Friday, April 5, 2019

What I’m Watching: This Is Us

This Is Us: Season 3, Episode 17 “R and B” (B+)

I’m not sure I’ve taken the time to acknowledge the extensive makeup efforts that go into this show to make characters look much younger or older than they are when they’re usually seen. In this case, it was tremendously impressive to see younger versions of Randall and Beth that were clearly portrayed by the same actors yet actually seemed so much more youthful. Tracing the progression of their relationship to highlight Beth’s point that they’ve always fought the same fights was tremendously effective, and it supports what we know about them as a couple and how we’ve seen them grow apart recently as a result of professional challenges unrelated to their children. A teenage suit-wearing Randall taking out his checkbook when he was asked to pay for their meal before ordering during their first date was a pivotal moment in understanding their dynamic, but nothing was more poignant than Beth defiantly bringing Randall to her favorite nachos place so that he could propose at the moment that felt right to her. Telling him that he leaves her with the crumbs was a stark and haunting metaphor, one that’s evidently going to lead to further problems as they did decide to sleep apart. On a lighter note, it was nice to see William and to watch them co-write their wedding vows since they’re better together. I also liked Kate telling Kev he had something on his chin during his ill-advised goatee phase – we don’t usually get unserious moments like that between the two of them.

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