Let’s Discuss ‘This Is Us’: Mother Is Not a Slut
She's just putting herself out there.
Everyone is dating, or upset. A piano rings out in an empty home. Blind children sing Lorde with Mother’s accompaniment. Uncle has a girlfriend now. (He met her on a plane.) And what else? Let’s take a look.
HAS MOTHER SURVIVED?
Yes, Mother has endured another week. In the past, Mother is berated by Young Sister for watching too much Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? with Dead Father’s Friend. (In the future Dead Father’s Friend is Mother’s Special Friend, to clarify for your notes.) Oh, Young Sister can be so cruel. Still, her cruelty spurs Mother and Dead Father’s Friend to go out for a night of speed dating which, happily for Mother, turns into an intimate coffee date with a prospective Mother Lover.
Good for Mother, yes? No. Young Sister is at home breathlessly waiting to berate Mother again, this time not for watching Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? but instead for going to speed dating. God, can’t Mother do anything right? It seems she cannot. Young Sister shouts at Mother, telling her that Dead Father wouldn’t have wanted her to go to speed dating, calling her “a slut,” raising her voice at Mother in Mother’s own house. This leaves Mother no choice but to slap Young Sister across the face. Slap!
They make up later, around the piano. Our worries have abated for now.
AND HOW IS SISTER FARING?
Well, it is clear that Sister and Mother have long had a tortured relationship. The lingering question for Sister is: Can she stop being such a bitch for two seconds? She’s the one who killed Undead Father anyway, telling him to go back into the house to get the dog! Apologies, apologies; I know it’s a sore subject. In any case Sister is working on her relationship with Mother now.
Sister’s Husband is doing his best to make us dislike him, staying at his far-away job for the weekend to watch a sports event on a yacht with his boss, and his efforts are working. We hate Sister’s Husband. We’re primed to watch him do whatever it is he does in the future that makes Sister divorce him. Kill him, Sister! We hate him! But his absence leaves Mother with Sister for a few extra days, to help with the children.
This leads to a nice moment at Sister’s school, wherein Mother plays “Royals” by Lorde on the piano while the blind children sing. Could things be looking up for Sister and Mother? No. Now Sister has to deliver some bad news — she and Sister’s Husband have decided they don’t want Mother to stay with their children alone anymore, after seeing the results of her most recent PET scan. My goodness. I suppose Sister still has some work to do in the area of “not being a bitch,” doesn’t she? No worries; she asks Mother to teach Sister’s Eldest Child to play piano, and for now their relationship is repaired. Mother calls Sister her “best friend,” even. Oh, how we wish Mother had even a single other friend!
WAS UNCLE THERE?
Yes, Uncle and Actor Brother joined hands at the old Pennsylvania cabin. Actor Brother invited Not Keri Russell for the weekend and Uncle invited Uncle’s New Girlfriend, who he met on a plane. Uncle and Uncle’s New Girlfriend seem quite smitten with each other. Actor Brother and Not Keri Russell, sadly, do not. Oh, won’t Actor Brother ever find a woman to marry him? How much hotter, richer, and more emotionally available does he need to get? It’s brutal out here, to quote Olivia Rodrigo.
AND COUNCILMAN BROTHER?
Well, I’ve got bad news. Councilman Brother’s Eldest Daughter wants to move to Boston. Yes, this is even though she currently lives in Philadelphia, which is already Boston. She wants to graduate high school early, as a junior, and move in with Councilman Brother’s Eldest Daughter’s Young-Father Boyfriend and His Daughter, while the boyfriend goes to Harvard. A terrible idea, if you ask me (and Councilman Brother).
Councilman Brother and the boyfriend have a talk out on the stoop. Councilman Brother asks him to break things off with Councilman Brother’s Eldest Daughter, so that she might have a chance at a future outside of the cronied walls of a Harvard dorm. Councilman Brother’s Eldest Daughter’s Young-Father Boyfriend declines his request. Indeed, that Harvard freshman is getting on our last nerve.
Councilman Brother’s Wife does her best to soothe Councilman Brother. She thinks they can’t really stop their eldest daughter from following her baby boyfriend to Boston, even though she could just wait one year and then go to school in Boston herself and it would be fine. Parenthood, like Parenthood, and like This Is Us, is so hard.
Next week: The show comes on after the Super Bowl.