The 23 best underrated moments on ‘This Is Us’

The 23 best underrated moments on ‘This Is Us’

Kate teaches Jack how to Vogue.

Mackenzie Hancsicsak

Mackenzie Hancsicsak on «This Is Us.»


Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) is the gold standard of fathers throughout «This Is Us» even though he’s flawed. His best parenting moments are usually defined by big speeches that will bring tears to your eyes. 

On the season one episode «Three Sentences,» he lifts Kate’s (Mackenzie Hancsicsak) spirits when she thinks everyone likes Kevin’s (Parker Bates) «The Princess Bride» party more than her Madonna one. He’s doing what he has to do to lift his daughter’s spirits, sure. But we shouldn’t underestimate how miserable 10-year-old Kate must feel in that moment, so the fact that it works is important. 

Plus, «This Is Us» and Madonna is an epic combination.

William and Beth eat «special» brownies.

Ron Cephas Jones and Susan Kelechi Watson

Beth and William get high together on season one.


If you’re not a Pearson by birth on «This Is Us,» no matter how loved you are, it’s inevitable you are underrated.

The season one scenes where Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and William (Ron Cephas Jones) bake «special» marijuana brownies and get high together are not given enough credit. They’re funny, but they also serve as the catalyst for one of season one’s biggest conflicts — William lets it slip that he’s met Rebecca (Mandy Moore) before. 

Rebecca had known who Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) birth father was but kept it a secret for many years.

Kevin knows the meaning of life.

Justin Hartley on season one.


Jack is given a lot of credit for his emotional speeches on «This Is Us,» but Kevin (Justin Hartley) has one of his best moments on season one that might be forgotten by now. 

After scaring his nieces while practicing a play involving death, Kevin uses his painting as a metaphor to teach them what he thinks the meaning of life is. His interpretation is simple and logical enough to comfort adults, too. 

Randall calls Annie and Tess «Stacey Dash and Omarosa.»

Eris Baker and Faithe Herman.

Eris Baker and Faithe Herman.


Randall’s jokes are usually funny the way a corny dad is funny.

He’s not given enough credit for when he’s actually funny — like in the season two premiere when his daughters Tess (Eris Baker) and Annie (Faithe Herman) question why their mom is going to work and their dad is staying home and he calls them Stacey Dash and Omarosa, referring to the conservative Black women.

Young Randall provides levity during a serious season two storyline.

Lonnie Chavis.

Lonnie Chavis as young Randall.


Jack and Rebecca are trying to explain to young Randall (Lonnie Chavis) how nuanced racism can be because his grandmother is racist. 

They ask him if he remembers why Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and he tells them and then asks, «Did grandma shoot him?» 

Only the innocence of a young kid could add humor like that to such a serious moment, and Chavis’ delivery is perfect. This season two moment isn’t a big one on «This Is Us» all things considered — but it is memorable.

Beth saves the rehab visit.

Susan Kelechi Watson on «This Is Us.»


The Pearson family visits Kevin in rehab on season two’s «The Fifth Wheel.» 

It’s a very serious episode and experience for the immediate family who all go to group therapy. But Beth, Toby (Chris Sullivan), and Miguel (Jon Huertas) are deemed «the others» and allowed to go to a bar

Watson has hysterical moments in every scene she’s in, even while Beth is sober — it’s impossible to pick just one. Plus, she’s mad at Kevin for driving drunk with Tess. We should all take lessons in shade from passive-aggressive Beth.

Madison has a best friend.

Caitlin Thompson and Chrissy Metz.

Caitlin Thompson and Chrissy Metz.


Madison (Caitlin Thompson) is the definition of an underrated character on «This Is Us.»

On season two, she’s still just the skinny girl in Kate’s (Chrissy Metz) eating disorder support group until episode 13 when they go wedding dress shopping. 

She’s finally human later that night on the couch when Kate is keeping her company after she passed out. She says, «I finally have a best friend,» and it’s impossible not to realize how unfair we’ve all been to her.

Rebecca and Jack have a silly final moment together.

Mandy Moore.

Mandy Moore.


The episode where we learn why Jack died, «Super Bowl Sunday,» is arguably the most important episode on the whole show. 

But in the midst of all the drama and emotions involved in his death, it’s easy to overlook a genuine moment Jack and Rebecca have together.

In the last moment she sees Jack alive, Rebecca sticks her tongue out at her husband before heading to the vending machine. It’s a very good example of how natural Ventimiglia and Moore are as a married couple.

Dr. K talks to Rebecca about Jack at his funeral.

Mandy Moore and Gerald McRaney.

Mandy Moore and Gerald McRaney.


Dr. Nathan Katowski (Gerald McRaney) is known for the speech he gave Jack in the pilot about taking life’s «sourest lemons» and turning them into lemonade. 

But he should be given more credit for his speech to Rebecca at Jack’s funeral where he assured her that Jack wasn’t a fearless person. Her husband was scared, according to the doctor. But he still did right by his family and she will, too. 

Beth, Miguel, and Toby’s text thread is revealed.

Susan Kelechi Watson.



We learn about Miguel, Beth, and Toby’s text thread on season three when Beth is telling Randall all of the insight Miguel has on the ways the Pearson siblings interact with each other. 

We’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again that everyone who married into the family is highly underrated. That text thread was probably hysterical and full of so much wisdom. 

Zoe tells Kevin «I want John Stamos back.»

Melanie Liburd

Melanie Liburd on «This Is Us.»


«I’m in love with you and I want John Stamos back» is arguably the most underrated line on «This Is Us,» and it’s said by one of the most underrated characters. (John Stamos is on the key chain to Kevin’s house key). 

Zoe (Melanie Liburd) says it to Kevin on Randall’s election night after she’s explained to Kevin why past abuse she’s experienced makes it hard for her to move in and share space with partners.

Zoe’s hesitancy makes sense and probably puts words to many people’s feelings. But sadly, our minds don’t jump to Zoe when we think of «This Is Us.»

Rebecca shuts down Kevin and Randall with her speech in the hospital waiting room.

Mandy Moore as Rebecca

Mandy Moore as Rebecca.


It’s impossible to name the best emotional speech on «This Is Us,» but the one that older Rebecca gives to her sons while they’re waiting for news of Kate and the baby is not talked about enough. 

After hearing nonsense fights all night, Rebecca announces that she remembers every detail of the waiting room they were in the night Jack died, like the lime green chairs and talking about pies and being hungry because she hadn’t eaten. None of it mattered because her family was safe in that moment.

Rebecca’s words are like literary prose and got her sons to shut up. 

Kevin saves Randall from trouble.

Parker Bates.

Bates on season four.


Kevin Pearson is historically not the best brother, but we don’t give him enough credit for the times he’s been there for Randall. Like in season four, when Randall gets in trouble and gets a yellow slip. 

Hearing his brother’s anxiety over the phone, Kevin bikes all the way to Randall’s school to sign the slip so Jack and Rebecca never have to know. 

Randall stands up to Jack.

Lonnie Chavis.

Lonnie Chavis.


Jack Pearson is a flawed man, especially when it comes to talking about issues relating to race

Young Randall shows incredible strength on a season four episode titled «The Club» when he calls out his dad’s privilege. 

Jack says, «I don’t look at you and see color, I see my son.» 

Randall says, «Then you don’t see me, dad.» 

He’s right, he’s wise beyond his years, and he’s brave. 

Tess comes out at the drive-thru.

Eris Baker on «This Is Us.»


Tess has two great coming-out moments. 

It’s impossible not to smile when she comes out to the guy behind the drive-thru speaker, following her uncle Kevin’s advice. 

We know how hard it is for her, but it’s also a great bonding moment for Kevin and Tess that shouldn’t be overlooked. 

Rebecca’s mother tells Rebecca the truth about why Jack ended their relationship.

Elizabeth Perkins.

Elizabeth Perkins.


Rebecca’s mother Janet (Elizabeth Perkins) is generally awful, but she’s the good guy in the season four episode «Light And Shadows,» when she tells her daughter that her husband scared Jack away and that’s why he broke up with her. 

She also says that real love is dependable, and tells Rebecca that if Jack is who she loves she should make sure he gives her a love story «for the ages.» 

Madison opens up about her eating disorder.

Caitlin Thompson.



Madison’s eating disorder isn’t mentioned often on the show, but it’s incredibly brave of her to mention it to Kevin on the season five episode «Changes.» 

Eating disorders and pregnancy are not talked about together often, so even though it’s small, «This Is Us» took a step in the right direction here.

Tess and Beth get honest.

Susan Kelechi Watson.

«This Is Us.»


On «This Is Us» season five episode 12, «Both Things Can Be True,» Tess and Beth have a conversation about Tess seeing how hard Beth is trying to accept her and her partners, and how it makes her sad because Beth won’t have to do that with Annie and Deja (Lyric Ross). 

It’s another example of «This Is Us» putting words to feelings that are difficult to express. It’s a nuanced part of the queer experience that is important to see on TV. 

Randall cheers Rebecca up with a sweet gesture.

Randall and Rebecca bond over cookies.


It’s a known fact that Randall takes care of Rebecca, but it’s easy to overlook the smallest ways. 

On season six episode 10, «Every Version Of You,» for example, he directs his mom to the smiley-face cookies he bought for them when he learns she’s sad because Miguel is moving away. Even when he’s not physically there, he can offer cookies.


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