harakiri in the corner and smiles against her will; making eye contact again when he laughs out loud at a woman blaming eating an entire pizza on her mom never letting her have one. Or maybe it was the stomach stapler he was picturing, ANYWAY, inappropriate but Kate gets him!
He approaches her at the coffee table, do you wanna be fat friends? Sure, but she's losing the weight. And sorry, she can't fall for a fat person right now. C'mon, Kate, he's adorable and funny, get at that!
Rebecca is pushing! And Jack doesn't want to have the conversation about something happening with the kiddos, he's walking out with three healthy children and a healthy wife: end of story. This will be a complicated birth, Dr. K is counseling caution, but Jack will not hear about it. This is his birthday and only good things will happen today, got it? Three cribs, three onesies (better get 3000 onesies) and three babies, coming up. He needs Dr. K to KNOW it. He knows he likes them, let's start there.
Randall takes the afternoon off; he's off to see William Hill and give him a planned speech about not needing his dad, he's made it in this world! He was raised by two loving parents and has a $143,000.00 car parked across the street that he paid cash for (he doesn't LOOK like a drug dealer or hookah, but I've been wrong before); he proved to himself that he didn't need a THING from William, even after he knew who he was.
Want to come in? Okay
William doesn't have anything to say; Randall is anxious and ready to jump down his throat. William can't say or explain anything because he doesn't remember that day, he's clean now but he wasn't then and all he can surmise is that the fire station sounds like something he would do. He always liked fire stations.
Randall tries on a "screw you!" and storming out, but his heart isn't innit. Does William want to meet his grandchildren? He'll get his coat
Heeey, the Great Canadian Cheeseball Alan Thicke is guest-starring on The Man-Ny, woo hoo! I do like Alan Thicke, I just have to acknowledge how unrelentingly cheesy he is. He compliments Kevin on his upcoming scene; acting chops coming into play!
It's a great scene, full of pathos and emotion and Kevin does well. He's ecstatic after, flying high off capturing and portraying the emotions in a difficult scene. Now it's time to lighten it up, unfortunately. For Casey, who wants him to lose the shirt. It's just better without the shirt.
Kevin loses his shite; beating the baby doll after the floor. Don't worry! Nothing on this show is real, he tells the studio audience taping him on their phones. It's all fake! God forbid we have real emotion on this show!
He's been thinking, it's not the writer's fault for putting this shite out there on the screen! It's not the network, it's the AUDIENCE! He addresses them directly; it's your fault for expecting so little from us! "Shame on me for taking the money. Shame on you for making me famous. Shame on all of us!"
I loathe sitcoms and do what I can to never ever watch any. Girls is my indulgence, but that's because it's gloriously subversive.
Ryan Gosling won't do this crap, and neither will he. He quits.
The babies are coming!! One male out! Rebecca looks bad, something is wrong. Dr. K has to go in and get those other two babies.
Beth gets home to find Randall and William at the door; William meets Tess (Eris Baker - the tomboy soccer player) and Annie (Faithe Herman - the future hairstylist) and entertains them while Randall explains to Beth.
He TRIES to explain, but he doesn't understand it himself. It's like a bad sitcom, like The Man-Ny, he just keeps doing the opposite of what he plans around this man! William left him at a fire station and he invited him to dinner. Randall is cracking up
Kate and Toby are having supper, he has a crush on Sally Field, who's TOTALLY gonna peak in her 70s, mark those words. He wants dessert, she does not: cheque it is. Damnit.
They had a great date, isn't she going to invite him in for "a nightcap or a handie or something?"
Here's the other part I don't like about Kate's character, she's much more fun when she's not around Toby, who's hilariousness turns her into a mute. Apparently.
Okay, he can come in for a water, no wine, they've already had their 6 ounces (150). "You want to know how many calories in a sausage?"
They watch dolphin-humping videos on YouTube, wanna fool around? She does, but she's nervous. It's been a long time in between suitors. She calls her body "not a very pretty picture" and then Kevin breaks up their makeout sesh.
Why isn't she answering her phone?? He was the picture of artistic integrity but Toby's too busy getting selfies with The Man-Ny.
We're with Jack again; ohhhh Dr. K has good news and bad news. Rebecca is fine but they lost the third baby. The little girl born second is strong, but the third had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and he didn't make it. Jack can't process.
Dr. K sits to keep him company for a second; okay if he tries to say something meaningful? He lost his wife last year to cancer, which is why he's still working so much at 73. They lost their very first child during delivery, it's the reason he went into this field. He has spent the last five decades thinking of that baby he lost, he'd like to think one day Jack could do that, find a way to help someone else deal with that pain. To show that even with the sourest of lemons, they can make lemonade.
William's looking at a picture of Randall's parents; they were at the hospital when the fireman showed up with Randall. William thinks it's time to leave, and he doesn't want to see Randall again. He's dying. Sick was months ago, now he's dying. He appreciates the kindness Randall has shown him, letting him meet his grandkids: Randall's dad must be very proud of him.
Kevin, Kate and Toby are having a glass of wine (150); he's worried he isn't better than The Man-Ny. What will he do now? Broadway? Nah, can't sing. Porn? Maybe...Toby goes to get more wine and Kate reminds Kevin of what their dad used to say whenever they were down, when things weren't going their way.
We're back with Jack, who's talking to a fireman who brought in a baby left at his fire station...
The fireman offers Jack a smoke and then we know, then we know Jack isn't just a trendy dude in denim with an ironic face-wombat: this is the seventies and he is Kate, Kevin and Randall's DAD!!!! That was such a shock.
Kate and Kevin's dad used to say: there is no lemon so sour that you can't make lemonade, just like Dr. K taught him.
William settles down in the spare room with an autographed poster of The Man-Ny (to my favourite nieces) while Kate settles Kevin on her couch and gets her first kiss with Toby out of the way.
The music takes us out as Rebecca cries and we see The Big Three all together for the first time
Tell me you didn't cry, you big stinker!
That was a nice show. Nice as in it was well written, well shot, well acted and I enjoyed the twist with Jack being the father of Kate, Kevin AND Randall. It had depth but not too much for setting the table in the Pilot and I have high, oh so high, hopes for Kate and Toby. Until next time, you guys, thanks again to JS for the suggestion. Cheers!