Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What I’m Watching: This Is Us

This Is Us: Season 1, Episode 4 “The Pool” (B)

I can understand what this show is trying to do by isolating one memorable event from its characters’ childhood and using it to frame three distinctly separate plotlines and trajectories in the present. One fateful day at the pools seems like an overly significant representation of Kate being bullied because of her weight, Randall feeling lost because his skin color doesn’t match the rest of his family’s, and Kevin just trying to get some attention since he doesn’t have any particular struggles to overcome. The most poignant part of all that was Randall keeping track of the black people he met and Rebecca doing the right thing and asking her fellow pool-visiting mother for a barbershop for Randall. His childhood loneliness is coming through a lot in his reaction to William’s chronicles of his society-challenging activities in the 80s, and there’s really no way for him to make up for not being there during that time. Kate spent the episode focusing on something else other than her weight, though her stalkerish behavior with Toby’s ex-wife stemmed from the fact that she was so noticeably skinny and in shape. Toby’s reaction was priceless, and hopefully that’s one situation that Kate will be able to talk herself out of. Kevin’s audition went quite poorly, but his stammering seems to have helped him land a major role opposite an entirely unamused British actress. I liked Janet Montgomery a lot on “Human Target,” and hopefully this foray into network television will be infinitely more successful for her than the ill-conceived “Made in Jersey” was.

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