Originally posted 9/13/18
It took a little while. It took some tissues and some groans and some wiping of tears off the cheek when no one was looking, but finally My Darling Wife and I were able to get caught up on This Is Us. We are officially ready for the show’s third and final season. Let’s go.
At the end of season two, the ghost of Jack Pearson was finally exercised as Kevin led a communal discharge during his sister’s wedding. Everyone can move forward now, right? Well, maybe. Of course part of the appeal of the show is it’s pretty genius use of non-linear story-telling. This Is Us has all put demolished the flash backs game and I feel bad for any show that was angling to employ them in the future. Good luck. This Is Us is a show of layers (in more ways than one) and it’s density shows no signs of slowing down as it works it’s way towards the finish line.
The show really has been a master class of story-telling, with the device in which it’s chosen to tell the story of the Pearson family being one notch on it’s well-crafted belt. If we’re figuring out how to best dole out praise of the show, after it’s method of story-telling, I’d say it’s character-building would be a close second. The show has not just flushed out the main characters, but the various flash back-versions of those characters, as well as secondary characters, role players and even the ringers who get brought in from time to time, who without fail have at least one moment in their episode where you’re able to see why they chose to take the gig in the first place. We know all of these people, for better or worse.
Now because we know the mostly fine folks of This Is Us and because the show is so close to being back in our lives, I thought I would dust off the old Drinking Buddy Challenge and rank the show’s characters in terms of how good of a drinking buddy they would be. All of the principals are in the running, as well as the more notable characters who parachute in from time to time. Not included are children because they are not 21 and even if this whole thing is a hypothetical exercise, rules are rules. But also let’s not kid ourselves. Randall and Beth’s girls would be a blast to hang out with. Deja? Eh, TBD on that one.
Let’s get into it.
11. Kate Pearson Damon
I have an up and down relationship with Kate and I think overall, I’m about 73% cool with her and 27% totally not cool with her. Her issues are understandable. Her ways of coping with them are sometimes not understandable though.
It’s true, Kate.
I also have issues with how she is prone to making everything about her. I’m also not sure her voice is all that great and I’m slightly confused with how she makes a living.
So…you like married your best friend’s widow, who you reconnected with via Facebook and dude, didn’t you like, cheat on your wife with your secretary? Yeah, cool. Maybe Miguel should be last?
Kevin’s ex seems like a nice lady. I bet she’d have some funny hospital stories and maybe even an extra pair of scrubs I could have. Have you ever worn scrubs? Dude, scrubs are the best. I totally understand why people go to med school, but also why anyone associated with any kind of medical field wears them. Well, actually I’m always a little confused why the receptionist at our vet’s office wears them, but she’s a sweetheart who is good to my dog, so I let it slide.
8. Rebecca Pearson
Pro: She’s a good-looking gal who can talk sports, which is always fun and makes for a good hang.
Con: I don’t know. Sometimes she’s a bit much.
7. Kevin Pearson
In general, I don’t talk a bunch. I think it depends on the situation; depends on who I’m with. Although just because I don’t always talk a lot, doesn’t mean I don’t have stuff to say and you know, sometimes I like to say that stuff. Yet is there any doubt that if you’re doing some drinking with Kevin you A) aren’t getting many words in and B) actually aren’t drinking because Kevin is sober now and instead of drinking, you’re hiking or working out at the gym or something and Kevin is totally lapping you and thus making you feel a little bad, but also feel a little annoyed because homeboy hasn’t stopped talking once?
Yet because of his fame, you’d probably get a free drink or two if you were out on the town with him. So there’s that.
6. Dr. Katowski
Dr. K! Old, salty dude. Probably loves talking football and no doubt has some good stories stemming from his decades spent being a doctor. Dr. K: good hang. We’d drink whiskey and have a fun back and forth about the Pats and Steelers. He’d be adamant that Joe Montana was better than Tom Brady. I would respectfully disagree and it would go on like this for hours.
5. Randall Pearson
Well now I just don’t know. You hang out with Randall and is he staring at his phone the whole time, worried that there may be something wrong with Deja or is he contemplating buying the very bar you are sitting in? I’m not sure that either one of those things sounds very appealing. Of course I like Randall’s energy and in the right circumstances, he could be a lot of fun, someone you might get hammered with and end up crashing a wedding with. Randall is a wild card and if the time is right, wild cards can be dope.
4. Jack Pearson
It took me a little while to warm up to Jack. I feel ridiculous saying that now, but through clear eyes can you blame me?
Here are just a few of Jack’s questionable decisions/plans:
- He thought on the cusp of his wife giving birth to triplets, striking out on how own and starting his own business was a good idea
- He figured the best way to get some quick cash was get into a shady poker game, quickly win big, cash out and think everything would be cool with the shady dudes he was playing with when he bounced after winning, having to do so via a sketchy dark alley
- His next idea was to rob a local bar by getting his buddy to distract the bartender, so he could simply reach over the bar and grab the cash box.
Come on dude.
He also held on to a faulty crock pot for way too long, but that was also partly Rebecca’s fault and totally the fault of that neighbor who felt that the best thing to do with a faulty crock pot was not to throw it away, but give it to the young family across the street. And that’s not the only old white dude who did Jack dirty. His dad was obviously terrible, but what about the doctor who was ready to discharge him after the fire, but then after Jack died a few minutes later, said that cardiac arrest is always in play when someone takes in as much smoke as Jack did? Oh really doctor? It’s always in play? So why weren’t you watching Jack a little more closely??? You killed Jack. And so did that asshole crock pot. Kate and I will never forgive either one of you.
With that being said, let’s be real. Jack’s a good dude and studies have shown that good dudes make for good drinking buddies.
3. Toby Damon
I also took some time to become a believer in Toby and much like with Jack, I feel like it’s a defensible position. When we first met him, Toby was a little over the top and a little too cheesy. I wasn’t a fan.
Oh, but so much has changed. So much! Toby is a wonderful dude and I’m sorry for ever thinking otherwise. I mean, he’d definitely embarrass you at least once while hanging out with, but it’s a small price to pay. I’m all in on Toby. I’m also concerned for his well-being based on the few previews we’ve seen of season three, but I think he’ll be okay. God I hope he’ll be okay. Please let Toby be okay. DON’T HURT TOBY PEOPLE BEHIND ‘THIS IS US!’ DON’T YOU DARE. I just don’t think I could handle that.
I don’t think anyone could. He’s like an innocent butterfly adorned in wonderful flowered shirts.
When Randall’s biological father died, after a pilgrimage to Memphis (I think) and a heart-warming reconnecting with his son, I think a little part of me died as well. No joke. William seemed like one of those dudes who could talk about anything, even stuff he didn’t particularly care about it. He would find a way to be interested or would be interested in your interest. Man I miss William. Flashbacks, show me more William please?
Of course it’s worth noting his drug addiction and worth wondering if William would even be a drinking buddy. But hey, I’m still cool with it. I’d be a park bench buddy with William or a drive William around to doctors appointments buddy with him. I just dig the dude. William: quality hang.
1. Beth Pearson
Hypothetical situations aside, I want to hang out with Beth in real life. She wants to talk about D’Angelo? I’ll talk about D’Angelo. She wants to talk about how her husband is like, super impulsive? I want to talk about how her husband is like, super impulsive. If she wants to complain about Kevin and (whispering) him dating her cousin? I will totally do that and be supportive and a hype man and generally do whatever is required. I will remove Kevin by force from the Pearson house if Beth wanted me too. I’ve been down with Beth from the jump and barring something crazy, like her coming out as a MAGA person or an anti-dog person, I see no scenario in which my allegiance is questioned. Beth, Beth, Beth, Beth.
Ryan O’Connell harbors a constant fear of losing his keys, prefers flip flops and will always choose cereal if given the choice. He maintains his own blog, Giddy Up America, as well as co-hosts the podcast Differing Opinions on Drake. Ryan is on Twitter: @ryanoconnell79