This Is Us: Pilot
September 22, 2016 7:21 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

The show follows four 36-year-old people with the same birthday. Jack's wife Rebecca goes into labor on his birthday. Kate attends a weight loss support group. Kevin quits his job as the lead on a bad sitcom. Randall meets his biological father for the first time. Major spoilers inside.

They got me in the first few minutes, because I just turned 36 and my wife is pregnant. I'm not only the audience; I'm the plot! But seriously, I'd been looking forward to this from the commercial previews. It's even better than I expected. I thought the Kevin storyline was pretty weak at first, and Randall had some clunky lines, especially at his kids' soccer game. But the Jack/Rebecca and Kate stories were strong from the start, and everything rounded out well. I was literally crying when they told Jack that one of the triplets died, and I'm not the kind of dude who cries at TV shows (with one exception). Then when they showed that Jack would adopt the abandoned baby, thereby revealing that the triplets were the other three main characters, I pretty much lost it.

Overall, a promising start. I thought the writing was pretty good, not outstanding, but it's a tough topic to write about without being sappy. But they walked the line well. Four stars out of five. And the acting was good. All were very believable. Most importantly, it's a topic I find interesting. I'm looking forward to more episodes.
posted by kevinbelt (12 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I liked it -- the "Manny's" on-set freakout was a little over the top, and some of the dialogue with Kate and her date ("handie"? really?) left a bad taste in my mouth about that guy, but overall a decent start. So does anyone know how it's going to continue? Is it going to keep alternating between past and present? Will anyone play the parents in present day?
posted by Clustercuss at 9:17 AM on September 22, 2016

I enjoyed it. They hid the "big reveal" really well, I think. I'm in for at least another episode or two to see where they're heading with it - like, now that we know there's two different time periods, how are the stories going to relate?
posted by dnash at 10:17 AM on September 22, 2016

Also, I would be OK with more naked Milo Ventimiglia.
posted by dnash at 10:39 AM on September 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

What I liked about the reveal is that, after you know, the clues are there for you to smack yourself like "oh that was obvious", but it wasn't obvious when you were watching it. It was well-crafted.

I also liked how the plot of "The Manny" paralleled Randall's real life.
posted by kevinbelt at 11:07 AM on September 22, 2016

I would have preferred it if Kate had been an actor on a sitcom she felt was beneath her, and Kevin's plotline was about getting his eating disorder under control.
posted by purpleclover at 12:38 PM on September 22, 2016 [6 favorites]

I really really really hope Kate has more to her storyline than her struggles with weight. People in OA also have lots of things, bad and good, completely unrelated to their weight going on in their lives...

I'm also a bit wary of where the show will go with / how the show will deal with race, given that we've already seen the "druggie black parents abandoning baby" and "white savior parents saving baby" thing set up.

some of the dialogue with Kate and her date ("handie"? really?) left a bad taste in my mouth about that guy

This - and that absolutely squeal-worthy shot of the three adorably chunky babies in knit gear - is one of the things I really liked about it. Because that is one of those "wow dating is awkward" moments that felt realistic to me - promising guy blurts out poorly thought through thing and you have to decide "is this a red flag or is this guy just nervous and how do I indicate that was super not cool but I still really like him etc" and Kate handled it just like I would have.

Also, Gerald McRaney improves anything he is in.
posted by sallybrown at 9:16 AM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just watched the show this morning. Didn't see the big twist coming, so, congrats show for pulling that off. Have to agree with that review in the Kate storyline being a string of stereotypes pulled off by a good actress. And that there is something deeply ironic & self-serving about that Manny set-rant. I'll probably keep watching for a bit to see where it goes though.

I was watching with the captioning on, and noticed when Randall said "that's my little bad-ass" the captioning read "that's my little bull-dyke". So I guess that was the scripted line at some point, doesn't seem like an auto-correct kind of error.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:42 AM on September 24, 2016

NBC gives full-season order to This Is Us

However, that's only 5 more episodes to add to the original 13-episode order.
posted by Etrigan at 1:05 PM on September 28, 2016

I just saw the Pilot. I sort of saw the twist because I thought Milo (triplet Dad)'s jacket looked kind of dated. I'm still not sure why the two white kids seemingly are closer to each other than their brother? Also why Randall mentioned "The Manny" as just another TV show rather than his brother's thing...
posted by zutalors! at 6:48 PM on October 6, 2016

Milo (triplet Dad)'s jacket looked kind of dated

It's great because it's a the entire pilot becomes a "Hipster or 30 years ago?" test. Milo Ventimiglia with a beard in a denim jacket? Not too strange. Props to the writers to keeping the uncool parts of the past just enough off-screen to play with our assumptions.

I had heard there was a flashback concept as part of the show and even with that knowledge I didn't catch it until shortly before the reveal. I thought the hospital room was lacking equipment, and the hospital furniture and wall colors seemed really weird, but I figured it was just some old hospital in a small town. Well played, and enough of a hook that I'll stick with it for a few more episodes.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 7:43 AM on November 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

"Hipster or 30 years ago?"

Haha yes exactly
posted by zutalors! at 8:44 AM on November 2, 2016

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