This Is Us

“The Ride”

Dir. John Huertas

Wri. Julia Brownell

6.8/10

Author’s note: I’ve struggled with photo uploading on Medium today, so today’s recap will be a visually unappealing wall of text! Apologies!

I don’t want to beat this dead horse too much — This Is Us has been hampered by a lot this season. The COVID-accommodating rewrites can be damaging enough to the kind of show that relies on intricate plots that converge at a central point. …


This Is Us

“In The Room”

Dir. Ken Olin

Wri. Vera Herbert

8.5/10

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This Is Us has been accused of being a toothless show — of taking the most obvious, cowardly non-swerves under the guise of real-stakes drama. It occasionally parades as a specialty cable show of the HBO/AMC variety with a prestige cast and nuanced, ambiguous morals. But it is ultimately a 9 p.m. Tuesday night ABC (or in my case, CTV) drama meant to be easily digestible. Even when it’s tackling issues like infant death, the Vietnam war or, believe it or not, COVID-19, This Is Us is careful not to alienate.

Yet I was still a little bit surprised that…


This Is Us

“There”

Dir. Kevin Rodney Sullivan

Wri. Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger

7.2/10

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I give This Is Us credit for a lot of things, but one thing I don’t know if I’ve acknowledged before — or even realized — is its ability to play classic family dramedy/sitcom tropes straight while still adding a few elements of subversion on the side.

Here we have a classic scenario — a young father-to-be, desperate to prove to his partner that he will be the man he promised to be, is forced to walk through fire to be there for the birth, with every curveball possible thrown his way. We knew that this was coming — not…


This Is Us

“Birth Mother”

Dir. Kay Oyegun

Wri. Eboni Freeman and Kay Oyegun

8.5/10

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I won’t lie — there is a lot one could dislike about last night’s episode of This is Us.

I seemed to be in the minority last week of being barely lukewarm on an episode most people seemed to enjoy, so I have a feeling I will be back in the minority this week, loving an episode that I know in my heart is not among the series best.

After all, this episode seems to be solidifying an unlikeable pattern that is emerging this season. Last week, Kate’s post-Marc trauma was lifted off her almost as quickly as her pregnancy…


This Is Us
“A Long Road Home”

Dir. Anne Fletcher
Wri. K.J. Steinberg
6.0/10

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This is Us knew that after more than a month away, it had to do big work to advance the plot. And, to be fair, this episode really did. While This is Us has a tendency to occasionally meander in nothingness and stretch 42-minute episodes into an eternity of morose montages in which nothing is accomplished, writer K.J. Steinberg managed to cram in a lot here. We have Randall learning about Laurel, worrying that William betrayed him, talking to his therapist and learning that William did not betray him all in one episode. We have Kate telling the story of…


This Is Us
“Changes”
7.8/10

Dir. Ken Olin
Wri.: Elan Mastai

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When I think of the perfect episode of This Is Us, I picture myself like a grandmother passing down a family recipe that she never wrote down, but is nevertheless extremely picky about. It should have just enough Jack. It should make me cringe, but never for more than 40 seconds. It should have not a sprinkle, but a heaping tablespoon of Rebecca, even if she isn’t the main dish.

And, for me, the perfect This Is Us episode is one where Kevin is the focus.

Last week my major complaint with an otherwise…


This Is Us
“Changes”
6.7/10

Dir. Anne Fletcher
Wri.: Kevin Falls

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Last week in my inaugural This Is Us recap/review, I remarked how This Is Us had, much to my relief, handled its new COVID reality pretty well, even if I might welcome the 90’s flashbacks that much more in order to give me some time away from the utter bummer that is our current reality. It’s been part of the show’s tendency to always pleasantly surprise me by being a little bit more self-aware than I give it credit for. This week, it presented the COVID context with much more confidence; after its conspicuous…


Hello! This is normally a space for TV and movie essays, but I’ve decided, in my COVID boredom, to start doing recaps! Now that This is Us is back on the air, I’ve decided to throw myself into my old habit of appointment viewing — and offer my thoughts on the episode the next day. In the two-hour premiere Forty, we get the show’s establishment of how it’s leaning into the COVID-reality, an exploration of new dynamics and, of course, one hell of a twist in the very last second of the episode. …


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It’s a bit of an edgelord take to declare that The Office (U.S. version) isn’t actually a good show. It might even be a bit of a meaningless critique to say that it hasn’t aged well. (“This hasn’t aged well” is the “This is overrated” of the current decade; it’s an easy, catch-all critique of something without having to be very specific or provide much proof). The Office (U.S.) as a whole, complete unit is seen as great because of its brilliant peaks, with its valleys long forgotten.

Once in a while, one brave human being will take to their…


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Sometimes I think the true bottoming out of pop culture began when Chris Pratt lost weight. Not because he lost weight, but it was around that time.

Pratt was known for little more than his role as chubby goofball Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation when he was chosen for the lead role of Starlord in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. While Pratt had to undergo a way over-publicized body transformation for the role, it otherwise wasn’t hard to see why he was chosen. Through his portrayal of Dwyer, Pratt had carved himself out a cozy little place in the…

Bree Rody, professional hate-watcher

I have a lot of feelings about movies and TV shows that would be embarrassing if it weren’t 2020.

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