Hi everyone and welcome back to my favourite box of kleenex: This is Us. Rolling S1:E6 Career Days after the break.
We're back with The Little Big Three; Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) crunching numbers and coming up short, so into the office he went, suit and tie and all. Flash forward a decade and he's still there, but Miguel (Jon Huertas) just got promoted to Project Manager and he wants Jack to come with him.
No dice, Jack wants to make a run on his own, risky or not: he'll get more time with his kids. Miguel gives him to the end of the week to decide.
We're at home where Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore) is happy enough with the kids' report cards to promise ice cream after supper; none for her, though, or Jack won't be able to pick her up and swing her around any more. Kate (Mackenzie Hancsicsak) hears that and stops smiling about the ice cream; her mother's body image issues affecting her almost subconsciously but irrevocably. Like putting a 9 year old on a diet.
Kevin (Parker Bates) wouldn't stop screaming for attention, so he got Jack's eye over Randall (Lonnie Chavis) whose teacher wants to see Rebecca and Jack.
Every single scene thus far has started with someone playing a piano, in the present it's William Hill (Ron Cephas Jones) welcoming older Randall (Sterling K. Brown) home from work. Annie (Faithe Herman) and Tess (Eris Baker) are loving their grandfather's musical talent, can he come to their Career Day? But Randall's already signed up! Uncle Kevin (Justin Hartley) interrupts, HEY, can he come to their Career Day? DADDY IS COMING TO CAREER DAY. And it's gonna be LIT.
Nope, that's not how you use LIT.
Ahhh, the teacher wanted to see Jack and Rebecca because Randall scored off the charts in aptitude testing, his mediocre grades probably mean he's not being challenged enough. She suggests a school for the gifted for Randall, but Jack's worried that Randall will be too isolated without his brother and sister. Can they go too? Let's just say...no. Kevin and Kate are not gifted, even though Jack thinks they're exceptional as well.
Kevin's..not doing all that well on the play. He's struggling with the pivotal grief scene; the producer Ron Schilling (John Rubenstein) and playwright Sloane (Milana Vayntrub) hilariously browbeat him: hasn't he ever lost anyone? Well, yeah, he lost his dad, but maybe that's too much to tap into. He doesn't have to make them believe him! Except that is literally exactly his job.
Tony Award Winning Actress Olivia Maine (Janet Montgomery) tells them to ease up on poor Kev, he can take her to a party tomorrow to relax instead. Huh
Kate (Chrissy Metz) has a job interview, yay! But it's at a house on top of 400 tiny crumbling stone steps, boooo. She makes it, yay! And gets the job, bigger YAY! Then gets called fat by the client's daughter, booooooo. Sorry, that was too fast. Kate's new boss is Marin Rosenthal (Jamie Goertz!!) and she's lovely, it's just her yerk of a daughter Jemma (Ariana Vail) that leaves us not knowing where to look. Marin said the job wouldn't involve too much personal fetching and carrying, I hope she doesn't have to spend much time with that teenager.
Also: Kate used to be in love with her boss? Let's meet him!!
Randall is doing his level best to impress Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) by previewing his commodities broken for the weather speech; what's really going on, Randall? He's wondering if maybe he should have been a poet, a musician, an artist, like his dad and his dad before him. Maybe he got put on this academic fast track and nobody empowered that part of his DNA, howbowdah? Beth DIGS this early mid-life crisis!
Kate is killing it at her new job; it would be so weird to work out of someone's home though, right? And now she has to drive Jemma somewhere, boooooooo.
This party Olivia invited Kevin to is a memorial service, he's going to learn to mimic grief. And quickly, before all the good cheese is gone.
Rebecca and Jack are checking out Hanes Academy; Jack does not like the look of these "Nazi robots." He doesn't want Randall to become like him, with fluorescent lighting destroying his retinas or something: office work. He's hating office work and he hasn't mentioned anything to Rebecca so she asks what the Sam Hill is going on. She supports him in whatever he wants to do, she just wants him to be happy. That means maybe no Nazi Robot Academy for Randall just yet.
Jemma texts the whole time Kate is driving, never giving her the address of the friend whose house she's going to, THEN bringing up Kate's weight again and insinuating that her mom only hired Kate to make her feel better about being fat? Or something? Kate doesn't care, she's had enough. Jemma doesn't have to feel sad for her, SHE has a ride home. This was glorious and must be captured in it's entirety. After Kate kicks Jemma out:
Kate:and you know what? You can walk to Ashley's. And fat girl to fat girl, if you keep up the pace you can burn 417 calories an hour walking.
Woo hoo, there is good cheese still left at the service! Well. Olivia thinks American Cheese is awesome and like sinking into a bed and that English cheese is "so blue it's angry" so she and I will never share snacks. The woman is clearly a monster. And a good liar! Coming up with a story about the deceased and putting on an American accent on the spot when approached by the Grace (Molly Hagan - who I will love forever for her role in Some Kind Of Wonderful. Do you know I have two DVD copies of that? THREE of Pretty in Pink! Where was I?) to talk about poor departed Frank. Olivia pulls it off, but Kevin is frustrated and embarrassed. He doesn't like being treated as though he needs help (he does) and for an actor, he doesn't like lying much.
Kate sees her beautiful mom coming out of her shower; she's at that stage where she's comparing herself to Rebecca. Rebecca says that if Kate thinks she's pretty, then Kate is too because they look alike. Kate fetches a shirt for her mom, comparing the size of their clothing: Small to XL.
Kevin went off in search of a beverage and instead ended up tapping into all of his grief over his father dying. He started off comforting Grace (so happy to see more screen time for Molly Hagan!) about the is-wasness of people dying and ends up snotting all over her about only having one thing left of his dad: the necklace he wears. Him and Jack used to build models together; he threw them all away when Jack died because he was so angry. Grace asks how old Kevin was: we all hold our breath until he answers "it was a long time ago." BUT WHEN A LONG TIME AGO??
Then the hugging, crying and snotting. Followed by "who are you, again?" which made me laugh.
Randall's having a playdate over at Yvette's (Ryan Michelle Bathe) house, you remember, the black mom from the pool that gave Rebecca such a hard time then helped her. He runs the Hanes Academy by her, he's worried that Randall will be even more socially isolated at this new school than he is now but all she sees is Jack holding his child back because he's black. If he wants that kind of support
It's Career Day! And Randall has to follow a female fire fighter who saves children's lives every day. NO PRESSURE. He's a weather trader and just as I was thinking he should sing something, he tells us he wrote a song about it! And now he's at the piano! Oh. Oh goodness. It's just not in your DNA, fella. I bet you're a great weather trader!
Olivia finds Kevin hiding in a bedroom, he's hating this exercise. Grace is a real person, drowning in grief and he's just realised he is too. She asks why he buries all those feelings; that sorrow is a part of him. It won't be denied, and neither will she, coming in for a kiss and them ending up on the bed (like the American cheese she likes so much) together on top of all of those coats.
One time? My mom found a couple throwing down on top of me during a party. I was under all the coats and they didn't notice until a mama bear threw them out of my room unceremoniously. It's only now I'm wondering why everyone dumped their coats on a little kids' bed.
Kate isn't even fired! Because Marin did hire her because she was fat, she was looking to help influence Jemma and that's shitty.
Not shitty: seeing Kate from every angle. Do you know how hard it is to see any woman of size on TV from more than the one camera perspective? Behind a sofa usually, or poured into something hourglass-shapeish and only able to be whorish, as though fat women are either invisible or completely unable to control their appetites. I love shots like that, I drink them in. Chrissy Metz is a real person! She exists and she works and eats and breathes and looks like a regular person and I canea get enough of those shots from the side. It gives us the space to be.
Kate negotiates hard and gets everything she wants in return for not quitting (except an intern. Too far).
Jack's brought Randall to work with him; he needs his help with some numbers. Randall helps at first but then hides, he doesn't know how to do it! It's because Jack and Rebecca have always tried to treat the kids the same, but of course they aren't. They don't talk about Randall's adoption enough and he's been hiding, not wanting Kate and Kevin to feel bad. Jack gives him one of those awesome TV dad speeches, ending with "I want you to stand out" and "you are an exceptional young man" because apparently he likes it when I cry.
William finds a forlorn Randall at his piano; Randall really thought this was his time to shine. Just without practicing or having any natural talent. William has no idea what Randall does for work, but he recognises the passion; he's seen that in some of the world's greatest musicians. We all have our metier, Randall. Yours is not the pianner, but rather the trading of weather commodities.
Kate takes a minute to talk to the Jemma again; she understands what she's going through. She had a gorgeous mom whom she compared herself to all the time and took it out on her, now they don't talk and it sucks.
Randall's had an epiphany; he remembers back how his dad taught him to put his tie on properly and how different it is for him. He likes to wear a tie, and he loves his work, even if it isn't rescuing babies from fires. AND he's not taking piano lessons from William, he'll be taking lessons from a neighbour down the block, there will be a recital in the spring and everyone will be required to attend.
Tess asks what that was?? "That was a midlife crisis, baby. But just a little one, so." Hahahahaha
Olivia wasn't just teaching Kevin about the nature of grief, she was throwing in a little extra credit, too: they will never sleep together again because she's his dead wife. What a manipulative, condescending c-word that doesn't moo. That was probably supposed to be fun, I may just be a killjoy.
Randall goes to his new school; he and Jack have something in common
And Jack stays at his job for Randall. G'bye Big Three Homes and g'bye yous, we're out.
That's parenthood, right? Giving up what you want, what you need so that you can help one of your kiddos advance, to feel connected through change. It's also parenthood to never know why your kids are mad at you, just trying to hustle through and enjoy as much as you can, never understanding how deeply your life choices imprint on your offspring. Until next time, you guys. Cheers